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1960s Philosophy Alumni Updates

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Judy Cushing '68: I'd love talking to some current students about life after undergrad philosophy--I think computing would be a great thing. My study of Philosophy was at least as helpful, if not more, than my study in math....

I really, really enjoyed Philosophy at W&M--after 101-2 with Frank MacDonald and Tom Hearn, I switched majors from Math to Philosophy....  I still almost completed a full math as well as the Phil major. I also took all the Computer Science W&M had then--2 courses (Machine Language, Fortran), and I think I worked on the IBM 1620.  I was awarded an NEH somewhere--maybe University of Georgia, but chose Brown instead for grad school.

After a quick Master's in Philosophy ('69 thesis on Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions), I worked in computing in many jobs--IBM, TI, Cornell, startup firms--and eventually settled into a faculty position at another liberal arts college, The Evergreen State College.  My Ph.D. is in Computer Science and Engineering from Oregon Grad Institute--scientific databases--and I have a fairly extensive research record with NSF grants on interdisciplinary and undergrad CS ed. projects.  I’m now working on a scientific visualization problem.  My philosophy background is ever and always a help! (October 2013)

Allan D. Murray '69:  I majored in philosophy, graduating in 1969. I was truly lucky to have had the pleasure of Professor McDonald as my philosohy 101 instructor, and several other courses during his tenure as head of the department. I'll never forget his opening remarks the first day of my 101 course. He said: "You're probably wondering why the head of a department would be teaching the introductory 101 class. Well frankly, it's because I don't trust it to anyone else." Right away I knew he was very special, and I was in for a great ride! I hope you had the pleasure of knowing him also.

I went on to serve on the Men's Honor Council for three and a half years, serving as its Chairman my senior year, and along the way sought the wise council of Mr. McDonald on a few occasions when complicated ethical questions arose in an honor trial. (October 2017)

David Rutledge '68 I am concluding a career in college teaching as Pitts Professor of Religion at Furman University in Greenville, SC. I received my M.Div. at Duke, and my Ph.D. from Rice University. My primary focus has been on issues in religion and science, religion and the environment, and the thought of scientist-philosopher Michael Polanyi. I published Humans and the Earth: Toward a Personal Ecology (Peter Lang, 1993), developed from the Rockwell Lectures delivered at Rice in 1988. (September 2013)

Laurens Sartoris '67 Certainly I rank among the least of those who majored in philosophy...but there is a value to this major along life's path...critical thinking and a skill for discovering the nut of any issue or problem. Philosophy majors are the enemies of muddle-headed thinking or should be. September 2012