Brooklyn College Faculty Who Made a Difference
In response to our request in the Spring 2004 issue of Brooklyn College Magazine, many former students wrote to praise their teachers at Brooklyn College. So many, in fact, that we couldn’t possibly publish all the letters in this issue. This page contains many more reminescences by our alumni, who fondly remember the professors who made a difference in their lives. If you would like to nominate additional faculty, please e-mail Office of Public Relations with your testimonials, and we will add them to this page.
I took a course in Greek humanities, which I would never have taken except
for the fact that it was required. Ethyle Wolfe (Classics,
1947–1989) was so fantastic in how she made the Greek classics come
alive that I took an additional course with her. I could not wait to get
to her classes (and I was not the greatest student in the world). When
I recently saw the movie Troy, I remembered all the characters,
and I was aghast when they portrayed Agamemnon as being killed by the
young girl, for we all know that his wife killed him!
Annette (Unger) Ramsay, ’65; M.S., ’72
Fred Ewen (English, 1930–1955) was not just an
inspirational teacher. His real caring, combined with his infectious and
mischievous laugh, made you feel very special in his presence. Classes
in Elizabethan prose and poetry became edifying experiences in literature.
His graciousness and warmth remain whenever my thoughts go back to those
intense and rewarding years at Brooklyn College.
I received poor grades in my first two semesters at Brooklyn College,
but earned B’s in the courses taught by Daniel Francis Coogan
(German, 1948–1969). More importantly, he indicated that
he understood the personal turmoil I was experiencing at that time in
my life. The next year I dropped out, but Professor Coogan told me he
was certain I would return to college. At a time when no one else believed
in me, he assured me that I would overcome.
In my fourth year at BC I took the histology course given by Dr. Schreibman. With his sense of humor and knowledge of the material and his understanding of the way students may perceive this required course, Marty was able to make one of the more difficult, sometimes tedious, premed courses enjoyable and very manageable for even the most reluctant students. I never learned as much from one person or had as much fun in my four years as I did in his research lab.
Philip W. Perlman, ’79
Later, after three years at Yale, she helped me land a job, briefly, as an instructor of oral communication at Brooklyn College. When I asked her to monitor a class she rendered her judgment: “Well, they stay awake.”
Last time I saw Dr. Roach was at a performance of a disastrous play of mine. Despite severely mixed reviews, her attitude was hers alone, not unlike her reaction to my class a dozen years earlier.
I’m sorry she never saw my better stuff in movies. It all began with her. Not my mentor—she was my teacher. And unforgettable. I hope she knew that.
David Rayfiel, ’47
I first saw Yaffa Eliach (Judaic Studies, 1973–2003)
when Israel Singer, now head of the World Jewish Congress and then adjunct
professor of political science, led a sit-in in Whitehead Hall to demand
a Judaic Studies Department.
In the fall of 1942 the Brooklyn College administration offered a policy
under which students who enlisted in the service after ten weeks of the
semester would be given full credit for the term. I knew that if I didn’t
avail myself of such a generous offer, I almost surely would flunk chemistry.
When I returned to Brooklyn College, an older and wiser person, for the
spring semester of 1946, I pursued design as my major. The newly installed
head of the newly created Design Department was Serge Chermayeff.
He recruited a stellar array of well-known Bauhaus-trained or -oriented
faculty members, including Stamo Papadaki, Burgoyne
Diller, Robert Wolff, Anthony Pugliese,
Walter Rosenblum, and Stanley Hayter.
They were all my favorite teachers! They succeeded effortlessly in turning
me from an aimless time-killer into an inspired designer.
There were countless times I'd visit Charlene Forest (Biology,
1979–) in her office and talk to her about the challenges I was
facing at school, at work, or at home. She’s one of the best listeners
I’ve ever met, and often she provided just what I needed: someone
to talk to when I was feeling upset or overwhelmed by work. She encouraged
me and told me I’d make it when I didn’t think I could. Her
belief in me and her support made a tremendous difference in my life,
and for that I will be forever grateful.
I flunked—a first in my life—the early examination the professor
gave us. Goaded by pride, I set myself to studying for the next one. And
so I woke up to two things at once: the book called The Odyssey
and my teacher called Professor Alice Kober (Classics,
1935–1950). I saw a dumpy, dowdy, uncharismatic person with bottle-bottom
glasses and a charmless demeanor. I heard a teacher of quiet undramatic
intensity, and I have never forgotten what she once said to us: “How
do you tell a great book? Your hair stands on end and the back of your
neck tingles.” I fell in love with Homer, with my teacher, with
those classics all at once. I don't think I've ever again floated in such
clouds of glory.
By the time I graduated from Brooklyn College, we had taken to going out to lunch once a week or so; I remember him once using a napkin in a restaurant to explain some particularly interesting mathematical point. He was truly an inspirational teacher, and much of my attitude toward mathematics was shaped by him. It is one of my biggest regrets that after I moved away we lost touch with each other; I learned of his death in an issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society and was shocked to realize that I would never have the chance to let him know just how much he meant to my mathematical development—and, for that matter, my development as a person.
Mark Hunacek, ’72
Reed Podell, ’89
Perkins (Speech and Theater, 1941–1975) was my inspiration
and my mentor. While teaching rhetoric, oratory, and public speaking,
he insisted that presentation and platform skills must be accompanied
by substance. He would quote Congressman John Randolph of Virginia who,
in the 1820s, commented on two of his Congressional colleagues whom he
considered brilliant, capable, and enticing yet corrupt and devoid of
substance. Perkins would rear up on his hind legs and would become Randolph
who likened them to “a rotten mackerel by moonlight, he shines and
stinks.” Professor Perkins admonished us to “dare to be different
. . . if we wanted to make a difference.” In more than thirty years
of university teaching, I have tried to convey these values to my students.
Richard Slotkin, ’63
Stuart Kessler, ’50
I was happily reminded of this remarkable woman of warmth and encouragement during a recent encounter on a Manhattan subway when a man recognized my BC ring. The ensuing conversation involved memories of Brooklyn College and his favorite teacher, Dr. Henneberger.
Marilyn Apelson, ’47
Murray Bromberg, ’48
Marjorie Coogan (English, 1947–1961) was a brilliant, beautiful woman who inspired awe as well as love from her students. She had high standards, and these were imposed on us, whether in sophomore English, medieval literature, or independent studies. She took for granted that we were in her classes to learn, and she was totally intolerant of sloth. I can remember a day when she walked into class, and, in the expectant hush following her entrance, she sat at her desk and asked a question about the previous night’s readings. No one offered an answer. Silence lasted for perhaps fifteen seconds as she looked around the room, and then Professor Coogan picked up her books and purse and stood up. “If you are prepared at the next class, I shall stay,” she said and walked out. What is most amazing is that every one of us felt guilty for having wasted her time!
At the end of my first semester with Professor Coogan, I requested an appointment. I was a sophomore and needed to decide what I would major in. “Be a medievalist,” Marjorie pronounced. I nodded agreement. And then, tentatively, I asked, “Why?” “So that I can keep my eye on you for the rest of your college career,” she responded. I was honored—despite the fact that this meant I would have to take Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Chaucer, and many other courses in which I had absolutely no interest!
In fact, as a medievalist, I learned useful and marketable skills as well as more esoteric ones. I learned how to write papers, how to do research, how to think independently, and how to balance intense academic demands with an active social life. Marjorie was my mentor in all areas, curious about my relationship with a sorority (Delta Phi Epsilon), demanding to meet “my young men” and testing them to see if they were “worthy” candidates for my time.
Marjorie left Brooklyn College in 1961 to become a dean at Sarah Lawrence College. She and I remained friends throughout her life. She knew and loved my daughters and inspired them, too, as they grew up.
Anne Finkelman Ziff, ’61
I entered the classroom a bit early. The shades were drawn, and there
were no lights other than a single candle burning on a desk. Suddenly
the door flung open and a figure enveloped in a long black cloak and black
beret swept into the room, perched himself cross-legged on the desk, and
proceeded to lead the students into the fascinating world of mystics,
alchemists, and wizards.
My major was education. It was a reluctant choice. Family pressures contributed
to my choosing a major since “this is what girls do.” Then
I met Abraham Tannenbaum (Education, 1952–1959).
He was sincere, practical, and above all the epitome of what teaching
should be about. Thus, by example, he inspired me to become a teacher.
Professor Arthur C. Cole (History, 1943–1956)
was a scholar of the highest order, and he instilled in us the appreciation
of scholarship and research. We were not permitted to write term papers;
we had to use index cards, one for each reference, and put them in order
so that if we were to "write a paper, all we had to do was add the
ifs, ands and buts." On our essay exams we had to document our answers
by citing from the reading reports we had to turn in during the semester.
He was a tough teacher, but a magnificent one. He was also a wonderful
gentleman and storyteller. To sit in one of his courses was to experience
the real college scholarship that was required of us at the time and know
what we could become if we just put our minds and hearts into our work.
Robert D. Barrett (Design) taught art history. He was
an intense and passionate person who conveyed his knowledge and enthusiasm
to the enormous classes attracted to his course. To appreciate art and
the artists he discussed the relationship of the artists with their countries,
the period they lived in, their style and their eccentricities. To this
day in buying pictures, in viewing art galleries and museums, the connection
with Professor Barrett remains with me.
Professor Balet (Art) was an intense and passionate
person who conveyed his knowledge and enthusiasm to the enourmous classes
attracted to his course. To appreciate art and the aretist he discussed
the relationship of the artists with their countries, the period they
lived in, their style, and their eccentricities. To this day in buying
pictures, in viewing art galleries and museums, the connection many of
us had with Professor Balet remains with us.
Nathan Doscher (Health and Physical Education, 1930-1971)
was a unique blend of brains and brawn, a human dynamo who could motivate
individuals physically and mentally. He lived the ideal of the Greeks,
“a sound mind in a sound body,” and he certainly epitomized
the finest in physical adroitness as he taught his combative class in
boxing, judo, wrestling, and life saving techniques. He exhorted all of
us to excel in whatever we attempted, and he lead by example, pluck, and
by a sensitive understanding of the human psyche.
Edward O. Lutz (Economics, 1948-1998) was urbane, erudite,
warm and an inspiration to many. He had a successful practice in public
accounting with a great emphasis in the arts, theater, and music and was
instrumental in the establishment of the Brooklyn College Performing Arts
Center. His classes were dynamic. He was a professional leader and an
Procope S. Costas (Classics, 1958-1973) was an academic
of unparalleled charisma and presence. He was inordinately demanding and
yet inspired everyone to excel so that you never felt driven to learn.
All his classes were closed out early during registration week. He was
very generous with his time between classes and could always be found
in the varsity cafeteria surrounded by students from all majors. He was
very given to the marketplace classroom, and the peripatetic manner of
teaching employed in ancient Hellas by Socraties and Plato.
In Spring 1941, while war raged overseas, Louie May Miney (English)
had a sophomore class of outspoken interventionists and isolationists
who she lead with calm tolerance and evident enjoyment of what we wrote,
even when I referred to “rending attacks” by German subs and
she suggested I use fewer dramatics.
Stanley Rypins (English, 1931-1961) was a great teacher.
I took his bible course and still refer to his 1951 work The Book
of Thirty Centuries: An Introduction to Modern Study of the Bible.
I also took his modern drama course. He was brilliant, dramatic, and funny
After Elizabeth P. Casey (Speech and Theater, 1931-1957)
cast me in a walk-on part in Elmer Rice’s Street Scene,
she entrusted me with the title role in Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, a role
that is one of the longest and most demanding in dramatic literature.
At twenty-one years of age, I had to play a character that progressed
from youth to old age. Miss Casey was there every step of the way encouraging
and teaching me what it was to meet (at least partially) the demands of
such a great challenge. She even bolstered my ego by demanding I be given
a dressing room that was reserved for the stars who were guest artists
at Whitman Hall. We thought of her as a “tough old bird” but
that toughness transferred a bit to me and saw me through graduate school,
two years in the Army and finally a Broadway debut in 1964.
As a senior at Brooklyn College, I had no firm plan for what I would
do with my life. Then I had the good fortune to meet Professor
Salvatore (Romance Languages). He counseled me, a Spanish and
Italian student, to apply to graduate school as a teaching assistant,
patiently guiding me through the application process, assisting me in
assembling letters of recommendation, and assuring me I could handle the
academic and financial challenges ahead. I credit Professor Salvatore
with the successful career I enjoyed in the New York City public school
system. He took the time to guide and inspire a previously desultory student
and I thank Brooklyn College for bringing him and me together!
Helen Brell (Education, 1949-1972) was caring, soft,
sensitive and personable and I was sure after taking an undergraduate
education course from her that I wanted to be a teacher. I subsequently
spent thirty years in the classroom and her smile and voice were always
with me. She was a special and a cultured lady.
James P. Johnson (History, 1966-1999) inspired me to
become a teacher. Taking courses taught by this enthusiastic academic
was always an immensely rewarding experience, and each class usually culminated
in an intense and exciting discussion of some key issue relating to twentieth-century
My favorite was Rhoda Ellis (Home Economics, Food and
Nutrition, 1958-1973). She taught courses in food handling, preparation
and nutrition in her food lab in Roosevelt Hall. She also taught us that
she was a human being–a very down-to-earth person who loved to teach
and enjoyed passing her knowledge on to us “undergrads.”
Not only was Frances Kilcoyne (English, 1928-1968) an
amusing and interesting guide to literature, his comments on our papers
were fair and constructive. Above all, Professor Kilcoyne’s performance
as the Stage Manager in a college production of Our Town was
excellent. His New England background contributed to the authentic color
of the role. Years later, my first audition for a professional role consisted
of excerpts from this character. My recollection of Kilcoyne’s performance
might well have contributed to my successful entry into the profession.
Dorothy Weber Schaffner, ’35
Professor Fraidenburgh (History) ran a relaxed class
where we were made to feel our opinions and ideas were important. I always
felt as if I was being invited into his home and not in a cold classroom.
I still remember some of the stories he told that were interspersed with
the regular subject matter. When I became a teacher I tried to establish
the same kind of classroom atmosphere. Now, after seventy years, thinking
of him still brings a smile to my face.
Organic chemist, devoted teacher, author, and inventor, David
Davidson (Chemistry) was a quiet man in a department filled with
somewhat less unassuming department personnel. I graduated from Brooklyn
College in 1948 after two years’ service in the army infantry during
WWII and Dr. Davidson’s friendly and encouraging attitudes led me
to continue studies in chemistry, first for two years at Brooklyn College’s
Graduate School and later in biochemistry for four years at NYU-Bellevue.
I never forgot Dr. Davidson’s humble but authoritative, sage mannerisms.
Robert Cherry (Economics, 1977-) always has time for
his students, and would do volunteer tutoring with his classes on an open
house basis. He was also extremely patient in explaining the class work
as often as necessary. I have been a teacher since graduating and consider
Professor Cherry a good role model for those in my field.
Alice Kober (Classics, 1935-1949) taught Horace, and
much more besides. She introduced parodies of Horace by contemporary authors
and encouraged her students to write some themselves. Her approach made
the Classics and the Greek and Roman gods and their all too-human shenanigans
come alive for us. Greece and Rome remains relevant and meaningful to
all of us, due to the original approach of our teacher.
Alfred Russell (Art, 1947-1975) knew painters and paintings,
art history and all the elements of art, and his infectious enthusiasm
for teaching and experimenting was completely inspirational. One felt
as if one were a ‘real artist.’ Though Bauhaus methodology
strongly influenced the Department of Design, and abstract expressionism
was the only art shown in important galleries, Russell’s traditional
approach to art gave students basic information without which a young
person who wanted to become an artist–a painter–would not
be able to function. Thank you, Mr. Russell.
During the 1970s, David Sawin (Art, 1959-1985) had a
reputation for being one of the most interesting teachers at Brooklyn
College. Therefore it is not a coincidence that both my husband and I
had registered for classes with him. Professor Sawin showed slides in
class and dissected paintings, discussing each section along with the
history that was relevant to the artist, the location and the times in
general. He made every painting and artist alike come to life.....so much
so that as students we were inspired to start visiting museums on the
weekends. To this day whenever I have a day off from work I visit the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, pick a new gallery, rent a headset and wander
around. I never visit the museum without think of my most special B.C.
Leonard Worley (Biology) taught histology and served
as the Pre-Med Advisor. His lectures and lab sessions were meticulously
presented. Students faced the dilemma of having to choose between taking
notes during his lecture or taking the time to copy the intricate and
colorful drawings he sketched on the blackboard using both hands.
James K. Lang (Speech and Theater, 1964-1986) made a
major impact on my life by encouraging me with my speech communication
courses as an undergraduate. He introduced me to the Audiology lab on
the 4th floor of Boylan Hall, taught me to solder and trace circuits and
train rats with operant conditioning. He later became my Master’s
advisor in Speech Pathology and Audiology, directed my Master's thesis,
and encouraged me to pursue doctoral study in Audiology at the CUNY Graduate
Center and later at Northwestern University. Dr. Lang died shortly after
I left Brooklyn, and I wish I had had the opportunity to thank him for
teaching and supporting a shy and insecure young man.
I enjoyed the various classes I took with Edwin H. Spengler (Economics),
especially those related to urban economics. He was faculty advisor to
the Bureau of Economic Research, a student organization doing research
in various areas of economics. I was active in that group and as a result
had the opportunity to work with Dr. Spengler on a project that related
to problems of urban taxation and its relationship to housing, particularly
I was not a Physics major and, yet needing Science credits, I registered
for Astronomy with Peter Broncazio (Physics, 1962-1999).
After realizing I was the only non-Physics major in the group, I got cold
feet and wanted to drop the class. Dr. Broncazio encouraged me to stay.
I must say also that all the math teachers I knew at BC were highly competent
and great role models. B.C. was renowned for its math department, but
the one I remember clearest is James Singer (Mathematics,
1936-1974). Professor Singer was extremely neat and always delivered his
math lectures in a full business suit. He taught principles of calculus
for science and math majors, and was an inspiration. He knew his difficult
material absolutely cold, which made it easier for us to learn.
Professor Goldman (English) came eager to teach, and
looked earnest in his suit, white shirt and tie. He did not lecture to
or look down on his students. He prepared a varied syllabus and got us
involved in meaningful discussions.
I can still see Charles E. Passage (Classics, 1954-1971)
moving his arm down the blackboard to indicate the movement of the Ostrogoths
and the Visigoths moving south over the continent of Europe and greatly
affecting the future of Western European Civilization as we know it today.
I saved all the papers I wrote for his courses, and still refer to them.
I looked on the internet and found that at least 14 of his books of literary
criticism and his translations are still being used and are in print today.
We were the first class to use his translation of Faust and he
signed my copy.
I had to wait until my senior year to meet Priscilla F. Pollister
and William E. Fennel (Biology). In the fall
of 1960, I took “Invertebrate Zoology” with Dr. Pollister
and in the following semester, Dr. Fennel taught me “Parasitology.”
As an aside, they may have been the oldest (Pollister) and the youngest
(Fennel) faculty to have taught me at Brooklyn College.
I have unforgettable memories of Seymour Fogel (Biology)
from my experiences in his genetics course. He was constantly challenging
us to think about the topics he discussed in class. He would ask very
probing, and sometimes weird and outrageous, questions to test our thinking
on the subject, but he was also quick to complement students who came
up with plausible answers. His strong personality and dedication to his
subject encouraged students to come up with good explanations for the
phenomenon we were observing in the lab. The laboratory sessions required
students to raise fruit flies from an unknown pair. We were to make as
many crosses as necessary to identify the genetic makeup of the parent
cross. It was really the most mind expanding course that I took in college
and Dr. Fogel's brilliance and enthusiasm for biology has been a great
inspiration for me in my life since then.
Professor S. M. Miller, tught in the Social Anthropology
Department. I think I was in every course he taught and we became quite
friendly. Professor Miller was the only teacher I had who invited me and
a few others to his home in Manhattan; on West End Ave. as I recall, in
1956. He was one of the few teachers who established a real rapport with
his students and also seemed to value their comments. He also gave some
very interesting homework assignments . . . one of which was to talk to
a few "blue-collar" working people, and get their opinions on
a questionnaire. My first husband and I thought that we would find those
"types" at a local neighborhood saloon! That assignment was
one that the entire class enjoyed. Needless to say, the answers to our
questions not only depended on who we asked, but where we were when we
Peter Pitzele guided me through a semester of Ancient
History and Philosophy in my Sophomore year. From the minute he entered
the classroom on the first day of class, I knew he was different. 25 years
later I can clearly picture his Ronald McDonald style shock of salt and
pepper hair and the faded jeans, poncho and sandals he wore on a daily
basis. It was the perfect attire for the man who wore his heart and soul
on his sleeve and shared so much of himself with his students every day.
Abraham Scharfman taught Hebrew at the college, which
was offered as a foreign language and as I had taken it in high school
I decided to continue in college. All of the other students in the class
were Yeshiva graduates who spoke and read Hebrew fluently. There was one
other girl whose Hebrew like mine was the result of high school classes.
I took Bible studies which wasn’t too difficult because I had the
English translation on the other side of the page. In the second semester
I decided to take Modern Hebrew Poetry. Dr. Scharfman lectured in Hebrew
and I had great difficulty keeping up with the class. Once a week he took
the other girl and myself down to the lily pond and told us what he had
said during the classes. He also allowed us to take exams in English instead
of Hebrew since we had such difficulty interpreting poetry in Hebrew.
I think I passed the class with a B. It was the most difficult class I
ever had but the most rewarding. I will always remember and appreciate
Dr. Scharfman for taking the extra time and effort to make that class
meaningful and successful for me.
I returned to college in the late 1970s as an adult, filled with fear
because my previous experience at Brooklyn College was negative. However,
Professor Mary Howard (Sociology), although modest about
her own accomplishments, was most unselfish in supporting and encouraging
me in my educational pursuits. Her recognition of my ability inspired
me to complete my baccalaureate degree in 1980. I subsequently obtained
employment at BC and received my masters degree in 1986. During this time,
I also met my spouse at the College. I will never for4get Professor Howard.
Her initial comments on my work in her class upon my return to BC changed
Herbert Stroup, Dean of Students, taught sociology
of religion. Dean Stroup’s kindness, compassion, and sensititivity
were evidenced when my close friend and fellow student endured great personal
tragedy. In addition to being a fine teacher, Dean Stroup continued to
extend himself personally in our time of need.
I was one of a dozen students enrolled in Professor Irving Allen
Kaye’s Advanced Organic Chemistry course on Saturdays in
the spring of 1953. Comprised of two hours of lecture and six hours in
the laboratory, this eight hour course was exciting, illuminating and
inspiring. Professor Kaye believed that students tend to be their most
productive, creative and innovative when they work in an atmosphere of
joy, mutual trust, and respect. He felt that intellectual honest, quality,
and striving for excellence were the keys to success.
I was Professor Herbert Meislich’s first graduate
student at Brooklyn College, and he was my thesis advisor and mentor.
He also suggested the research project for my thesis on the rearrangement
of diastereoisomeric Stilene Bromohydrins, for which I am extremely grateful.
He was an excellent advisor and mentor and this research problem taught
me techniques in organic chemistry thagt I could not have learned anywhere
else. He taught me how to persevere at a task, plan aherad, focus on goals,
find creative solutions to my research problem, and to do what all good
scientists do—Experiment! Experiment!
Richard Mendes (Sociology) taught Social Work courses
during my junior and senior years at Brooklyn College. On entering BC
I did not have a major and only stumbled on Sociology when my academic
advisor decided that the mishmash of courses I was proposing to take,
which did not lead to a degree, should be replaced by sociology courses.
It was Richard Mendes' mission to focus his students on social work as
a means to overcome social injustice that provided my wakening call. Over
the years I eventually completed a Doctorate in Social Work, practiced
in hospitals and mental health centers in Chicago, Boston, Ibadan (Nigeria)
and Washington DC, and taught social work courses at the University of
Ibadan, Howard University and Gallaudet University.
Professor Bela K. Kiraly (History) was not just an inspirational
teacher of history, he has been a significant contributor to it! Jailed
in Hungary in 1951 for suspected conspiracy, in 1956 he was the Military
Commander of Freedom Fighters during the Hungarian Revolution. General
Kiraly led the resistance against the Soviet forces. He has also served
as Senior Military Advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orban and was a leader
of the resistance in Hungary during World War II. After the revolution,
he fled to Austria. He emigrated to America where he earned a Ph.D. in
History from Columbia University and taught at Brooklyn College. Professor
Kiraly returned to his native Hungary after the fall of the Soviet regime.
In 1990, became a member of the Hungarian Parliament. He has written and
edited numerous books related to the history of Hungary and Eastern Europe.
On Ambassador Yuri V Andropov’s pretense of peace while Soviet forces
were preparing to crush 1956 Hungarian uprising, Dr. Kiraly is quoted
as saying, “Even pirates, before they attack another ship, hoist a black
flag.” During my first day in his class, Professor Kiraly, who looked
like a General in a three-piece blue suit, spoke of his background and
involvement in the Hungarian Revolution. I remember going to the Grand
Army Plaza library to search the New York Times microfilms of
1956 for information. I found articles talking of General Kiraly’s accomplishments.
As a science major, history had been a required course for me. Professor
Kiraly made history come alive. After I graduated, we remained in contact
for many years. Bela Kiraly has had many careers, soldier, general, commander,
teacher, writer, and statesman -- who better to teach world history of
the 20th Century than someone who literally wrote it?