Dr. O. Dean Gregory, 1927-2000

October 2003

Memories of O. Dean Gregory from John
by John Fanselow

Remembering Dr. Gregory
by John Brewer

Not the Last Word
by Margaret Scheirman

Dr. Gregory's Example
by Robb Scott

My Memories of Dr. O. Dean Gregory
by Kenji Kitao

Career Foundation
by Warren Roby

In Memory of Dr. Dean Gregory
by Kazunori Nozawa

O. Dean Gregory Festschrift
on the ESL MiniConference

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O. Dean Gregory Festschrift
O. Dean Gregory Festschrift

Remembering Dr. Gregory
Contributed by John Brewer

The most delightful memory I have of Professor Dean Gregory dates back to my tenure as a graduate teaching assistant at the Applied English Center. I was part of a loose gang of AEC teachers that devoted a fair amount of time to fun. I was both inspired and surpassed in this pursuit by Martha Harris, who stayed around the AEC to see how many other faculty members she could outlive. One year Martha proposed a fun project that never came to pass, as far as I know. "Let's everybody bring their baby pictures and we'll display them and then guess who the babies are!!" Martha was pretty gung ho for this idea, but that goes without saying. I don't recall if anybody actually brought their baby pictures, but I remember Dr. Gregory saying that there wouldn't be much mystery about his picture. "Mine would be the only one that was a daguerreotype!" he said with a characteristic sparkle in his eye.

Dr. Gregory was on my Master's committee and was always punctual and supportive. While at the AEC, I served on several committees with him and even carried out a research project that he had designed. There were always a few disgruntled AEC students who felt that the time they spent in remedial English classes was wasted. They were certain that with determination they could dive right into their course of study at KU and succeed, despite failing one or more parts of the Michigan Test.

ODG wanted to document the academic performance of international students who had either dropped out of the AEC before achieving satisfactory proficiency test scores or who had evaded it altogether and gone on to take other KU courses. Armed with Dr. Gregory's list of dropouts and no-shows, I went to the academic computer system in Strong Hall and compiled a list of courses that these students had enrolled in. I then circulated questionnaires to their professors. After processing the responses of professors who could actually remember these students, we found that almost all of them had either dropped their KU courses or performed abysmally in them. Whether Dr. Gregory was able to use this research in arguing for the validity of the AEC courses and its testing policy, I do not know. But I have no doubt that there are still disgrunted AEC students for whom no amount of documentation will cut any ice.

Dr. Gregory's declared personal philosophy was never to be satisfied with anything he did. I suppose that he considered this to be a sign of good character. My own feeling was that whatever I did today was as good as it was going to be and that tomorrow could bring different and possibly better results. He never tried to convert me to his brand of self criticism, and for that I am grateful. For my part, I never suggested that he pitch about sixty percent of the journals and file folders and books that clogged his office, although some of us considered doing this for him by stealth. I went out to visit Dr. Gregory at his country home after learning of his diagnosis. He was watching one of the women's Olympic soccer games on TV, as I recall. We watched the game, talked about how his treatment was progressing, and otherwise managed to pass a cordial forty-five minutes or so. Then it was time for me to go. He came out to the gate to wave good-bye as I backed my car around in the drive outside his fence. I will always remember the cheerful and peaceful smile on his face.

John Brewer
Above All Software
Lawrence, Kansas

2003 ESL MiniConference Online