I’m rushing off to a class right now, so I have little to offer but a story from today in the archives. I was looking for a picture of Bill Topazio, who was Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I found several in the old files from News and Publications, each one a variation so subtle that the passage of time could only be judged by the width of his ties. Here’s the one I picked:
Well, once I have a box off the shelf I’m not going to just put it back because I found what I was looking for. This particular box had all the faculty whose names started with “T” and I was curious to see what photos there might be of Radoslav Tsanoff, the long serving philosophy professor who was one of Rice’s most legendary teachers. It turned out that there were some good ones, indeed. But that’s not what I want to talk about right now.
There was a whole sheet of pictures in Tsanoff’s file that were in the wrong place. They were photos of a completely different philosophy professor, Konstantin Kolenda. Kolenda, like Tsanoff, was a much loved teacher as well as a scholar and admininstrator. But his pictures were misfiled. Here’s one of him in his office:
Looking at the beautiful windows over his shoulder I realized what an odd image it is–it’s from when the Philosophy Department was housed in Lovett Hall. There aren’t many pictures of this around. The next one was even better. You can see Fondren through the window!
After I finished enjoying these, I put Professor Kolenda back in his own file.
Bonus: Lee Pecht, head of Special Collections, and Mary Bixby, director of Friends of Fondren Library, have just finished putting in a new exhibit at the front of the library. It’s a look at the early construction of the Rice campus and it is really, really good. If you have a chance, stop by and check it out. There are some great pictures and a couple of really unusual items. Here’s one example–this is a sketch from Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson of a door plate for the Administration Building. Both a copy of the sketch and the door plate itself are on display.
Actually, Bill Topazio was dean of humanities up until 1981, when he was succeeded by Allen Matusow, who lasted until 1995. I came to Rice in 1968. In other words, over the first twenty-seven years of my career at Rice, I served under only two deans! That is quite a difference from today’s more or less rapid administrative turnover. Gale Stokes
It seems like that would be a really powerful incentive to work out differences amicably.
When I arrived as a student in 1964 I was really impressed with Tsanoff: Not because he was a great teacher, but because of his amazing eyebrows. His daughter (?), Katherine Brown (art history), was a teacher of mine and her sons, Steve and Hugh, were friends.
Nice to see these photos of my father. Thanks for refiling in the propoer place.
One note: first name is spelled Konstantin – no final “e”
Thanks so much for writing, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the pictures. And thanks for the spelling correction–I will fix it. Not surprisingly, it’s wrong on the folder as well.
I appreciate it. Your blog posts have brough back many menories of growing up around the campus. Thanks!
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I remember Konnie Kolenda very well. Such a kind, gentle man.
Just a little side note. In 1968, when my husband, children and I came to back to Houston after my doctoral studies at UT Austin (and I joined the then Department of Spanish, Portuguese, and Classics), we bought the Kolenda’s house on McDermed Drive. He was a wonderful person, and a good friend.
Dr. Kolenda’s course, “Four Perspectives on the Meaning of Life,” was my first philosophy course at Rice and it, along with Dr. Kolenda himself, paved the way for my deciding to add philosophy as a second major. He was a gifted teacher and caring and inspiring mentor and my life has been deeply enriched by his teachings and friendship. He was such a kind and positive individual and a professor who made his students feel like he, too, was engaged in learning from them. I miss him very much but find him in his wonderful books, especially, “Philosophy’s Journey” and “Philosophy in Literature,” and in the many wonderful memories I have of his classes and the great visits we shared. He made so many of my days at Rice so great! What a wonderful blessing he had been in my life!