In the last issue of Roots, our new alumni e-newsletter, we asked alumni to tell us about their favorite professors. Here’s what Patrick T. Nooney (‘71, B.S.), who lives in Missoula, Mont., shared with us:
“I have to use the plural. Each one at the College [of Forest Resources] challenged me in a different way, but there are two equally in my mind who challenged me how to think for myself and not accept the status quo: Professors Barney Dowdle and David R.M. Scott.
I was literally flunking Forest Economics despite reading the literature three or four times, and studying notes until 3 or 4 in the morning. I asked Professor Dowdle to let me out and try again later: He refused, of course. Then the final: I’m done, finished, nothing to lose, gut honest with the answers, then kick the bucket. I got an A. When I asked him about the mistake, he told me ‘No mistake. You learned the lesson I intended: How to think.’ That has been the number one lesson I have applied in life.
Dave Scott was ultimately my primary advisor. He challenged me and encouraged me to always think outside of the box, including the pursuit of the wild idea of using ecological principles as a basis for logging/land management decisions. He told me that was not exactly something anyone would pay a graduate student to work on, considering the implications. Still, he told me, ‘If you believe in it, I will back you all the way to the doctorate.’ I sometimes regretfully wish I had taken him up on the deal. I honor his trust and faith in my education.”
For the next issue of Roots, we’re asking alumni to tell us: What was your first job out of college, and what do you remember most about it? We’ll feature one or more response in the next issue of Roots, and also right here on the “Offshoots” blog. Please email submissions—of no more than 250 words—to email@example.com, and we’ll follow up to ask for a photo if your letter is accepted and published.