A Caring Professor

When Joan Oliver Goldsmith decided to earn an MBA degree at the University of Minnesota, she ran into some major problems trying to understand statistics, and so she went to Professor Norm Chervany and said, “I’m going to need some help.”  Then she started crying. She went to the ladies’ restroom and washed her face, and then she came back to Professor Chervany, who, she says, looked more embarrassed than she felt. He told her, “Don’t worry. I’ll work with you ’til you get it. And you will get it.” He tutored her twice, and the night before their third scheduled tutoring session, she was hot by intellectual lightning, and she suddenly understood the statistical curve. She telephoned him to cancel the tutoring session, and he said, “That’s a bit sooner than I expected, but I knew you’d get it.”

Source: Joan Oliver Goldsmith. How Can We Keep from Singing: Music and the Passionate Life. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. Pp. 167-168.

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