Bob Keen with a wild boar's skull, shot in Argentina.
In the second of our new series: we chatted with Faculty Emeritus Bob Keen, pulling him away from his home in Chassell on one more chilly May day.
The former biological sciences professor's career at Tech extended from 1977 to 2010, and he saw many changes over those years. He also experienced some things that stayed the same.
"The students here are self-selected and they have been for awhile," he says. "I think Tech's reputation is such that students coming here are really hard working and are better than the average university student."
That can also mean many will struggle initially, he says, because they are used to succeeding in high school, and it is much harder here.
"Their first chemistry, biology or calculus class can be a rude shock to them," he says.
They are more collegial, too, he says, having experience at other institutions where students attempted to get ahead at the expense of their classmates.
"That doesn't happen here," he says. "They don't climb over their fellow students."
On the Agassiz.
His favorite students were the ones who challenged him, he says, who pushed back.
He also got to know students over the years as advisor to the Aquanauts and Pistol Club.
Outside the classroom, he was heavily involved, through the Faculty Senate, with the move to semesters from terms. As he recalls, the faculty were behind it; the students not so much.
"They really are conservative, when it comes down to major changes like that," he says.
That 1999-2000 transition year also begot the new general education courses, including Perspectives, Institutions, World Cultures, and Revisions. And his time with the Senate also included the new A, AB, B, BC grading system.
"Our graduates were at a disadvantage with the old system," he says. "This new way meant they weren't as inflated and would translate better with grad school and med school."
His fondest memory, however, was seeing his wife, Karen, get her degree in 1991," after being so understanding and patient, that essential role a spouse plays over the years."
"I had a dozen roses hid up my sleeve, and I came across the stage to greet her," he says. "She was surprised."
Today, he comes to campus a couple of times a week as an adjunct to spend some leftover funds and clean his office. Off-campus, he spends his time traveling with Karen, to Scotland recently, and Australia is on the horizon. He also involved in local sportsmen's clubs and is attempting to get his cherry trees to survive bird and bee attacks. He also has collection of vintage 1960s and 1970s rock and roll vinyl that has yours truly salivating.
Dennis '92 '09