IMAGE:  October 2002 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Volume 95, Issue 1
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"…so one-sided it falls off my bookshelf."

Meyer remembered
In reading the June/02 issue, I saw a report on the revival of the Festival of the Arts ("College Report: The arts for art's sake") in which there was a reference made to a social science professor, "Meyer Gerhardt." I suspect this is a garbled reference to Gerhard Meyer, a wonderful and distinguished teacher, an economist by training, a Christian socialist, and a lifelong friend of the theologian Paul Tillich. He was renowned among many generations of undergraduates for his teaching in the general education program. He was a gift to the University of Chicago, inadvertently generated by the rise to power of the Nazis.

If indeed this is the individual to whom this article refers, I think a correction to that effect is appropriate. I am probably not the only reader of the Magazine to suspect that the writer, who understandably would not know that this is an error, got the name confused. As I believe Dean of the College John Boyer observed some years ago, teachers of the idealism, intellectual sophistication, dedication, and breadth of Gerhard Meyer no longer exist at Chicago or anywhere else. Meyer did not publish, but the quality of his teaching and thought was in no sense inferior to that of his colleagues whose names are still remembered by virtue of their publications. It is, therefore, touching that a thoughtless error should result in the opportunity for me and others to pay tribute to Gerhard Meyer and those like him who were so important to the quality of our undergraduate experience at the University of Chicago.

In my study I have a framed photograph of Meyer with a cigarette in his mouth, standing alongside his friend Christian W. Mackauer in the University bookstore waiting to pay for that day's New York Times.

Leon Botstein, AB'67
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

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