Dr. Feaver, Dr. Martin, our professors from the OCLA era, and all who shared that time as friends and fellow students, I send my very best wishes. I am completing the academic year in Saudi Arabia and regret my plane will be taking off from Dhahran about the time of the closing ceremony (2010). I do, however, feel very much with you in spirit and I am grateful this message can be conveyed.
I am convinced our immersion in the entire OCLA experience helped prepare us for just about anything. Most of my life has been spent working abroad and I can attest the breadth and legitimacy of our educational experiences, the open, non-exclusive nature of our social interactions and, in short, the ways we were encouraged to explore and not be tone deaf to other voices in other places, have served as very real survival essentials in my life overseas as they have been integral to all OCLA graduates.
My personal thanks to Dr. Martin for your leadership and your wisdom. The USAO we see today is a testimony to your success in directing the OCLA mission. I am grateful to have been a student during your presidency. Jerry Holt guided me through every phase of my English major, from classes to tutorials; editing my novel in progress and helping me secure my graduate teaching assistantship. The path of my life's work started with his OCLA classes in 1968. So too did Art Scott's guidance in sociology shape an understanding of group and cultural interactions that has been invaluable to any of us working in any facet of human relations.
To Professors Ingrid Shafer and Stuart Meltzer, who have carried the torch of interdisciplinary learning through decades at OCLA/USAO, great personal thanks from me -- one of your first, though certainly not the best of your students. In penance for my sometimes too cursory preparation for tutorials forty years ago, I promise your efforts to help me develop critical thinking were mainstays during my Fulbright years in North Africa and have been effective time-release capsules.
I am pleased to have been in recent correspondence with Professor Richard Massa -- a major inspiration to every student who had the good fortune to study with him.
Please forgive my unintentional exclusion of names and thanks to the constraints of time, but I hope to one day rectify that personally. To my many fellow students, among them my Delta Kai Delta fraternity brother Kent Lamar, classmates Doc Holliday and Bill Barton -- and so many others -- may the weekend reunion be excellent and may our celebration of OCLA be ongoing.