A Professor’s Lasting Lesson:
Never Give Up on People,
And Help Others Succeed
It is with a profound sense of sadness
that I learned of the death of mathematics
Professor William H. Graves in the Review
(September/October 2016). In spring 1974,
I took Math 134, an upper-level course
in number theory from Professor Graves.
I took this course out of sequence during
my sophomore year so that I could have
all of my major courses completed by the
end of the fall semester of my senior year in
1975. From virtually day one of the course,
I was hopelessly lost. At the midterm exam,
I scored a 32, well below any grade I had
ever made in my coursework at Carolina.
After passing out the test papers and
reviewing them with the class, Professor
Graves invited me and another classmate
to his office after class. In that meeting,
a remarkable thing happened. After he
pointed out that even a perfect score on
the final exam would still mean I failed
the course, he went on to say, “I take
some responsibility in your poor showing
on the examination.” Professor Graves
then offered my classmate and me an
opportunity to come to his office every day
during the remainder of the semester to
review the old material and talk about the
current material. I am not sure what else
I did that semester, but I know I worked
on Math 134 almost constantly. As the
semester neared an end, he told both of us
that we had upheld our part of the bargain
and our final grades on the comprehensive
exam would be our grades for the course.
Miraculously, I got a B on the exam, and
that became my final grade.
As I moved through the reminder
of my college career, I thought often of
Professor Graves, especially later at my Phi
Beta Kappa installation banquet and on the
day I received my admission letter to law
school. But I never took the time to thank
him for sharing in those events. Now,
unfortunately, it is too late.
More than 40 years later, I remember
nothing of the substance of Math 134, but
I remember the life lessons Professor Graves
taught me: Never give up on people, and
do all you can to help others succeed. I
hope if your readers have had a similar
experience with a professor in their college
careers that they will take a moment to
send that professor a note and let that pro-
fessor know how influential he or she has
been in that reader’s life. In that way, I will
have properly thanked Professor Graves.
P.S.: The other student was Sarah
Remsburg, now Sarah R. Fix ’ 76. Coincidently, I was in attendance at an N.C.
Jaycees awards ceremony in Southern Pines
in 1994 when she was recognized as one of
the five Outstanding Young Educators in
North Carolina for her work with her students in mathematics.
Thomas W. “T. W.” King ’ 76 (’ 79 JD)
The Story Behind Jayne Mansfield
And Craige’s Party Room
David Brown’s article about the expansion of the South Campus included a photo
of Jayne Mansfield and the caption: “
Somebody apparently had issued a long-shot invitation and hit the jackpot,” which resulted
in Ms. Mansfield dedicating the Craige dormitory party room (“X Marks the Spot,”
September/October 2016 Review).
In the interests of accuracy, I feel compelled to report that it wasn’t such a long-shot. Vernon Caldwell Park ’ 66, one of my
fraternity brothers, now deceased, was playing saxophone in the front row of a dance
band when Jayne Mansfield appeared at the
Plantation Supper Club in Greensboro.
One of the patrons — inebriated, was
the story we heard — tried to get too
friendly with Ms. Mansfield, and Caldwell,
an Army veteran of Vietnam, stood up and
decked the guy. She thanked Caldwell and
told her “hero” to let her know if he ever
needed a favor.
Sometime later, when the planning
committee was seeking ideas for a spectacular dedication, Caldwell suggested they
invite Ms. Mansfield to serve as honorary
housemother. The other committee members laughed at his idea, with a “Yeah,
right!” attitude, and Caldwell quietly let the
matter drop — so they thought.
I don’t know whether he had her phone
number or just got lucky with the timing
and contacted her when she was back in
the area, but he reached her. She said yes,
and showed up to dedicate the party room.
Caldwell was a few years older than
Life on South Campus:
most of our brothers and always came
through whenever we needed something
special — like a bus to take us to a concert
in Raleigh. Getting Ms. Mansfield to
attend the Craige ceremonies was just
another example of why we called him
James H. Dilda ’ 68
‘We Were Happy There’
Thank you for the article on South
Campus in the September/October issue.
Our class began in the nurses’ dorm in
fall 1969. We then moved to Morrison the
following fall, 1970 (not 1971, as the article
stated), and many of us stayed there until
we graduated. We never lived on North
Campus to compare. We were happy
For the first two years, nursing students
studied on North Campus. I only used the
shuttle bus once, when I forgot a paper that
I needed. We walked gladly, often more
than once a day — for meals, to the library
and for classes that met late in the day.
We did activities on North Campus and
enjoyed our life on South.
It was not hard for us to be in the high
rises, as that is all that we knew. I am glad
you took time to focus on our life further
from the hub of the UNC campus.
Liza Hopper ’ 73
Saluting ‘The Healer,’ Dr. Z
The accomplishments and
humanitarianism of Dr. Michael Zollicoffer
’ 85 (MD) are commendable, providing
health care to disadvantaged residents who
might otherwise end up in emergency
rooms, battling maladies that could have
been prevented (“The Healer,” September/
October 2016 Review).
Moreover, his holistic approach to
medicine benefits the whole individual.
As a mentor, his feedback is facilitating
personal and professional advancement
for many who likely would have allowed
demographic constraints to impede it.
Patrick Bouvier Fitzgerald Burris ’ 88