Sunday, May 15, 2005

Gildersleeve and Reed

In an odd coincidence, on the same day that newspapers published reports that the Pentagon has marked Walter Reed Army Medical Center for "realignment" (i.e., closing, with its functions and personnel to be reassigned elsewhere), this passage appeared in an article about Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, a classics professor at the University of Virginia who fought in the Civil War:

His wound left him with a permanent limp, and on returning to full-time teaching, he became something of an institution at UVa., famous for his biting wit.

On one occasion, he was able to help a fellow prodigy. In 1868, a 16-year-old student petitioned to be awarded a bachelor's degree after only one year at the university. He said his family was too poor to continue supporting his studies. A panel appointed to review his petition was impressed with his brilliant record but refused him a degree.

The student countered that if he couldn't receive the bachelor of arts degree, would the university award him a medical degree the next year if he could finish the medical course in that time? Gildersleeve was on the panel and urged his colleagues to give the boy a chance. The next year, Dr. Walter Reed received his medical degree.

1 comment:

Tim said...

You may want to tell your readers precisely why Walter Reed has a medical center named after him: Reed discovered that malaria was transmitted through mosquito bites.