I studied TESOL at the University of Kansas from August 1972 to December 1976. Dr. O. Dean Gregory was my advisor for both my M.A. and Ph.D. theses. I took his class and seminar. He was one of the professors with whom I had the closest relationship, and he was a great influence. I owe him what I am today.
I first met him in early June 1972 when I happened to see him in the office. I just introduced myself and he welcomed me with a smile. Whenever I visited his office, he was always willing to help me, whether by pointing me to useful information or giving me information about travel grants, which allowed me to go to NAFSA and TESOL.
His class was one of the most demanding ones I ever took. We had to write papers in several fields of TESOL and discussed all the papers in class. It was tough but I probably learned more about TESOL there than in any other class.
Dr. Gregory made more comments on my theses than any other committee member. He asked “why?” many times and pointed out places I lacked evidence. He showed me better ways to express myself academically.
One time I was on opposite sides from Dr. Gregory. Some international students had a strike, demanding better teaching at the Intensive English Center. I was the vice-president of the International Club, and I represented those students. Dr. Gregory represented the Intensive English Center, and he did a good job of explaining the situation for their point of view and answering students’ questions.
I went back to KU a few times after graduation. The last time was 1983. I happened to stop by Dr. Gregory’s office. We had a long time to talk about TESOL in Japan and the United States, including our textbook, An American Sampler, which he knew well. He invited me to dinner at his home that day, and we continued talking.
As I have written, he was a person with a great deal of knowledge and information, and with a gift for imparting it to students. He was very professional and demanded a lot of students, particularly to Ph.D. students. He was very tough, but he was very kind in nature and always willing to help students.
Professor of English
2003 ESL MiniConference Online