Mentors

Gus Gusler reflects on his experiences with Chancellor Caldwell and shares the advice former Student Body President Cathy Sterling (1970-1971) passed along to him before his first liaison meeting.

Interview on 2012-07-24

Transcript

00:00:00.000 Chancellor Caldwell had the biggest impact on me of anybody.
00:00:04.782 I worshipped the ground the man walked on. He was an amazing person,
00:00:09.166 probably one of the most amazing people I've ever met.
00:00:11.258 But there were some other professors there. Joe Mastro, who passed away a few years ago,
00:00:16.266 I stayed in contact with for years, who taught Soviet bloc foreign policy
00:00:22.264 at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon and the class would be packed.
00:00:26.150 No one would miss a class, and no one goes to class on a Friday afternoon.
00:00:29.356 He was amazing. He helped get me thinking about politics and stuff.
00:00:38.434 But Caldwell was the main [one].
00:00:43.830 We were constantly at each other's throats publicly
00:00:50.717 in meetings and stuff, completely disagreeing on an awful lot of stuff,
00:00:55.320 and it was very high energy disagreement,
00:01:01.430 and then that night I'd go have dinner with him at his house.
00:01:05.952 He was just a great man. We respected each other greatly but we would fight like cats and dogs the entire time.
00:01:12.282 I'll never forget-. I can't remember what the-.
00:01:17.303 The chancellor, once a month, has a thing where the heads of the faculty senate and the student body leaders
00:01:23.324 and different people come together. I can't remember what it's called,
00:01:26.072 and I'm sure they still have it,
00:01:28.704 but I'll never forget Cathy Sterling told me,
00:01:31.599 she said, "Now that first meeting, what he's going to do when you walk in,"-and it's a big room and there's about forty people there-
00:01:36.421 "He's going to save the chair directly beside him for you to sit in
00:01:40.220 in because he wants to-." He was so intimidating.
00:01:44.322 He was such a powerful figure that he wants you right there beside him,
00:01:48.067 and [Cathy said], "Don't do it.
00:01:51.552 Go sit at the other end of the table."
00:01:53.503 So that first meeting I walked in and I got there just before it started
00:01:58.357 and sure enough I walked in and there's a seat right beside him,
00:02:01.875 and the chancellor says, "Gus, come up here and sit beside me," and I went,
00:02:05.357 "No thank you, Chancellor," and I went down and pulled up at the end of the table.
00:02:10.061 He just smiled. I think he had an idea. He probably figured I'd already talked to Cathy who'd told me not to sit up there.
00:02:14.542 And we just went at it constantly.
00:02:20.861 I'm not sure whether Cathy liked him as much as I did.
00:02:26.474 I'm not so sure she did, and he was a bit of a-.
00:02:30.754 He was having a real tough time with all the stuff that was going on.
00:02:36.837 He'd never seen students in the street like that,
00:02:42.168 marching and doing stuff on civil rights and anti-war,
00:02:45.516 and we got into huge arguments over advances of the African American community and education,
00:02:51.278 where he thought things were just so much better than they were,
00:02:56.713 and they clearly weren't and I'm sitting there saying this is nowhere near where we need to be.
00:02:59.875 He just couldn't understand why I would get so angry about that, that we were moving in the right direction,
00:03:05.322 but a little too slow for me.