So Long, Farewell

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sound_of_music_maria_and_von_trapp_childrenAs the semester draws its last rattling breaths, your professors offer their wit and wisdom to sustain you through finals.

Bruce Cronin, American Foreign Policy, on cheating: “If you’re Jewish or you’re Catholic, this will eat away at your soul for the rest of your life. So don’t do it!”

Sunil Gulati, Principles of Economics, on the Columbia student’s responsibility to developing countries: “I used to think that the last lecture was so I could sleep at night…Turns out it’s not. It’s to make sure that you don’t sleep well at night.”

Joseph Patterson, Theories of the Universe: “So this could all point to an anthropic principle. Or it might signify that we all just have too much time on our hands. And with that, the course ends!”

Ryan Chaney, The Road: “I’m never teaching this class again.”

Kenneth Jackson, History of the City of New York: “I had a lecture planned for today, but I think I’m going to just go for a little more of a stream of consciousness type thing now.”

Richard Wortman, Imperial Russia, on the future of Russia under Putin: “All that remains is the legacy of the autocracy.”

Vincent Aurora, French Cultural Workshop: “I like Lacan. He slaps you in the face with…the phallus. [pause] It’s the last class. I don’t care what I say.”

James Applegate, Earth, Moon, and Planetson the causes of global warming: “Bovine flatulences…yes, cow farts.”

Gerald Curtis, Japanese Politics: “I have this weird hobby of reading yellow pages from phone books.”

Patricia Lindemann, The Science of Psychology: “Remember in doing your evaluations to be constructive with your comments.  Professors really do read them and work off of them, and it’s best if your teacher is not crying in the closet. So constructive, not cruel.”

Randall Balmer, Religion in American Culture, giving thanks to his students for actually showing up: “Today marks the end of my first 25 years of teaching at Columbia.  On my first day of teaching, I showed up to class and there was no one there and it was devastating, right out of grad school. Without you, I’d probably be stuck teaching Introduction to Comparative Religion or something stupid like that.”

John Magyar, Inorganic Chemistry, on Sleeping Beauty: “The only reasonable explanation was that the fairies were using cobalt salts.”

Richard Billows, The Ancient Greeks: “One can imagine a person’s arm getting somewhat tired after awhile if he’s been stabbing dead bodies over and over again.”

Brendan O’Flaherty, Urban Economics: “In other Economics classes they teach you that bonds are important. I teach you that going to the bathroom is important, which it is!”

Anna Catherina Musatti, Principles of Economics: “If I were a man they’d say, ‘Oh, he has balls!’”

George Saliba, Intro to Islamic Civilization: “Like the kids from Lake Wobegon, all of you will be above average.”

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  1. Big Man on Campus

    My Professor for Climate and Society (Peter deMenecal) didn't even show up for our last lecture with group presentations and much for words of wisdom......

  2. Correction  

    Prof Jackson didn't say that at the end of the lecture. He said it at some point in the middle, and as the class was on 9/11, the context of the quote signified just how hard it was for him to prepare a lecture on the topic.

    He actually ended the class with a quote on NYC from E.B. White. I don't remember the exact quote, but a quick google search brings up the following:

    "There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter - the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in search of something . . . Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion."

    It was something very close to that, if not an excerpt of that.

    • Kenneth Jackson  

      is it true that he's not teaching the History of New York class again?

    • Jackson

      stole that from those subway ads this summer.

    • no, it was  

      "New York blends the gift of privacy with the excitement of participation; and better than most dense communities it succeeds in insulating the individual (if he wants it, and almost everybody wants or needs it) against all enormous and violent and wonderful events that are taking place every minute.... New York is peculiarly constructed to absorb almost anything that comes along (whether a thousand-foot liner out of the East or a twenty-thousand-man convention out of the West) without inflicting the event on its inhabitants; so that ever event is, in a sense, optional, and the inhabitant is in the happy position of being able to choose his spectacle and so conserve his soul." -E.B. White, "Here is New York"

  3. well

    Wait, isn't every one of Jackson's lectures a stream of consciousness "editorial"? I still loved that class, even though I probably learned more in Hillary Ballon's history of the american city class.

  4. Ha

    I like how the psych class is called The "Science" of Psychology. Real sciences don't seem to be insecure enough to name the class the Science of Chemistry.

  5. samantha  

    i miss george saliba soooooooo much

  6. i hate  

    hearing these idiots that wanna graduate right now. I would stay at this school for 20 years if i weren't in so much debt already. Much love to the professors out there that have a goal of changing the world for the better and have dedicated their lives to it...Gulati's quote is especially awesome.

  7. dear bwog  

    ewww gulati sucks ass

  8. Despicable

    I had that same recycled speech by Gulati my freshman year. That three foot tall leprechaun is so full of himself. He needs to go back to searching for his pot o' gold.

  9. vincent  

    aurora is the BEST hahaha love him

  10. george

    YEAH BILLOWS! hahah

  11. CC11  

    Prof de Grazia in the last email of the semester:
    "Yes, this is a democracy, social democracy! Empowered by social citizenship, you should submit your course evaluation and expect that your unelected representative will carefully weigh your responses."

  12. cc2011  

    Jackson is so awesome. I love the man. Yes, he can be sometimes unorganized and all in his lectures, but he knows so much and loves the class and New York so much. This old man still cares enough about his students to take them out on field trips!! And almost like every other week! He is also planning to read all of the student projects.... This man is truly dedicated. So glad I took his class.

  13. Cows  

    mostly release methane from belches, not flatulence.

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