Alumni

1950s



Elizabeth (Beth) Deibert Skinner (2000-05-03)

After a BA in French and an MA in Education, Beth left KU with husband Bob and went first to Baltimore, then to Washington, DC, where she lived for 35 years, teaching French in junior high in the early 60s, then being a "stay-at-home mom for about ten years. Bob died in 1976. I went to work at the World Bank and was there for 17 years, starting as a bilingual secretary and moving on (and slightly up) to various administrative and computer jobs, usually in bi-lingual offices. My most interesting assignment was with a unit overseeing the Bank's participation in a large multi-donor project combating riverblindness (one of those awful African diseases) in 7 West African nations. I traveled to West Africa a number of times." She later earned an MBA at Yale and says that that "confirm[ed] that French was as good a major as any other." After retiring from the World Bank in 1995, she moved back to Kansas to be with her mother and remained, in Marysville, where she keeps busy with gardening and volunteer activities. She keeps in touch with her sister, Sara DEIBERT Winter, and is still close friends with Emily ENOS Pechefsky, who is in some of the photos that Beth sent to us. Beth started French at KU in 1951, when language labs were new [and the "tapes" were wire reels!], and French I and II consisted of "lecture" for 5 hrs/wk plus "lab" for 2 hrs/wk. She remembers "with amusement" Mattie Crumrine's close monitoring of activities of Le cercle français, and sent us two Christmas programs that include lots of names that would be familiar to faculty and students from the early 50s. [Some will remember that it was not considered politically incorrect to have such programs, with French carols, in the 50s and 60s.]


Joe C. Evans (2000-04-20)

Joe writes: "I retired from Colorado State University on June 1, 1992. Have been awfully busy, but if you ask what I do, I must reply: 'Nothing.' Three children, three grandchildren. I first arrived at KU in June 1931 [does he mean 1951? He must] and attended graduation to see my uncle receive M.D. degree. Said uncle still living, age 94. Speaking of Nothing, I recently passed through it while driving from Phoenix AZ to Las Vegas NV. Nothing is in Arizona. Some maps show its location. I wonder if Sartre knew about it. If I return to that state, I'll stop at Nothing." He also provided a list of graduate students (Dave and Nancy Dinneen, Pierre Chanover, Jean Scammon, Jud McElwee, Zelda Penzel, Ken Stites, Paul Toepfer, Rosemary Hodgins, Howard Adams, Karl Pond), as well as faculty (J. Neale Carman, Robert Mahieu, Barbara Craig, Mattie Crumrine, Reinhard Kuhn) of his time, 1956-59.


Pamela Hutchinson Hanson (2000-04-06)

Pamela writes: "In 1957 I was one of eight American winners of an essay contest celebrating the 200th anniversary of Lafayette's birth. M. Mahieu talked me into entering it. 8 students from the U.S. were guests of the French government, and 8 French students were guests here. We traveled on the Liberté, spent three weeks in Paris and two weeks in St Aygalf on the Riviera in an international student camp. It was, of course, a great experience. My biggest memories [of the department] seem to be of French Club Xmas parties-singing French carols. Probably that's because music has been my life in the 40s and intervening years." [No details given on those post-graduation years.]


Renate Mayes (2000-04-14)

Renate sent a long separate letter, with much that will be useful for the History of French Studies. I'll try to summarize. Renate also studied German and received a year-long scholarship to study in Mainz in 1958, with the help of Professor "Tony" Burzle who directed what has become the Office of Study Abroad. She stayed a second year in the Middlebury program and studied both French and German language and literature. On returning to the U.S., she moved to Washington, D.C. and started working (thus putting off completion of the M.A. until 1967). She has had a varied career: 1 year in the Office of Senator Stuart Symington, 1 year as research assistant to Thilo Koch, Chief Correspondent for Norddeutscher Rundfunk (North German Radio/TV), 22 years as trilingual secretary, later editor, later Personnel Administrator, at the World Bank, from where she retired early. But not really: substitute teaching, administrative assistant in the Heritage Foundation, legal secretary, tutoring in languages, some simultaneous translating. Has traveled as much as possible. Visited an old KU friend, Marcia Fullmer, in 1999. Her memories of the department hit many of the faculty names above, but also include Gary Sick [who, by the way, was a student of mine and Barbara Craig's and whose name and voice may be familiar to those who listened to NPR discussions of the Gulf War: he was a frequent guest expert on the area; we were able to bring him back to KU soon after that, for a talk, but I did not manage to get a reply from him for the newsletter] and Ann Allen, students with her.


Mary Lou Morris Wolsey (2000-04-01)

Mary Lou earned her MA here, then taught in Virginia for two years before going to Besançon on Fulbright/French Govt assitantship. Back to begin doctoral studies at Univ of Penn, then marry another KU grad, who became a chemistry prof at Macalester College in Minnesota, and they've been there ever since, with Mary Lou as a professor of French at the Univ of St Thomas, in St Paul. Two children (twins), one of whom is in Lamoni, IA, so a nostalgic trip to KU is in the cards. She provided lots of great memories of the department, in amazing detail, all of which will be helpful for the History of French Studies, including some new info on the old language lab and a blow-by-blow account of the grading procedure in lower-level courses (continued, by the way, well into the 60s-until all FL departments dropped the 2 hour labs).


Chuck Nicholson (2000-04-09)

Chuck reminds me that we knew each other when he was the Modern FL Consultant for the Kansas State Dept of Ed, 1965-70, and I was handling lower level courses in French. He continued working for the KSDE (now Ks Board of Ed) until retirement in 1995. Continues to be active as a volunteer with AARP and his church. Travel has been on cruises, none to Europe yet.


William T. Patterson

No information available.


Jean Scammon Hyland (2000-04-25)

Jean's first job after KU was at William and Mary, 5 years; from there she went to the Univ of Rhode Island, 25 years. Married in 1966 to a prof of Zoology at URI. They spent two sabbatical years in Belgium and bought a house in southern France. Jean is now retired, but active in many activities: Community Housing Program, Fulbright Association, several choirs, travel. She has kept up with many old friends from KU times: Peggy Meeder Hofmann, Miriam Bowes, Ira Kuhn (widow of Reinhard Kuhn), and she has also provided me with lots details for the History of French Studies.


Betty Smyth Klein (2000-04-17)

Betty taught at Hiram College (60-62) after completing her MA at KU, then started a doctoral program at Case Western, but she had to drop out of that program when she married and started teaching at Cuyahoga Community College in 1963. After much travel, two children, she retired from teaching in 1993. Some years after her first husband died, she remarried and moved to Florida, where she has been active in political affairs and the Property Owners' Association. Betty, like many others, provided great anecdotal information about her years at KU in old Fraser Hall.


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