Interviewee: Richard B. Schmidt
Interviewer: Samuel Proctor
January 16, 1992 and February 10, 1992
P: This is Samuel Proctor. I am in Dr. Richard P. Schmidt's
office here at the Veteran's Administration Hospital
[Gainesville, Florida]. [The interview was conducted in two
parts on January 16, 1992 and February 10, 1992.] I am
going to start right-out by asking Dr. Dick Schmidt for his
full name, including that "P."
S: The P is for Penrose; the first name is Richard, so I am
Richard Penrose Schmidt.
P: What is the Penrose for? Where is that [coming from]?
S: It is [a] family [name]. I am not quite sure what it is.
My mother told me several stories about what it is, but the
Penrose family is liked [to my own] some generations back,
I do know that.
P: Where and when were you born, Dick?
S: I was born on July 27, 1921, in Akron, Ohio.
P: Tell me a little bit about your parents now. First of all,
your father's full name and what he did.
S: My father was Richard Homer Schmidt. He was an organic
chemist on the faculty at the University of Akron. [It was]
originally Buchtel College and now [is] Akron State
P: Where did your father go to school?
S: He went to Wesleyan for his undergraduate [degree] in
Connecticut and got his master's degree at Columbia.
P: You said that he was an organic chemist. What did he do?
S: He taught chemistry for quite a few years. Then he went
into administration. He was registrar of the university.
For a while during the depression he did two jobs; one was
being in charge of the adult education program, which was
mostly night school.
P: And your mother?
/ S: My mother's maiden name was Frances AngtIyn Speakman. She
was born in Illinois and went to Monmouth College in
P: Then you grew up in an academic family. Do you have any
S: I have one sister who is dead. She was five years older
[than I], but she died rather rapidly of meningitis.
P: Give me an outline of your own early education.
S: I attended primary and secondary school at Stow, Ohio, where
I graduated from high school in 1939, I guess it was. I
spent my first year in college at Miami University in
Oxford, Ohio, and then transferred to Kent State University
which was nearby so I could live at home.
P: Let us talk a little bit about your growing-up years before
you get to the university. First of all, you grew up during
the era of the depression, the 1930s. What kind of an
impact did that have on you and your family?
S: My father worked at a job the whole time. The pay, I know,
was decreased, [but] I did not know by exactly how much. I
do remember some of his colleagues who were "retrenched," as
it were, because of lack of money to pay them. I think that
they let go about half of the faculty at that time, if my
memory is correct. Some of the time he was paid in script,
but we always had enough to eat and [enough] clothing and
P: Did you live in town or out in the country?
S: We lived in a more rural area called Stow, which was about
eight miles from Akron-- then considered rural, now
P: Did you yourself have to work as a kid?
S: I worked at a number of different things. I delivered
papers for a while, but not very long. I had odd jobs; I
sold [just] about everything I could sell, door-by-door but
usually not successfully. I worked for a little while at
muck farms, but I did not have a regular job.
P: Were you a good student?
S: Not very good; I was adequate.
P: What were your strong areas?
S: My strong areas were in the sciences when I was in high
school, and also I guess when I was in college. There were
a few things I did extremely well. I enjoyed the courses in
such things as history--I did not take enough of it. I took
in college mostly pre-medical courses in what I thought was
an overly-rigid curriculum.
P: Were you a reader as a kid growing up?
S: I read very, very much.
P: You like to read now, I understand, from what you have told
me. Were you a sports person as a teen-ager?
S: I was not terribly good at anything. The best sport I had
was baseball. The high school did not have a team but we
had some pick-up teams, and I enjoyed that a great deal.
P: What kind of an impact did your family [have on you]? Were
you close to your parents and did they play a major role in
S: They played a very major role. My mother was a different
person. She had been a Women's-Libber before it was
popular, I think. She married a little bit late in her own
career. She was about thirty-two when she married. [She]
had gone on to a career in music and was in Boston at the
time that she met my father. So she had an influence on me,
but she and I never got along too well. My father was very,
very busy but I had greater respect for him. He always
seemed to have time when I needed it.
P: What was your father doing in Boston at the time that he met
S: Well, they did not meet in Boston. She had a summer job and
he had a summer job. Both were teaching at Gorham Normal
School in Maine, and that is where they met. He was a
graduate student in New York City at the time.
P: What brought them to Ohio?
S: He was I think principal of the high school in Hackensack,
New Jersey at the time. The Buchtel College was just
becoming a municipal institution, and they were hiring more
faculty. He met the head of the chemistry department, a man
J by the name of Simmonds, who hired him. I do not quite know
how it happened, but they moved to Ohio and he became a
member of the faculty at the University of Akron.
P: Did you grow up in a family that was rigid as far as church
S: No. I grew up in a very liberal church family. My own
upbringing was in the Universalist Church, which is a non-
creedal, so-called liberal church that does not demand a
statement of belief. We were never taught about virgin
birth or trinity or things of that nature.
P: As you look back on it now, Dick, was there anything or any
influence that began to move you toward what was going to be
your career in medicine?
S: I had had the idea of medicine I think very early in life.
I was influenced by some of the things that I have read. I
9p read Arrowsmith and things like Paul de Croix, which I think
had a little bit of a romantic influence about medicine. I
was enrolled in college as a pre-medical student from the
very beginning. I did not know where my career would take
me at that time. I did not say that I was going to be a
neurologist, for example, which I became. I somehow was
most attracted, from very early on, to an academic-type
career. I never was terribly attracted to private practice.
I toyed with the idea of public health or something of that
nature early on, but ultimately chose neurology, mostly
because of the influence of the teacher.
P: Why only the one year at Miami University?
S: I had been ill, and was out for six weeks during my first
year in college. I wanted to go back to Miami, and this was
one of the differences I had with my mother. They also
bribed me by buying an automobile for $195 for me.
P: That was big time in 1939. [laughter] Not many people had
automobiles, and certainly not luxurious ones that cost
S: It was only two years old, too.
P: What was the nature of your illness? Anything serious?
S: It was a salmonella infection, which was not as easily
treated then as it is now. I was in the hospital at
college. It happened right when I went back from one of the
breaks. I was in hospital there then taken back to Akron
where they made the diagnosis. I was in the hospital for
another five days.
P: Was Kent State closer to home?
S: It was only four miles away.
P: So you were able to live at home, then?
P: That meant that you were under more parental supervision
S: [I] certainly was! [laughter]
P: Maybe that also added to the controversy with your mother,
as she told you to put on a sweater when you left the house
if it was chilly outside.
S: Oh, she was still doing that when I was fully grown.
P: So you mainly took science courses at both Miami University
and Kent [State University]?
S: Yes. That was the relatively set pre-medical curriculum
that was so popular at that time-- so much of chemistry, so
much of biology and zoology, and so on.
P: It sounds to me, though, from what you were saying earlier
that you did take some of the humanities: history, English,
and that sort of thing.
S: I did.
P: Did you have to push those in as extras?
S: Well, there was a certain amount of extra connected with it.
I even took a course in educational psychology. I did not
quite know I was taking it, but it was a very good one, and
taught by a magnificent teacher at Kent. I did not follow
the precise pre-medical curriculum there. I was called in
once by the dean and told that I was not following it
properly. But I went ahead and did what I did.
While you were at Kent (and even earlier at Miami
University), other schools, including the University of
Florida, University of Chicago, Minnesota, had already
instituted a general education program. Was that in
operation at Kent?
[It] was not.
ft So as a result you did not get that liberal arts background
that you might have gotten otherwise.
S Now, you are there [at college] right on the eve of World
far II. [When you were] a freshman in 1939, war broke out
In Europe. To what degree was that looming as a shadow over
S' It loomed as a big shadow. In fact, at about the time war
broke out I thought I would be an aviator. They would not
take me because I was too skinny. I failed the physical at
the time and stayed in college. They would defer for
education; they had a way of deferral at that time to put us
into a military title to keep us on hand for later service.
So they made all of the pre-medical students (or those who
were accepted to medical school) second lieutenants [in the]
in the Medical Administrative Corps, I think it was.
Ultimately, when I was in medical school they took us into
active duty as privates in the army or at similar rank in
the navy for other people. So it loomed rather large. I
guess I was an intern when the war was over, but I
subsequently served anyway.
P: Did you wear a uniform during this period?
P: In school?
S: In medical school, yes.
P: Was Kent State a land grant school? Did you take ROTC is
really what I am asking.
S: No, I did not take ROTC.
P: So your first encounter with the military was as a result of
this action after we went into the war, after Pearl Harbor,
P: And then you are allowed to finish your medical education,
and then you go into active service. Right?
S: Correct. After internship we were called to active duty and
took the place of people who had been in and were then
P: During the time that you were in college, both before and
during the war, in addition to being a student-- going to
class and studying and doing all of those wonderful things--
what kind of activity were you involved in? First of all,
were you a fraternity man?
P: Were you a social animal on campus?
S: Not terribly; I did not approach being a so-called "BMOC"
[Big Man On Campus] at all. I did not participate greatly
in the social affairs of the campus. I did participate in a
couple of the biology clubs, for example. I got into
something which interested me. It was an international
affairs organization. I was in that, and attended the
meetings. I presented a paper once which almost got me in
trouble. Apparently I was hewing a radical line which I
found fascinating at the time. I was advised that I should
not quite do that.
P: What was it?
S: It had to do with the events in the Far East leading up to
the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
P: Were you an isolationist in your political philosophy?
S: No, I never was.
P: You were an interventionist [laughter]. Were you a sports
person in college?
P: So you had not carried over this enthusiasm for
participating in baseball?
P: You were just a spectator-sports person. What was Kent
State like in those early years?
S: Kent State was in the process of changing. It had changed
some years before from a primarily teachers college into a
general university. But it still had a large residual of
that, both in the faculty and [in] its education. I guess
every university has opportunities for students given by
faculty. There were a number of faculty members who
profoundly influenced my career. There was a man named
James Kelly in biology, another named Charles Summner in
biology. A third in biology was a man named Constantine
P: Charles Summner? Now that is a famous guy for you to be
associating with. [laughter]
S: [Alexopoulous] was of Greek background. I subsequently
learned that he had been here at the University of Florida
as a lecturer when I was here, and did not know about it
until afterwards. He was at that time on the faculty in
microbiology at the University of Arizona.
P: In what way did these men influence you?
S: They gave me encouragement. They welcomed me to come in the
laboratory as a laboratory assistant for part of the time,
to [help] prepare things for teaching. [They] were there to
talk, and were magnificent teachers in their own subjects,
and were always available to answer questions-- even some of
my very absurd ones.
P: Were you financially independent? Was your family able to
support you or did you have to work during college?
S: I worked during college. They were supporting me whether
they were able or not, however. I worked on Saturdays when
I was at Kent [for] ten hours at the A&P store, and made a
little more than I made in the NYA [National Youth
Administration]. They [the A&P store] paid thirty-five
cents an hour there, and I was only getting twenty-five
cents an hour at the [NYA] jobs I had at the university.
P: What kind of work did you do at the university for the NYA?
S: I had a job in the biological science library for an hour
and a half every afternoon. I was there from 4:30 to 6:00.
And I closed it then [the library, at 6:00 p.m.]. The
regular librarian was not there at the time. I checked out
books or helped people and filed some of the books.
P: The NYA was the National Youth Administration, and it was
set up as a New Deal agency to help young men and women,
both in high school but particularly on the college
university levels. In some ways I guess it set the stage
for the GI Bill, because it did make college available.
Otherwise, people would not have been able to afford to go
S: The costs of going to school, particularly at a state
university at that time, were very much less than now. When
I was at Miami I had very good quarters in a brand new
dormitory. I think the room was ten dollars a month and the
board-- three meals a day-- was twenty dollars a month.
P: Considerably less than it is today. Miami University was a
state-supported institution; what about Kent?
S: Kent was a state school. They were sister institutions, as
P: Were both relatively small institutions at that time?
S: About 3,000-3,500 students each.
P: So there was a greater degree of camaraderie than you would
expect to find at a big school like this today.
P: OK. Let us now talk a little bit about the course work that
you were taking during these undergraduate years leading up
to your medical education. You first got a bachelor's
S: In the pre-medical curriculum at the time they often had a
combined degree. You got a bachelor's degree after the
first year at medical school. [You] went to college for
three years, which I was not planning to do. I was planning
to go for four years. But then, with the war going on, we
were encouraged--indeed pushed, if we could get into medical
school--to go at three years. I made some deviations in the
exact pre-medical curriculum. So, although I was accepted
to medical school, I did not qualify (they said) at the time
for a baccalaureate, or I thought I did not. So I did not
apply for it. When I got my baccalaureate, somebody got my
records and looked at them; ten years after I left they gave
me a BS degree.
P: I noticed on your resume 1942 listed as the BS.
S: No, it was actually 1953.
P: Where did you go to medical school?
S: At [the University of] Louisville.
P: How did you make that decision?
S: I was influenced by a man named Alln DeWeese, who was
working as the university physician at Kent, and served
whenever asked as pre-medical advisor to anybody who wanted,
although I do not know whether he was the official one or
not. He had been on the faculty at Louisville. We became
friendly, and he encouraged me to apply there, which I did.
At that time, we were told to apply to three schools. I was
accepted at two and turned down at one. Western Reserve
[University also accepted me]. [The University of]
Rochester [rejected me]. I was later offered the department
chairmanship at Rochester [laughter].
P: That is kind of ironical, is it not? Well, it just shows
that they came to their senses, and atoned for their earlier
sins. Did you know anything about Louisville, or were you
just a country boy going to the big city?
S: I did not know anything about it; I was kind of a country
boy going to the big city. My sister was living there at
the time. Her husband was the office manager of a plant
Goodyear built for the war effort. I think they were making
explosives. That was a little bit of an influence. I went
down and visited her and saw things at the school. I made
an application and I got accepted.
P: I suppose the fact that your sister was living there made
your family satisfied with that selection?
S: Maybe a little bit. My sister moved shortly after I got
P: I was just wondering to what degree your family was
encouraging you to make this kind of a career decision.
S: They really left it up to me.
P: Of course, your father was scientifically inclined; [science
was] the basis of his own background, education, and work.
S: I think my father did not think that I could get into
medical school. My grades were not distinguished, were
spotty; I would get As and Cs and usually nothing in
between. But I got very good scores on the pre-medical
aptitude tests they had at that time. I think that that Is
what got me accepted.
P: But your transcript, then, was the reason for your father's
S: I think he thought that I would not work hard enough.
P: [laughter] He probably knew you, Dick.
S: I got my comeuppance in the first year of medical school.
P: In what way?
S: I found that I had to work a lot harder than I had ever
worked before in my life. And it paid off. I was rudely
shocked by my first D. I managed to graduate and get
elected, ultimately, to the honor society for academic
achievement. So I recovered.
P: How do you account for the fact that there was this great
turnover in your scholarly activities?
S: Mostly I was scared! [laughter]
P: You just began studying harder and longer?
S: Yes; sometimes all night long.
P: So that D, then, paid off.
S: It had a profound influence. I do not know that because of
it I became a neurologist-- the subject was neuroanatomy!
P: I hope that your father, when he saw that D, did not say "I
told you so."
S: He did not see it! [laughter]
P: So you let that poor man go to his grave without realizing
that his son was a near failure?
S: They did not send the grades from medical school to parents.
P: So you did not have to face up to that situation. How long
did your father live?
S: He died in 1963.
P: So he continues on through your early medical life. I was
just wondering if he died earlier, and [if] you lost that
S: He died at an early age--seventy-two.
P: But you were well into medical practice by the time he died.
I was under the feeling that he had died earlier.
S: By-that time I had already come to Florida.
P: Tell me about Louisville now. You go up there to medical
school, and you are into the program that they institute
which made you work very hard. When did you get your
P: And then you immediately went into service?
S: We had an abbreviated internship of nine months. Actually,
the medical school was abbreviated. We went through in
three years, without vacation.
P: Around the clock?
S: We had one-month vacations] a year. The military took some
of that when we were put into active duty. So I had an
internship of nine month's duration, and was called into the
army at that time.
P: And the internship was at Louisville?
P: Did the government support you? Were you subsidized during
the period you were in service and going to school?
S: About half-way through my second year was when they took
over the medical students. This was nation-wide. I was in
ASTP, the Army Specialized Training Program, and received
the pay and emoluments of a private first class. Actually,
we were paid rather well in comparison to nothing before. I
had a take-home.[pay] of about $155 a month, which was quite
luxurious in those days.
P: Were you obligated to do any military training, or was this
just your medical program?
S: We had some military training which was not very great. We
went out on Saturdays and marched. One time, the commanding
officer thought it would be very nice if we marched to the
horse races. So we marched to the horse races one Saturday.
Of course, we got there and then got on the street car and
P: That was arduous. [laughter] But you did not have to bivouac
and live in tents and go on twenty-mile hikes?
S: No. They had no barracks for us, and we lived and ate on
P: So, other than the Saturday activity and the wearing of the
uniforms, you were for all practical purposes a civilian
S: Yes. We had some military things to do. We had to wear the
uniform properly and salute properly when we met an officer.
My roommate and I got some punishment when we did not put a
blue star on our sleeves. The ASTP started a blue star
award for certain levels of academic achievement. We both
recieved this award, but we were supposed to wear it on our
sleeves and did not do it. [We] had to polish the floor
every day for a week. [laughter]
P: Good training for when you got assigned to Shands!
[laughter] That got you all set up to help with the
housekeeping activities. How long were you an intern?
S: Just nine months. [I was] then called into active duty and
was taken to er~h-O-Sk Field in Rantoul, Illinois.
P: And what kind of a base -Or was that?
S: It was in part of the Army Air Training Command. They had
navigator school and cook school. I do not know what else
they had in terms of training. It was an air base, and a
lot of the officers, for example, had been in combat and had
returned to state-side duty with the war being over. When I
went there it probably had 15,000 or 16,000 men on the base.
We lived in Champaign right by the campus of the University
P: What was your rank [at that time]?
S: I went in as a first lieuternt, which was the base rank
for a medical officer. [I was] promoted after a year to
P: I heard you say "we." What does the "we" mean?
S: "We" was my late wife Betty [and myself].
P: Alright, tell me about your personal life now. Who was she,
and when did you get married?
S: I met her in a Congregational church's young people's group
in Akron. I was going to it on Sunday evenings because of a
young lady who went to it regularly. I wanted to keep
company with her, and that was one of the ways I could do
it. Betty Heminger came for a similar reason with a friend
of mine. We met there, and made contact. One thing led to
another, and we ultimately decided to get.married. We dated
for about three years or so before we got married. When
they started the ASTP, we had a little money coming in; she
graduated from college and could get a job teaching.
P: Where did she go to school?
S: She went to Akron [State University].
P: When were you married?
S: In June 1943. I was in medical school, and we had just been
taken over by the army.
P: Tell me the names and birth-dates of your children.
S: Both of our children were adopted. Richard Penrose Schmidt,
r., the youngest, was born in October 1957. Victoria
Frances, who is the elder, was born in March 1953.
P: And were both adopted as infants?
P: So you had been married for about ten years before you
acquired children, correct?
P: Obviously you had a very happy marriage and a very
S: I did.
P: Good. Now, let us get you in and out of the military and on
into your medical career. How long were you in active
S: Approximately two years, excluding that [time] when I was in
active service in the medical school. Two years as a
P: So you were in from about 1945 to about 1947, then?
S: 1946 to 1948.
P: Were you at that base all of that time?
S: Yes. I was declared essential by the colonel, which kept me
in a little bit longer than some of my colleagues but kept
me out of the Korean conflict, too.
P: What did you do in the hospital? kJ l
S: I started out as a general medical officer assigned to the u)W
medical service for internal medicine. And then I was made i
chief of the medical service for approximately the last year /L,
or so. [It was] a little more fesponsAbility han I wanted,
but I had it. I did that for the whole time.
'P: When you say more rsponsibility does this mean more
paperwork or more administrative detail?
S: I was not as adequately trained or experienced at the time
as perhaps I should have been. It was a position that
someone more senior or with more experience would normally
P: What was your rank when you came out of the service?
P: Did you then stay in the reserves?
SP: So, you gave up youYJmilitary\career in 1948 forever?
P: What kind of cases would you have had?
S: ~Gneral y the types of illnesses that young healthy people
have. We were beginning to take care of some of the
dependents. I did that. I took care of some of the
families. I took care of the daughter of the commanding
general, for example, and some of the wives of the officers
and enlisted men [as well]. We had an influenza epidemic at
the time I was there. We had immunized too late to stop it.
During the time we were kept on our toes because in addition
c "i / 96 Ci C / C'
/ to the sickness with flu we had an outbreak of meningicocic
menningitis, which was potentially fatal with symptoms which
resembled the flu at its early [stages]. We did not lose
any of them. It was a big worry-- we had to watch the eight
people with flu to make sure they did not have meningitis,
and watch them rather carefully. When I went there we had
had an unusually large number of patients with rheumatic
fever. There was one whole ward, for example, that I took
care of, which was composed of people at various stages of
recovery from rheumatic fever, which is associated with
streptococcal infection. This was a very good experience
for a young physician to see. By and large, they were
people with minor illnesses with an occasional very serious
illness. They were medical illnesses of all kinds that
young people get.
J P: Did you have any responsibility in this hospital for the war
S: No. They were largely sent either to general hospitals or
transferred at that time to the developing veteran's
hospitals. At that time they made radical changes in way
the veteran's hospitals were run. They ceased to be old
soldiers' homes and became modern hospitals.. We had a few
wounded, of course, who were wounded in the every-day run of
things, but they were primarily in the surgical service.
P: But you were not really getting cases from the battlefields
yet--left over from the Pacific or from Europe.
S: No. This was not the type of hospital that would have done
so. Those were the army general hospitals, which were of
higher rank than ours. Ours was called a regional
[hospital]; the official designation was Regional Station
P: Dick, at this time there are great dramatic changes taking
place in medicine, are there not?
S: Very much so.
P: Were you the recipient of a lot of that? I mean, it is a
little bit before the polio business comes to a wonderful
end. But what about the other things?
S: I watched a lot of changes. Some of the disorders that I
took care of when I was an intern and medical student are
not seen often anymore. We thought we were going to get rid
of syphilis. We have not; it is increasing with people's
changes in behavior and multiple partners, and so on. But
we rarely see neurosyphilis anymore on a neurology _
but we do still see it. But it is such that somebody at my
age, who will have had more experience than any of the other
people on the faculty, even though there may be only ten
years difference in age. Because when I was an intern and
resident we saw a lot of neurosyphilis. Now we do not see
very much. There are great differences in the treatment of
infectious disease. The complications of hypertension are
very much less now because we have more satisfactory
treatment for hypertension. We are gradually having a
L reduction in the with stroke and even heart disease
from heart attacks. The number of people dying from
myocardial infarction, which is coronary thrombosis, is
reducing. There are not as many people having strokes, but
still too many. [Strokes are] still the second or third
largest cause of death. But it is much less than it used to
P: What impact did the 1940s have? Sulfa, penicillin--were
those the big things?
S: Penicillin came out in the 1940s and was hard to get for
civilXian work until after the war was over. It was mostly
reserved for the military. Sulfas had come along in the
late 1930s and early 1940s, and were a major standby in the
treatment of bacterial infections at the time. I was
present during the first administration of penicillin in
the state of Kentucky, for example. It was used in a young
person who had a form of rat-bite fever. It was from a rat
bite, and was caused by a particular organism that was
sensitive to penicillin. I remember the appearance of it:
a big vial with yellow crystals in it. They recovered the
penicillin from the urine and gave it again, because it was
such a precious entity.
P: Did you as a young doctor have to be on your toes all of the
time because of these changes, and having to incorporate
those into your own practice?
S: Well, the changes are continuing now, and are probably
accelerating right now. Some of the newer technology and
newer sciences which are coming along are fantastic. If we
look at the project which is the biological equivalent of
landing on a planet, I guess, the mapping of the human
genome. The aim of that, as I understand it, is to map each
gene in the entire array of chromosomes in a human being.
They will be able to know which gene causes which disease
and which trait very accurately. This is a many-billion-
dollar, many-year project which is going on. But the
technology is here and there is such an extreme amount of
work being done at a lot of different centers, with
different phases of government giving the major support for
P: How did you make the decision to go into the special area
that you have been associated with?
S: Of neurology? I made it because of a person named Ephziam
Roseman. He was hired as a neurology faculty member at
Louisville while I was away in the army. When I came back
to resume my training in internal medicine I came into
contact with him. I guess we had a love-hate relationship
from then on. He was a profound influence. At that
particular time I considered him the best teacher available.
[He was] also a very strong task-master. So after another
year and a half of internal medicine, I changed to neurology
largely influenced by his teaching. And I stayed in it.
P: What do you mean, love-hate relationship?
S: He was a very controlling individual [and was] not always
P: [Was he] abrasive?
S: He was very abrasive. On the other hand, I learned a great
deal from him. When it came time to assume a more grownup
position in life, I had to leave _______. So I both oweA
him a great debt and hated him at the same time.
P: Were you his lab assistant?
S: I was a resident and fellow in neurology, and subsequently
joined the junior faculty of Louisville. But then I could
see that I would never progress any further under him.
P: In what way did he influence you?
: Well, for awhile there, I thought he would tell me everything I
could do. It was mainly that he got me excited about neurology.
P: What excited you about neurology?
S: It was an area with a reputation of being a difficult
subject. It was not that difficult, not any more than
anything else. There were not very many neurologists at
that time in the country. I found it very interesting
because of the precision of localization that one could make
by knowing neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. I was
interested in the then-developing field of
electroencephalography, which I learned under him, at least
the beginnings of it.
P: What did that do? I am a lay person.
S: That means a recording of the electrical activity of the
brain, [taken] largely from the surface of the scalp, after
amplification. It writes out a bunch of squiggles, usually
on paper. Now we can record it digitally on optical disk or
on tape, but we still are using paper.
P: What do they tell you?
S: I guess the major use--not the exclusive use--is in
epilepsy. It allows us to understand epilepsy much more and
assists us in precision and the diagnosis of seizures,
seizure type and where it is. We can localize and sometimes
remove the focus by electroencephalographic techniques
guiding the surgeon. It is one of the fields that is
generally under the heading of clinical neurophysiology.
P: I noticed that epilepsy has been a special interest of
yours, both at Louisville and at Washington. Any special
S: This was one of the major interests of Dr. Roseman, who got
me into it, and I was engaged at Louisville in certain
Clinical ___research. Then when I had the opportunity
to leave to go to the University of Washington, I became
associated with Dr. Arthur Ward, who was a neurosurgeon and
neurophysiologist. He had been a Cel7,/a young and was
working in neurophysiology and then he became a
neurosurgeon. He continued the neurosurgery of epilepsy
and neurophysiology of epilepsy. With him and with others
at that university, I learned some of the neurophysiological
techniques experimentally in animals. [I] did some of the
early work with microelectrodes of single neurons in the
cerebral cortex in the artificial epilepsy of monkeys. It
continued on from what I had started clinically in
electroencephalography into electrophysiology, if you will,
at the University of Washington.
P: Why did you do this short stint at the University of
Cincinnati in psychiatry in 1951?
S: That was one of the best places in the world at that time to
get psychiatric training. MoLds Levine was the chairman of
the department, and he was an absolutely magnificent
teacher. I did not intend to be a psychiatrist, but I
wanted some experience in psychiatry and Dr. Roseman knew
him and helped arrange for me to go there for six months.
P: Is there a relationship between psychiatry and neurology?
S: There is because we both in one way or the other deal with
the brain. The brain is the organ of behavior, although we
look at it from a different way--both from the standpoint
that behavior is produced by disease of the brain and the
physiology of normal behavior--than psychiatrists do. The
specialty boards are combined, although they do not certify
in both for very many people. They certify in neurology or
in psychiatry. Relatively few people now have certification
in both. Historically, the two specialties developed
together, so that there were people who were psychiatrists
and neurologists or neurologists and psychiatrists. It
depends which you give primacy. In practice, there really
is no more of a relationship with psychiatry as a rule than
[there is between] psychiatry and internal medicine,
although we do have some overlapping concerns in terms of
neurobehavior. Maybe some of these are getting us back
closer together again as we are learning more about the
basic biology of human behavior [and] basic biochemistry,
the pharmacology of the anatomy of it. Much of what we know
has been learned in just the last few years.
P: Did this friendship you had with Roseman continue after you
S: Yes. We continued intermittent contact, usually at national
meetings. I went back at one time after he retired and
before he died. I went back to Louisville. All the
residents that he had had gathered together and had a little
Fe-xh__,__- as it were, for him. He gave us all hell again.
It caused a lot of memories to come back. From him, I
guess, I learned my first words of Yiddish. He used to
point to his head and say -Turhs every time I thought I
P: I hope somewhere along the line before he died you let him
know what an influence he had played on your life.
S: I think I did that well before that.
P: What about Levine?
S: He died. I think he became ill with a malignancy eight or
nine years after I left there. Maybe [it was] shorter than
that. He had a rather drawn out death. It was rather
painful. He was very fondly remembered, even though he was
only w7y 6// for six months and the other people in the
P: Did you go there under a fellowship?
S: I had a fellowship at the time from the NIH (I-thk-k)
through the University of Louisville and it continued paying
P: I remember you told me that grants and funding were more
liberal in those early years than they are now.
S: Roseman had made an application on my behalf for a
fellowship. He read the fine printing on a new fellowship
program that was designed mostly for people in psychiatry.
But he saw that it might be for neurology. At the time,
they did not have a neurological institute. He got one of
these. It did not name me necessarily and then appointed me
to it. It had the magnificent pay of $10,000 a year, which
the university thought was too much. So I was allowed to
get $5,000 a year on that post-residency fellowship.
P: The business of generous salaries and income for medical
people has continued right down until 1992, according to the
Gainesville Sun. [laughter]
S: Right. I never made as much as some of those people did.
P: Now you stayed on at Louisville until 1954.
S: I left at the end of 1953, yes.
P: You then went to the University of Washington. Why?
S: It was a new school, developing a very strong reputation. I
wanted at that time to continue academic life. I wanted to
get more experience in hands-on research in a more research-
oriented institution. Dr. Ward, who was the chief of
neurosurgery, had been in Louisville for awhile. Another
friend, a man named Eldon FPoks, had gone there in
neurosurgery as a member of the faculty. He was a close
friend. I established a contact. They were interested in a
clinical epilepsy program and I was brought out to be
responsible for that at a seizure clinic and also to do work
in neurology with time to work in the laboratory.
P: Were you reluctant to leave Louisville, or did you just
decide this was a new area that you needed to get into?
S: I was reluctant to leave Louisville, but I realized that I
had to do it.
P: Louisville was no longer able to meet your needs?
S: I do not think I could have lived in the same town as Dr.
P: Wow. He did have a strong influence on you. [laughter]
S: He subsequently agreed, when he visited me here once, that
it was the best thing I ever did.
P: In the meantime, was Betty teaching during the period of the
1940s and 1950s?
S: She taught up until I think about the time when I went to
Cincinnati. [That is] when she stopped teaching.
P: What was she teaching?
S: She taught primary grades--third and fourth grades.
P: Did she like it?
S: She liked it.
P: So then she became a housewife. Can I use that word?
S: I guess. Yes.
P: [laughter] I am not so sure how safe that word is.
S: I think the word is partners.
P: I was going to say [that] I am not quite sure how to use the
terminology today. Anyway, she left that. She never went
back to teaching, did she?
S: No. She had thought about it for a while, and actually here
in Gainesville she was interested in doing something else
and did do some substitute teaching before we moved to
P: But [she did] not [teach] in Seattle.
S: Not in Seattle.
P: And you made the move to Seattle when?
S: We got there right after January 1, 1954.
P: Did you already have the children? I have forgotten.
S: VlYii was with us at that time. She was less than a year
old when we traveled to Seattle.
P: So it was no traumatic change, then, for the children.
P: They did not have to give up school and friends and that
sort of thing, so you did not at least have that as a block
in terms of making a decision.
You were not at all unhappy, as you reflected on it later,
about leaving Louisville?
S: I liked Louisville. We had very many friends there. Yes,
we were unhappy [about leaving Louisville], but we were very
happy with Seattle.
P: [It is] a beautiful city?
S: [It is] a beautiful city [with] a very strong university
[and] a very strong medical environment, anrd--a-very-
e itiagoneuildfg. It was a new school.
P: Dr. Ward was there.
S: He was there and other people that I met. We continue to
keep in contact once in awhile.
P: Is there anything that we ought to add? Any interesting
S: We spoke about sports and [the fact that] I am addicted to
golf, but never have been terribly good. I was a little
better than I am now. One of the problems of getting a
little bit older [is] one's golf is not as good as it used
P: But that passion came on . .
S: Largely after coming to Gainesville. But I had played a
little bit before. My father took up golf once in awhile
when he got older. He was much better than I ever was.
P: What about the things that you and Betty liked to do for fun
in Louisville and Washington? Were you theater people?
S: We did a lot of things in theater. We attended musical
things. We subsequently got involved in theater in
Syracuse. Betty was very involved with it there. We had a
very good professional theater there, too. They had
auxiliary organizations and Betty was very active in them.
We were attendees at theater and enjoyed it in Washington.
The University of Washington had a very good program in
theater. [It is] one of the things they have been noted for
in the past.
One of the things we both enjoyed was hiking and camping.
We used to go out tenting with the children, even when they
P: When did you take on this interest in photography?
S: When I was a kid, I thought that I could be the world's
greatest photographer. My sister got me an Argus camera and
I built a little darkroom. Then, for my fiftieth birthday,
I was given a very nice camera by my family as a birthday
present. We were hiking in the woods and I decided now that
I had a nice camera, I should start taking pictures of
wildflowers and learning the names and classifications. One
thing led to another and I spent ten times as much as they
did on the camera for equipment to go with it to take close-
ups of wildflowers and merging of a couple of things that I
had a little background in. I learned more about
photography then. I carried my equipment on my back when I
went hiking, or along the roadside, or anywhere.
P: Did you become the world's greatest photographer?
S: I had a lot of fun with it, but I did not quite become the
world's greatest photographer.
P: I am really asking about the area that you are in. I know
that you were doing a lot of this for fun, but were you a
good photographer of wildflowers?
S: I got a prize. One of my pictures was on a calendar. A
newspaper published a few of them, which resulted in
somebody from Arizona wanting to buy one.
P: Then you were successful.
S: So I charged what it cost me to have the print made. So I
was professional, I guess, at that time.
P: During those earlier years, were you and Betty able to
travel? Was that an interest of yours in the 1940s and
S: Not so much in the 1940s and 1950s. We did travel more
later on, after getting into a variety of organizations. We
traveled much around the United States, of course. Then I
got interested in relationships with the Latin American
neurologists and the Pan American body of neurologists and
was in charge of the program several years. We traveled
extensively in South America and Mexico. We have been to
Europe a few times [on trips that were] also associated with
P: Did your photography enthusiasm take you out on those kinds
S: No, not really. We took cameras for snapshots.
P: But you were not like a birdwatcher, going off into foreign
climes to see wildflowers.
S: We spent the better part of a day looking at preserved birds
in Sao Paulo with a famous Brazilian ornithologist. It was
a planned meeting for another individual who was with me.
He was an enthusiast for ornithology and had asked for this
to be done. Unfortunately, he had gone out the night before
and had a bad hangover. I will not say his name. I was the
one who went. They had also taken me to a magnificent
biological institute where I spent a delightful number of
hours with a curator of their orchids. They had acres of
orchids growing under latticework.
P: During these early formative years when you were moving into
medicine and then moving into your own special area, other
than Dr. Roseman and the little bit that you were associated
with Dr. Levine, who else played a major role in your life?
S: There were a lot of people. In medical school, there were
several who stand out, one perhaps above all others. He was
a pathologist named A. J. Miller. I do not know what the A.
J. was for, but everybody called him Frosty. He had great
influence on me as a teacher and subsequently as a friend.
He is long since dead, but I remember him with great
affection. The dean of the medical school had a strong
influence on me. He was also the chairman of the department
of medicine. Deans, at that time, were part time. His name
was John Walker Moore. He was a very stern disciplinarian
with a sense of humor whom I remember with great fondness.
I had the honor of being resident on the ward that he
supervised. It was somewhat competitive to get onto that.
He was a great teacher and a marvelous man. There were
others when I was in medical school that influenced me
P: Were there people in your family, other than your parents,
who played a role?
S: [I was] never very close to other members of the family. My
mother's family I scarcely knew. I knew her sister. All
her other brothers and sisters had died early. Her mother,
my grandmother, had died well before I was born. My
grandfather, her father, I never saw. He died when I was
eleven years old. He was in his nineties. I knew my family
on my father's side better. They lived in Connecticut and
we visited once in awhile. I spent some time on my
grandfather's farm milking cows and doing chores a couple of
summers. But I got to know them better than the other side.
But [there was] no real influence on my career. My father
was the only member of his family who went on to higher
P: Once your father got over the shock that you were
scholastically able to get through medical school, you and
he worked together?
S: We got along very well. I think he was very proud of me in
a rather amusing way, I guess. Early-"i-ey-motherJs
mintie pr-oess-when-she-had--A-l-zheime r--Ls~--had-been
promoted here .to_ professorial- rank. -,-Iwas _xerypro-ud o [ _My
fatherx--was-proud-.of me.- I had waited untiL-~_got-home- to
tell them about it. I had done so when wew,.ere in the
living room in our home. He was beaming,-which -I-was
pleased by.. I was about 'forty years old, maybe.alittle,
arey-ou,-goi-ng- to-do-vwhen-y ou-grow--up?:-"--[-l-aughter ],
P: You-hav e never_ quiteo-forgotten--that-.--[-laughter] --I-am,-not
quite sure you have forgiven her-for-that-. You have had a
very satisfactory and happy life, I gather.
S: I think so.
P: All things considered, with all the ups and downs.
S: We all have ups and downs. We all have failures and
P: Did your sister play any kind of a role at all or did she
die too young?
S: We got together and became very good friends after we both
were fairly established. We had not been terribly close
when we were younger. There was a little difference in age.
But we were not childhood enemies by any means. We became
very close in the 1950s and so on. We visited back and
forth. She and her family came to Seattle when we lived
there, during one of their trips back to this country. They
lived in South America. Then, when my brother-in-law
retired the first time, they moved to Florida, and we
visited frequently. Their children came and spent part of
their vacations with us.
P: But it was basically a family relationship.
S: We were very close. But it was more a family relationship
than anything else.
P: So she did not influence you from a professional point of
P: [In the narrative before we digressed you had left
Louisville and went] to the University of Washington. Where
is the University?
S: In Seattle. It is a great school. It is very prominent
among American universities and of course, the medical
college and health center there are very prominent.
P: And of course, it is a beautiful community.
S: It is very nice. We were back there this October, and maybe
[we were] a bit homesick. I could still find some things.
P: Could you? It had not grown that much so that you could not
find some landmarks. What did you do at the University at
S: I was assistant professor both of neurology and
neurosurgery. I went there to work in the laboratory of a
man in neurosurgery, Dr. Ward, and had an appointment in
neurology. So I had a combined appointment which came on
about a year after I got there. I ran a small epilepsy
program. Dr. Ward was interested in epilepsy surgery and I
learned to assist him in the electrophysiological recordings
we did during surgery. I had an epilepsy clinic at the
Harber-Vew County Hospital, which is now the HarborStiew
Medical Center of the University of Washington. I had a
little referral clinic at the University before the
University hospital was built, which was supported by the
Easter Seal Society. I saw a few private patients [and] I
taught. I took a stint in the neurology clinics and I was
an attending [physician] on the ward at the hospital.
P: I gather [that] Washington was a larger, more prestigious
school than Louisville.
S: Very much so. It was new, but it was more prestigious.
They had gathered together a truly outstanding faculty to
start it. They had people like Robert Williams (not the
same one who came here, but a different one), who was a very
prominent endocrinologist, internist, [and] the chairman of
the department of medicine. [They had a] very prominent
chairman of surgery. They had vigorous, upcoming young
faculty members whom they were able to recruit and identify.
Some of the people they identified during training have
become major figures in American medicine. The man they
/ identified as first in neurology was there when I got there.
We became close friends. Fred moved onto Cornell, and
he is a major figure in world neurology now.
P: Where did its financial support come from?
S: [The] state.
P: Was the federal government already moving in [to the.
S: It was beginning to move in. Research grants became quite
easy to get. They were less competitive than they are now,
and it was less controlled [as to] what you could do with
the money and [there was] less reporting. It was kind of a
happy time in getting support for research.
P: Was Washington more research-oriented than Louisville?
S: Very much so. [Washington was] very strongly research-
oriented. Louisville was just getting started in building
up a research base in a more modern way. It has come a long
P: Was the research emphasis something that attracted you?
S: It was. I wanted to learn more about it. I. wanted to get
more experience with it. I wanted to have more meaningful
contact with a stronger academic program.
P: I know that you have a sizable publications list. Did it
begin in these early years?
S: It began when I was at Louisville. I did not have any
direct experimental laboratory experience until I got to
Seattle. We were working at that time on
microneurophysiology using microelectrodes looking at single
cells in the cerebral cortex predominantly in epileptic
monkeys. We were among the first to do that kind of work.
P: You said earlier that you did not want to go into private
practice. Why [not]? That certainly was a much more
lucrative kind of thing, was it not?
S: It certainly was. It certainly is now, too. I think I have
had a good life without as much money. I was more attracted
to the academic life. I can remember--going back to my
student years--that I never really was strongly oriented
toward going into private practice. I liked the idea of
being a teacher, even before I knew what it would be.
P: And of course, your father had been a teacher.
S: My father influenced me on this, I think.
P: Has the drive for money never been a major part of your
S: From what I have done, I think you would have to say it has
not been. Almost every job I have taken has been at a lower
rate of salary than the one I left.
P: You have lived a comfortable life, but you never necessarily
wanted to amass wealth. Am I saying that right?
S: That is correct. I like a comfortable life, and if I had a
few million dollars, I would like that, too.
P: Well, of course. [laughter] All of us would like that,
naturally. We all want to win the lottery, do we not? Even
if we do not play the lottery, we all want to win the
lottery. [laughter] How long were you in Washington?
S: I was there [for] five years.
P: This business of not going into private practice-- was there
no family pressure on the part of Betty or anybody to
encourage you to do that [go into private practice]?
S: I think my mother was always a little bit surprised. She
had the idea that a doctor opened up an office and started
seeing patients. I remember when I was promoted to the rank
of professor [we went to visit my mother]. She spent the
final fourteen or fifteen years of her life declining
.mentally, beginning around the time of our visit. We were
sitting in the living room of my parents' home. My father
was quite proud of the fact that I had been promoted to
professor. My mother looked at me and said,. "Richard, what
are you going to do when you grow up?" [laughter] [She
said that] in all seriousness.
P: She was waiting for you to mature. You were in Washington
for five years--from what year to what year?
S: From 1953 until 195/. I came here in October of 1957.
P: What made you decide to leave Washington and come to
[Florida], a frontier state in terms of medicine, and to a
brand-new medical school?
S: Well, Washington was the same way. I got there a little bit
later than I did at Florida.
P: Who recruited you?
S: Sam Martin. I heard about Florida from a man I mentioned
earlier, Dr. Eldon -Potks, a neurosurgeon, who was recruited
here in neurosurgery. He and Dr. [George Thomas] Harrell
did not get along, for some reason.
P: Was he [Perks] here before Woodward?
S: No. Woodward was recruiting him. So he [PoaTE] did not
come, but he extolled the virtues of [the University] to me.
We were close friends, and he said it was a marvelous place.
I was at the stage of academic ambition, and wanted to be
the chief of neurology somewhere, sometime. There was
another close friend of Sam Martin, they were Markle
scholars together, who was a good friend of mine at Seattle,
named Bill Kirby. He was an internist, not a neurologist.
Sam Martin and he were at a position of considerable honor
at the time. As Markle scholars together they got to know
each other well. Kirby'told Sam about me and talked to me
about coming to Gainesville, and I was invited for
P: So Sam Martin was from Gainesville. Where was Kirby?
S: At the University of Washington.
P: He started talking to you, and then Martin approached you?
S: Correct. I had made the firm decision several weeks before
that I was not going to leave Seattle. I was going to stay
there. My firm decision was like certain other firm
decisions, and a month or so later I decided to come here.
P: Did Washington try to hold on to you?
S: I think so, yes.
P: What had you heard about the University of Florida's medical
S: I heard that it was gathering together an exciting group of
people, that it was something new, something in which there
was an opportunity to be in the ground floor of developing a
P: It should have been a very challenging thing for a young
P: It was very challenging. I was fascinated by my visits to
Florida. I came in June, and it was unbearably hot. Sam
Martin had a house which was not air-conditioned at the
time. There was a group of people together out there, and
we were out on the porch of the same house that Ruth is now
living in. There was a lot of noise out in the swamp or
little lake (which I guess is filled in now by pollution and
overgrowth). There were what I now recognize as bullfrogs
[making all of the noise], but he told me they were
alligators. That fascinated me a great deal. After I came
here I told somebody else that there were alligators out
there and Sam said, "You don't know the difference between a
bullfrog and an alligator." [laughter]. But he was the one
who told me that.
I met people that I liked a great deal, and I thought that
it would be exciting and-nice to work with them. It was an
opportunity to develop a program in neurology. The people
who were here at that time were Lamar Crevasse, who was
recruited to be chief resident, a kind of super-chief
/ resident' Jase Taylor, who is still here, is a
cardiologist; he was organizing cardiology. Bill Stead, who
left before I did, was one of the original group in
pulmonary medicine. He had a brother, Eugene Stead, who is
one of the prominent physicians in America and chairman of
the Department of Medicine at Duke. Billy Thomas had been
in practice here [but] had gone off on a fellowship with the
intention of going into academic medicine. He had the
opportunity to come back and organize a program in
endocrinology. These were people that I found very
attractive and very stimulating. We were essentially peers.
I guess I was older than some; Billy Thomas is many years
older than I am, of course, [or at least] a few. It was an
exciting thing to start things together. Sam Martin had
some very exciting ideas, and I found him to be a very
exciting person to work under, prospectively and
retrospectively. I only barely met Dr. Harrell at the time.
I got to know him a little bit. I met some of the people in
the basic sciences. I remember meeting Ernie Wright at the
time. Ernie was a neurophysiologist. Don Goodman, who was
here in neuroanatomy as a junior faculty member,
subsequently became chairman. He was subsequently one of my
vice presidents in Syracuse.
P: Was it a big jolt to leave Seattle and come to [Florida]?
S: It was. My wife went along with it very happily. She loved
Seattle. People contacted her before we left and said,
"Don't you want to stay with us until he gets his senses?"
We had had several examples of people going off, staying six
weeks, and deciding that they wanted to come back. The man
I mentioned earlier, Kirby, had gone to be chairman of the
department of medicine at Indiana. He stayed a couple of
months and came back to Seattle. Seattle was not an easy
place to leave. It was a very wonderful environment.
Academically it was as stimulating as it could be, and
developed into one of the top two or three research medical
schools in the country. And it was very stimulating to come
P: I guess, though, that Seattle has to be called a more
attractive city than Gainesville, even though Gainesville is
S: I have never really made that comparison. Gainesville
certainly has no mountains, which were very attractive, and
no sea, which I love. But you can get to it very easily
[from here]. We get hotter [here] in the summer.
P: Where did you live in Gainesville?
S: We rented our first house on Northwest 7th Lane, right next
to the Weimers [Ray and Ruth]. Then we bought a little
house in Golfview. After that we wanted a bigger house and
a swimming pool, so we bought a house on Northwest 31st
Terrace, which happens to be next door to the house that
Ellie and I are living in now.
P: Oh, really? [laughter]. So you have had three residences
in Gainesville, all in the general area of the Northwest
[section of town].
S: Yes, but when we came back in 1984 we bought a house in
P: You had two children when you arrived in Gainesville, right?
P: Where did they go to school?
S: P. K. Yonge [Laboratory School].
P: And you moved right into the operation at Shands. Where was
S: My office was on the fourth floor of the medical college
building. The office is now the [site of the] department of
P: What was your position when you came here?
S: I was associate professor and chief of the division of
neurology in the department of medicine.
P: Had there been anybody who predated you here, or did you set
the department up?
S: I set it up. It was not a department at the time, it was a
section in medicine. It actually became a department after
I left, when I was in Syracuse.
P: Who was the dean of the medical school then?
S: George Harrell.
P: How did you and Dean Harrell get along?
S: We got along very well. I have tremendous respect for him.
I know some of his foibles and prejudices and so on, but he
is a very, very dedicated and exciting man. [He is] a
builder and a recruiter. He is excited with ideas, and is
still excited about what he is doing. He is studying the
history of [Sir William] Osler [Canadian physician and
author, 1849-1919] and finding out little-known things about
P: Harrell told me that, in selecting the faculty, he went out
of his way to find "young" men, who were just on the cutting
edge of becoming major figures in their fields, and that
whatever achievements that they would have as a result of
their research and teaching activity would bring luster to
the University of Florida and to its medical school. As you
look back on it, was that the way things worked out?
S: I think that things worked out that way to a great extent.
We certainly had some people who were younger than I was
even, who were very major figures and had much more
accomplishment than I did. Dick Smith, for example, came
here in pediatrics. He was young, under thirty-five, when
he was made department chairman. Harry Prystowsky was the
same, in obstetrics and gynecology. Dick Smith, of course,
stayed here. Scientifically, he is extremely well-
recognized and very strong. When George Harrell left Penn
[University of Pennsylvania], Harry Prystowsky went up there
to be dean.
P: And now he is retired and living in Miami.
S: I wonder why all these young people retire.
P: He enjoys it. He loves lying on the beach and walking on
the beach and sitting around the swimming pool. They are
[my] friends, and I have done an interview with Harry and I
have done one recently with Dick Smith. So I am kind of
picking up the history of everybody along the line.
How were your lab facilities?
S: Almost nonexistent at the time. When I was here and by mail
[it was communicated to me that] there was a room which had
not been supplied with laboratory furniture yet. I was
asked to provide what I wanted in it. So I thought that was
being done, but apparently it could not be. When I got here
it was a chemistry lab rather than a physiology lab, as far
as .an experimental laboratory was concerned, which was even
more expensive than I had wanted. When I came here, I
wanted to use monkeys in my experiments, and I was bringing
research grants with me. I found that somebody else had
monkeys in the place where I was going to have mine. We
wound up compromising and sharing.
I had a big office, [but] I did not have a secretary at
first. I hired an electroencephalography technician from
Seattle to come here. We set that up for the hospital and
the clinical work. And then I had the opportunity to begin
some recruiting. I was able to get a training grant which
allowed me to pay faculty and some trainees. We got
together a program for neurology residency, and got that
approved, and appointed two residents right away. One went
through chief residency here, and the other one was a man
with a Ph.D. in psychology who graduated here. He got an
M.D. and was a natural to come into neurology. I thought he
was headed for academic work. He is a very successful
practitioner in the Palm Beach area now. But the facilities
developed. Neurology does not now materially have any more
space than it did when I left. -e-g tC .
P: But dollars were not much of a problem then, were they?
S: Yes, they'were a problem, but I do not think we saw them as
big of a problem [as we do now]. It was easier to get
research grants and training grants at the time, so that
anybody who had a very strong, reasonable proposal could
probably get a grant. They were not as big, but a $25,000 a
year grant was a big grant in those days.
P: Did you have patients?
S: Yes, right from the very beginning. There were no other
neurologists within a whoop and a holler from here. There
were none in Jacksonville, for example. There were some
neurosurgeons there. There was one neurologist in Tampa who
was practicing a little bit of psychiatry and a little bit
of neurology who subsequently gave up the psychiatry.
Somebody came to St. Petersburg not long after that.
Orlando had a man in neurology who had taken it up as kind
of a sideline, [but he had] no formal training in neurology.
As far as being a full-time neurologist I think I was the
only one north of Fort Lauderdale.
So there were lots of referrals?
It was an immediate service. I had more than I could
Was the hospital already open when you arrived?
The hospital was in the process of opening. We had no beds
open the day that I arrived; they were supposed to have been
open before that. We were seeing patients in a small clinic
area. Everybody used the same clinic area. There were not
very many of us, not even enough to fill the parking lot.
Then we opened up a ward on the fourth floor and everybody
shared it when the patients came in. We had pediatric
patients and some surgical patients. Most of the operating
rooms were not open. Some of the x-rays were initially done
downtown, in Dr. Da4,e-s office. We did some of the x-rays
over in the laboratories in the department of medicine,
where they had a cath lab for experimental work. So we
started a hospital.
P: Did you have residents and interns working with you from the
S: We had residents and interns starting out right away. They
had recruited them early on. Sam Martin had especially
recruited people, like Lamar Crevasse, whom he had known
before. Lamar, as he said, thought he was coming here as a
faculty member but then he learned that he was chief
resident. He was somewhat overqualified for his post. A
man named Bill Pickett was the second chief resident in
medicine. He had been at Duke, and Sam had known him there.
He became the resident in neurology. He finished his
neurology residency with me. He was subsequently killed in
a plane crash. So I started the neurology program with
residents very early, as quickly as I could get them.
P: Are children impacted by neurological problems?
S: Yes, very much so.
P: So you would have had that [the treatment of children] as
S: I saw children at that time. Later on, I helped to recruit
Mel Greer, who came here in the department of pediatrics
with an appointment in neurology, as a child neurologist.
When I became chairman of medicine I asked Mel to take over
the division of neurology that evolved into a department of
neurology, of which he is still the chairman.
P: I see. So that is its development. One of the concepts
that Dean Harrell had, and I guess Sam had also, was the
close relationship between the medical school and the main
campus. Not only the physical proximity but [in terms of]
students and faculty and so on. That was certainly
different than Louisville, and I guess different than
S: Very different than Louisville, and it was present to a
certain extent at Washington. We were on the edge of the
main campus. We were socially involved with the rest of the
university, which was an important involvement, by the way.
We made use of the facilities on the campus, and we did
share some programs in the sciences and also in the
humanities. For example, I had a student who worked with me
one summer who also worked with a professor of history.
P: You are talking about Washington, correct?
S: Yes. So we did have some of that there. It was
nonexistent, as far as I was concerned, at Louisville.
P: What about when you got to Gainesville?
S: There was a lot of talk about it, and there was some reality
about it. George Harrell made a point of getting people who
were not connected with the medical school on the admissions
committee [and] making the decisions on who would be
admitted, which I think was a good idea. I think it worked
rather well too, as far as I know.
P: Is that still a continuing thing?
S: I do not know whether it is or not. I had contacts in the
department of psychology with Bernie Webb. I did some
teaching on the campus on occasion. We had people who were
from non-medical school campus departments who did teaching
with us and who engaged with us on the concerns of students.
We had conferences on such things as ethics. Students are
always concerned about death and dying and their own
relationship to it, and their moral responsibility for the
dying patient, how far they should go, what is life, what is
death, [and so on]. We had some very good participation
with people on the campus with that; even Harry Philpott
[vice president, University of Florida] came down and helped
us with one of the conferences. He came down as a person
from the background of religious [studies].
P: And, of course, Sam Banks was the chaplain [of the health
Did you have any committee responsibilities on the campus?
S: I was on the honorary degree committee of the senate, I
believe. A lot of my committees were at the medical school
itself. That is the only one I remember offhand.
P: But socially you and your wife were part of the whole
S: I think so.
P: So your friends did not necessarily just come from the
S: Oh no, not at all.
P: What kind of a social life did you lead in Gainesville?
S: It was quite active. We had good friends who were in
various walks of life, both within the University and
without the University.
We had a lot of things connected to what our children were
doing at P.K. Yonge. My daughter played the piano for some
of their plays and musical things, and we went to them. She
also starred in Oliver; she was Oliver. We did a lot of
things with them at that time. We were engaged in the
things in the community.
P: Were you a golfer or a tennis player?
S: I like to call myself a golfer, and I still play golf. I
did play tennis, but I cannot anymore.
P: Richard, I would like you to talk about your research
activities, because they become much more voluminous and
involved after you get to Gainesville.
S: In all candor, I would like to state that I do not consider
myself a major researcher at all. I did some research work,
I did some laboratory work, I have done some reporting and
some writing. I wrote a book with Joe Wilder's assistance
that was a very popular book at the time on epilepsy. It is
way out of date now. I edited or helped to edit a couple
So I think I did a respectable amount of intellectual-
medical work, but not [any] great fundamental contributions
to the science of medicine. I think I made some
contributions but I would not consider myself a major
investigator. After I got myself occupied in administrative
work, that largely went by the wayside, although I did
participate in some work even when I was a dean or a college
president. I helped to edit a book which I am very proud of
on the pharmacology of antiepileptic drugs, and also one on
secondary epileptogenesis, which is still a very hot topic
and the articles in that book are still quoted rather
widely. But I would not consider myself a major
experimenter. I did a small amount of what I think is
P: If you had to classify yourself, would you call yourself a
practicing physician--a patient's physician?
S: I think I would consider myself an academic physician.
Practice is part of that, teaching is part of it. I have
enjoyed teaching as much as I have anything else.
P: So you were on the wards.
S: Yes. [I was] on the wards, teaching, taking responsibility
for patients. But there was a long period of time when I
did not do that, when I was in pure administration.
P: When did you begin to become involved in this administrative
responsibility, which has really played a major role in your
S: It has, and it is something I never saw myself as doing. At
its roots, I guess it really [began] when I became chief of
neurology here. When Sam Martin decided to be provost,
George Harrell asked me to be acting chairman of the
department. I had no intention and no desire to be chairman
of the department of medicine at the time.
P: But you became professor of medicine in 1961 and chairman of
the department in the following year.
S: Yes, that was when Sam Martin left to become provost.
Interestingly enough, we in the department, myself included,
wanted Lee Cluff at that time to become chairman. He and
George Harrell did not get along. George did not get along
with everybody. So he was not appointed, and he would not
have come, I think, under the circumstances. They did not
reach an agreement. I still had no idea of being the
chairman of the department of medicine. George came to see
me one Sunday morning, at home, and put it out to me. He
said, "I want you to be chairman of the department of
medicine." Well, it is a big and important job, and I tried
to say no. I took it with my eyes open. I did not take it
just because he said it.
P: Why did you try to say no?
S: I did not have myself visualized as being in administration.
But I must admit that I was attracted to it when I had the
opportunity, and I do not regret having done it. Then,
after about three years of that I thought that probably the
chairmanship of the department of medicine should be
somebody more core in internal medicine, rather than
somebody in one of the fields within the department, which
often is another department entirely. I actually had
planned at that time to go to Baylor. I was offered the
chairmanship of the department of neurology at Baylor, and
had more or less accepted it, but not definitely.
Had you gone up for an interview?
I had gone for interviews several times. Betty and I had
talked about it, and I had told them that I was inclined to
It was a pretty big job. It was a career advancement.
Baylor was a superbly funded medical school, with what I
thought was all of the space in the world; space was a
problem at the time. [It offered] the opportunity of doing
a lot of big things.
Space was already a problem here?
Oh, yes. At that time, Manny Suter talked to me [and] Sam
Martin talked to me. It wound up that I agreed to stay. I
was made associate dean and chief of staff of the hospital.
Why did you decide to stay?
I do not know the answer to that. I guess, like Satchel
Paige [African-American baseball player, 1920s-1950s], you
do'not look back. If you look back too much, somebody might
be catching you.
There are a couple of places that I almost went, but decided
to stay. One was Rochester, which I told you about earlier.
Another one was Baylor. I had been approached about certain
other things, but I was rather interested in Baylor. I got
along well with the dean there (I am blocking on his name
right now), and he subsequently became the first dean at the
Mayo medical school. I was a little bit frightened by
/ DeBaic e, I did not think that I could get along with him.
P: What is I3eBeae's full name?
S: Michael DeBa ke. He was at that time chairman of surgery.
I could see in interview with him that he was headed to be
the controlling factor of the school, and he became that.
P: And a major national and even international figure.
S: Right. I decided that I would not like to be on the same
faculty with him. That was one of the reasons that I did
not go, and one of the reasons that I stayed here and became
associate dean. After I did that for a while, the new V.A.
hospital was here which needed the academic affiliation, and
I moved over here as chief of staff.
P: So you were here when Harrell left; were you involved in
that situation at all?
S: I was a department chairman and we met with George [Harrell]
frequently and he told his side of everything to us. He and
Sam Martin were increasingly . estranged, shall we say?
P: I have Sam Martin on tape, too. [laughter] So I have both
sides for the scholar to come along and evaluate at some
S: Either one of them would turn red in the face at mention of
what the other one wanted. It was a little uncomfortable
P: Were both of them good for the University?
S: Both of them had very strong good points. I think that, as
I have serious weaknesses, both of them had this; I do not
know any good people that do not have feet of clay. I think
that they were both very strong and very good people.
George Harrell was a builder, with tremendous enthusiasm.
Sam was a person with ideas; in a way, [he was] a terrible
administrator. He would get the ideas and then [get] other
people to carry them out. [He was] a very exciting man with
very exciting ideas, I might say. But they clashed. I was
not aware that George was leaving. He informed us one day
that he was taking the job at Hershey [Medical School].
P: As a chairman of a very important, perhaps the most
important, department, you had to sit on the fence in the
duel between these two?
S: Not very much. At the time, the faculty and the chairmen
were so loyal to George Harrell. One of his strengths was
his support of the chairmen and their position. We felt a
very great sense of loyalty to George; I think I can still
feel it. We had this very high degree of respect for him,
even though we might not agree with his ideas. He was a
very strong dean with respect to the department chairmen.
We almost would have picked up our bags and gone with him.
At the time I think Sam had his mind, or parts of it,
somewhere else. He was looking forward to getting more into
the study of economics, administration, the bigger picture
studies, the London School of Economics, Harvard, University
of Pennsylvania, and so forth, which he subsequently did.
So we were very loyal to George, with the highest degree of
respect for him. We were very fond of him, too. We might
recognize some of his foibles and joke about them and know
them, and not tell him about some things so he would not get
angry. We would go ahead and do them anyway.
P: Do you see Harrell?
S: I see him once in a while, I see him when he comes back here
P: Does he still have his place at Ponte Vedra?
S: I do not know.
P: How did you and Suter relate?
S: Very well; we are still very close friends.
P: Is he back?
S: He is back now, taking charge of the self-study program for
accreditation, which is an exercise we go through every ten
years in a fully approved school.
P: Is he back here in Gainesville permanently?
S: He is coordinating that. I think Jo is still up there,
because the market for selling houses in the Washington area
has gone down. They move back and forth. He has an
apartment here temporarily.
P: Maybe he will re-acquire that beautiful house he had over
there on Tenth. [laughter] That was an interesting house,
S: The one they have now is not too dissimilar. It is somewhat
P: When I interviewed him in Washington I interviewed him in
his office, not at the house, so I did not get a chance to
see Jo at that particular time. I gather that right from
the very beginning you really enjoyed administration, and
right off you committed yourself to that.
S: I did, but I never saw myself as going much further with it.
I started going back from it at times.
P: But you moved from chairman up to associate dean. It seems
to me that you kept moving up to the situation.
S: I did. Maybe I was obeying the [Peter] Principle: I was
being raised to my highest rank of incompetence.
P: [laughter] Not necessarily. Obviously not, if institutions
like Baylor and Rochester and so on were doing all of that
recruiting on you. Why did you leave? You had an
opportunity earlier and you turned it down and now you
S: I went to Syracuse to be interviewed to be dean of the
medical school there, and I think it was at the behest of
some people who had been here and gone there. The State
University of New York was relatively young; it had come
into being only in 1950. [It] had taken over some existing
institutions and had built some others that were d'nouveaux
y.] institutions--too much, I must add.
P: What kind of institutions?
S: D'nouveaux. They say, "I am going to build a major
university. Give me that farm behind over there and I will
do it right there." That was the kind of thing.
P: You said "d'nouveaux," and I was wondering what that meant.
S: At Albany, for example, they built a brand-new campus, a
magnificent one. [They did the] same thing at Stony Brook.
P: Is that why they have so many fiscal problems today?
S: Well, part of it, maybe. I ran into the fiscal problems
which started right after I got there, I do not think I
caused them all.
P: So you went up for an interview.
S: I went up to interview and I took the job as dean of the
P: You liked what you saw.
S: I liked what I saw. I saw an opportunity to do something.
Not everything I thought that I could do did I do, or not
very much of it, I guess.
P: Did you feel that you had finished everything that you
wanted to do here?
S: I do not know that I ever defined, "That is what I want to
do." 1pareair-In _t~ap 1 pAJ been Ce 0 vf d 'N 5 ('V1 PM AVI-S hfXcZ
We put together a new curriculum. When I was associate
dean, I was chairman of the Educational Policies Program
Committee, I think we called it. I was on the initial
committee for the planning of the expansion of the medical
school and the [construction] of the building which included
the dental college. I guess there was a bit of looking for
new pastures or a change. I had been here for twelve years
at the time, which was about as long as I had been anywhere.
P: But you had put down some strong roots in Gainesville, had
S: I had put down some strong roots, and we kept some of those
roots as we went hither and yon. [We] came back relatively
frequently to visit with people and for other reasons.
P: Was it a big break for your family to leave Gainesville?
S: Initially, it was. My wife's mother had come to live with
us at the time. She came from Akron, Ohio. She liked
living back [in New York]. Syracuse looked more like [the
environment] she was used to. It looked more like Akron.
She was more familiar with the surroundings. She liked the
move. My daughter had a way of looking at things that [was
positive]. She was going to be in a very much larger high
school in suburban Syracuse, and that would give her a step
of experience, while still in the nest, of meeting new
people and going to a big institution. [This] would serve
as a bridge to go to the university. She was going into the
twelfth grade. My son was not a very studious individual,
even then, and I think [the move] did not change what he
would have done otherwise. My wife got heavily involved in
things in Syracuse. [She was] even more heavily involved in
community affairs than she had [been involved in] here. She
was involved in a woman's group which supported a center for
elderly people where they could come every day and get
recreation and a meal or two. She was on the board of that
organization. She was on the board of the Syracuse Stage.
She was in a number of different things. She was very
active in the religious society there, the Universalist
church. So I think all in all, she enjoyed Syracuse. She
did not look forward to moving from here, but she moved in
good grace. Then [she] thoroughly enjoyed it. I think she
left Syracuse to come back here somewhat reluctantly.
P: Did the University of Florida make a strong effort to hold
S: I would say an effort was made. I do not know how strong it
was at the time. It was not as strong as it was when I was
visiting at Baylor, when I was getting telegrams delivered
to me when I was in interviews. [laughter]
P: [The telegrams said,] "Do not go." Did you get more money
S: [I] got less.
P: What did you leave? What salary were you getting at your
S: I think I was up to $40,000.
P: And were you able then to dip into the fund?.
S: Not initially as dean. There was not much of a fund. There
became one after we set it up and we organized a practice
plan, which was by union negotiation. [That] was a little
different than it had been here.
P: What salary did you get at Syracuse?
P: It was not a big difference, then.
S: Not a big difference.
P: And presumably, everyone would think that the cost of living
would be more up there than it was here. So you sold your
property. You severed your ties but did not burn your
P: And you left when to go up there?
S: Got there in September, 1970.
P: And you went to Syracuse then. Now what about this becoming
president of SUNY [State University of New York] upstate?
S: When I got there, they had a president of the medical center
because the medical center was freestanding.
P: What do you mean by that?
S: It was a campus of the State University of New York, the
overall organization. It was as if the J. Hillis Miller
Health Center here was not part of the University of
P: [It was] a completely independent operation.
S: .---but completely independent under the regents.
P: Under that kind of setup, did you have an overall Board of
Regents like we have in Florida? Or did each institution
have its own trustees?
S: We had an overall board of trustees for the whole university
system. Then each institution had what they called the
college council, which had certain statutory type function,
but mainly was advisory.
P: Who did you answer to?
S: I answered to the chancellor of the state university under
P: You had a lot of independence, then.
P: You made up your own budgets?
S: [We] made up our own budget. The budgets were much more
controlled than even Florida has been controlled. They were
line item budgets and controlled within the Division of
Budget of the state of New York. There has been a little
increase in freedom, I think, recently, since I left. They
were getting more freedom then, but it was a very controlled
P: Did you adapt yourself to this kind of paperwork, budgets,
and worrying about promotions and that sort of thing?
S: I did. I screamed and yelled about it a little bit .-- or
quite a bit.
P: But you enjoyed that kind of thing?
S: I enjoyed a lot of it. [But] some of the most painful
experiences of my life were going through retrenchment (for
financial reasons) and having to release people. The rules
on retrenchment are not [such that you can] choose the
people you can release. You have to reduce. You have to
release them not as persons but because of category, rank,
experience, and things of that nature. [It was a]
programmatic release. For example, I could not choose
somebody I did not like and fire that person. That is
appropriate; you should not be able to.
P: Dick, what kind of a boss were you? Hard-nosed as the
chairman here in Gainesville and later as the dean up at
S: No. I do not think I was ever hard-nosed. I tried to be,
as much as possible, consultive, and to work with people in
developing the department, rather than saying, "Here is the
way I want this department to be." There are times when you
have an administrative responsibility when you are alone and
have to make hard and tough decisions and have to be able to
stand with them. So you have to have a certain amount of
hard-nose ability. I never enjoyed that. I did not enjoy
firing a-faculty member or relieving a department chairman
of his duties. But I did it.
P: While you were still in Gainesville, obviously you related
to the administrative staff of the hospital and the center.
Did you go beyond that? Did you relate, for instance, to
[J.] Wayne Reitz when he was president [1955-1967], or
Stephen O'Connell when he was president [1968-1974]? Was
that part of your job?
S: Not in a linear way, but part of my job was dealing with
Manny [Emanuel Suter, M.D., dean, College of Medicine] for
example. I remember going to Wayne Reitz's office about
something. But it was mainly the responsibility of the dean
and the provost or the vice president.
P: Did you do any lobbying in Tallahassee?
S: No. I did not go to Tallahassee. I did do some lobbying.
I did talk with some people in the legislature. Sometimes
they were patients. I did go on some trips. I went down to
Miami once, for example, and saw some people there.
P: Did you play a role in the professional organizations [such
as the] Florida Medical Association [FMA]?
S: I was involved in the county medical society. I was a
delegate to the FMA. I think I was the first of the
academic people to be president of the county medical
P: Once you got to Syracuse, was your contact in government
directly with the governor? How did that work up there?
S: My contacts were mainly through the administration of the
state university. They had a strong central administration
under a chancellor.
P: In Albany.
S: In Albany. Not linear in charge of us, but the chancellor
then had various vice chancellors within the central
administration, most important of whom was the executive
vice chancellor, who dealt with a lot of the day-by-day
There was more of an academic vice chancellor as well with
whom we dealt a great deal. They had units of different
kinds. For example, they had somebody dealing with
community colleges and somebody dealing with the four-year
colleges and with university centers.
So I dealt a great deal with the office that dealt with the
medical and health science programs. He did not have line
responsibilities. In other words, when he became vice
chancellor for health sciences and so forth, I did not
report to him in a linear way. I reported to the chancellor
as a president.
P: Now you leave Gainesville and you go up there as dean.
Explain the transition from that to the presidency.
S: As dean, I was, as it were, second in command of the campus.
The president then, whose name was Bill Bluemle, left to
become president of the medical center at the University of
Oregon, which was another freestanding one. I was almost
automatically made acting president. They interviewed a
number of candidates. This was one of the big jobs that
they college council had. They had the statutory
responsibility of choosing to recommend to the trustees the
appointment of the president [and] to be in charge of the
recruiting with a faculty committee. I was recommended for
So they had a national search.
They had a national search and I became the person they
recommended to the trustees and to the chancellor. And I
took it. I guess by that time I was pretty deep in things.
I considered it another opportunity and an honor to have
been able to serve in that capacity.
It was not a troubled time or a troubled school?
It was a troubled time and a troubled school.
What were the problems?
It was a rather traditional school. The financial problems
came shortly after I got there. The [problems irLvolved] the
state cutting back on the building whichARockefeller had
done so well,, and- r efat in rsity When he left,
there was no Rockefeller there to protect it.
The bureaucracy in the state of New York was astounding. It
was like playing chess, I guess. I am not a chess player.
[It was] like playing golf. It can be very frustrating, but
fascinating. Felix Roye-a-bn, one time in a small group
where I was, said that he wanted to give up managing the
fiscal affairs of New York City and he talked with Bob
[Robert] Strauss, chairman of the Democratic National
Committee at the time. Strauss told him that having that
job, which he did fairly successfully, I guess, was like
making love to a gorilla. You stop when the gorilla wants
you to stop. I felt a little bit that way. I was
fascinated by it but they were troubled times.
There was union organization. Sixteen percent of the
faculty voted to be unionized and then they had one union
contract negotiating a contract for all the campuses. The
health science contract was part of that bigger part which
was kind of separately negotiated. That covered our
practice plan and so forth. We got that working better than
anybody else in the state did. Working together with our
faculty, we put together a workable program under the terms
of the contract. We worked at it honestly and we were the
only ones who did.
We went through retrenchment with cutbacks, where I had to
be in charge of cutting programs back and relieving faculty
members. We eliminated entirely the nursing program we had
there. We got through that [while] maintaining the
integrity of the institution and I am rather proud of what
we did in the face of considerable adversity.
We raised some money privately (nothing like the University
of Florida has been able to do) to build a little cancer
center and a pediatric intensive care unit. I tried very,
very hard to put some spirit into a campus which was a bit
discouraged in general attitude at that time.
And yet it was a new campus.
No, it was not; this was an old one. The state took it over
from Syracuse University in 1950. I look back on that
[time] as being a lot of trouble, but also a very
exhilarating and very challenging period of my life.
P: Did you inherit any student protest problems [arising from]
the Vietnam situation?
S: Just before I got there the medical students decided they
had to do some protesting. Medical students, by and large,
are a fairly conservative group. Compared to Gainesville,
they were radical up there. [For instance,] they wore
beards up there. [When] I went away from here there were
white coats; when I went up there, there were sweaters and
sandals. It took a little getting used to.
But just before I got there, the medical students decided
that they had to have a protest. This was in the immediate
post-Vietnam era and right after Kent State [May, 1970]. So
they decided that they were going to march. They gathered
out in front of one of the medical college buildings and
decided that they would march on what they saw as their
symbol of authority. They were going to march downtown and
picket the medical society--you know, the arch-conservative
group. I do not know how they came to that [decision]. So
they put on their white coats and were marching down. Well,
the arch-conservative secretary of that society got wind
that they were coming, called the police chief, and wanted
them thrown in jail or something. The police chief himself
came to investigate, along with several patrol cars. The
students came to a crossing of a big, busy street, and they
waited for the light to change. [laughter] And the police
chief] went home. And that was about as far as that protest
We had a little protesting. We had some students who really
destroyed their lives [by] getting involved in some of that,
[by] not going to classes and flunking out. I remember one
student who had been a brilliant student in college, [who]
had no trouble getting into any medical school he wanted to
go to. And he flunked out of the first year [of medical
school] badly, mostly by just not doing anything. He came
to me in appeal of the committee which failed him. He came
to me with about a three-day stubble of beard, his hair
dirty and tied up with a rubber band in back. His feet were
dirty, which you could see because he was wearing flip-flop
P: Putting forth a good image [laughter].
S: That [kind of extreme behavior] was minimal. So we did not
have much student protest [at Syracuse]. When I got to
[State University of New York at] Stony Brook I got into it.
P: Before you left.Gainesville, during the 1960s while you were
here, this University was integrated, and the medical school
was integrated. Were you involved in any of that activity?
S: Yes, I was involved in it a little bit. I participated in
the acceptance of the first black students who came.
P: I think the first black student was a woman.
S: There was a woman who came. Then she was not successful,
and I think that one of the reasons she was not successful
was [because] she kept herself separate. She left every day
as soon as classes were over and did not come back until
classes [resumed]; whereas our students worked and studied
together at night.
I may be off in who was first and who was second [black
medical student], but the [person I remember as the] second
student was very shy all along. He repeated a year but then
I think he did very well after that. He was buoyed with a
sense of humor, even though he was very shy and had a
stuttering problem. He looked at things with a sense of
humor. For example, he desegregated a laundry and cleaning
establishment in Gainesville. When he took his shirts in,
the man at the desk was rather embarrassed but said, "We
only take white shirts." And so the [black] medical student
opened his bag and took all of his white shirts [out] and
left them there, and put the colored shirts back in the bag
to take home. [laughter] And I'll be darned if they did not
do them. [laughter]
P: That is a great story.
S: In retrospect, there were some things at the time that I was
rather proud of. I got hate calls because of an ad in the
paper once about the waffle shop, where my name was among
the group of faculty from the university--I think yours was
P: And I do not even like waffles.
S: Well, they were holding out against permitting black people
to come into their shop. And we put an ad in the paper. I
was not the promulgator of it; Manny [Emanuel] .Suter was in
it, and I think you were in on that.
P: I may have been. I was a troublemaker in my earlier days.
S: By reason of alphabet mine was one of the top names, I
think. The second column [of names presented in the
newspaper ad] was topped with S [names], and Schmidt came up
P: So you got some hate calls?
S: I got some hate calls about it. Around on some of the
floors in the hospital they had separate drinking fountains
and toilets. And they would have signs saying "Colored."
P: In Shands?
S: In Shands. It was all over the state.
P: I knew it was around, but I thought by the time we got to
the construction of this teaching hospital . .
S: It was still there. The students (and I think I could
probably name them if I went back and looked at their
pictures), every time a sign went up would rip it out. It
would not be there the next day; somebody would put up the
sign again and it would be ripped off. Then they gave up.
I was rather proud of them for doing that bit.
P: The students, then, integrated the drinking and toilet
facilities in Shands.
S: That gave us a lot of space, when they eliminated separate
P: You became a the acting president at SUNY/Stony Brook, which
meant that you left Syracuse and went to Stony Brook?
S: For thirteen months.
P: What happened then?
S: I went down during a donnybrook they had on the appointment
of the new president. The man who was there as president
went to be president of the University of Maryland system.
The local group and the people who had proposed the man who
was executive vice president to take over as president
conducted a search. This caused a great deal of
consternation. The campus was deeply divided, and there
they were demonstrating and so on.
P: But not over Vietnam.
S: Not over Vietnam this time. The trustees turned this
appointment down. Not only that, but it was resubmitted and
they turned it down again.
The campus was deeply divided; the local campus council was
up in arms with the trustees [and] the campus council itself
was deeply divided. I was chosen by the chancellor to be a
fireman--to go and deal with the problem of a deeply divided
campus as a non-candidate. I agreed that I would not be a
candidate for the presidency. [I agreed to] serve as
president for six months while they recruited a new
So when you say "fireman," that meant to put out the fire?
To put out the fire. If there is anything that I did
successfully it was that administration in those thirteen
Was this a happy experience?
It was a happy experience. [I was] dealing with a very
deeply troubled campus, with a group of very radical
students [and] very radical people hanging around who were
not students, with terrible vandalism on the campus, with
students periodically going on rampages and small riots, if
you will. The happy times of the [student] senate were to
denounce the administration to the cheers of.the senators.
There was a great deal of trouble in opening a new
university hospital under state government. I got these
I got the campus back in line--or I helped to, with a lot of
very good help. I think I gained the trust of the faculty
by dealing with them very honestly and directly. Some of
the people who were enemies of the previous administration
became friends. John Doe would go down the sneaky back
stairs. He had a special sneaking-out stairway from his
office because it was built in the Vietnam era. [So] he had
a way that he could get out fast that-nobody knew about. We
When I heard something was going on with the students I went
to them and found out what was going on. I did outrageous
things there; I was outrageous, I was terrible.
One night there was a big student meeting with the college
council to hear their protests and demands. I was asked to
make more comments perhaps than I should have made,
[including] one that kind of broke it up and made it a
little friendlier. This was a group of largely Jewish
students who were from New York City. They wanted self-
determination; they had to be the rulers. They wanted the
dormitories completely turned over to the student body. One
of the things that night was a demand that we allow men and
women by plan to occupy the same room in the dormitory. I
was not about to do that; it went against my grain. I knew
they were cohabiting anyway. They were shifting around.
But that was something different than saying, "You and so-
and-so are roommates." [laughter] [That situation would
have] given us all kinds of problems: they would break up,
and then who pays for the room [and] who gets the room? I
got up and I said, "I will recommend approval of this,
provided that everybody on both sides get all of their
living grandmothers to give a written and notarized
statement of approval." [laughter]
P: All living grandmothers. You picked the right crowd.
[laughter] That must have broken the meeting up.
During these days, did you ever think back nostalgically
about the quiet days that you had spent in Gainesville?
S: There were some times there and there were some things
happening on the campus that were downright [frightening].
For an administrator, one of the most frightening things I
guess is to have a fire in the dormitory, or a bomb on the
campus. And I had both.
P: And Stony Brook was a different kind of a community than
S: [It was] entirely different. It was a small community with
people who were largely oriented towards a big city, people
who lived way out there .to commute back and forth.
P: So it was a bedroom community for what?
S: A lot of it was a bedroom community for people who could
afford not to work. The university was the largest
industry. [There was] a lot of commuting back and forth.
People might have to go in only a day or two a week or
something like that. Some did it daily, on the Long Island
P: How long were you at Stony Brook?
S: Thirteen months.
P: And what were those years?
S: 1979 to 1980, I think.
P: You were in SUNY for five years, from 1970 to 1975?
S: All of this was the State University of New York, SUNY, the
whole thing from 1970 to 1984.
P: After the thirteen months at Stony Brook, then what?
S: I went back to Syracuse. There was an acting president
while I was gone.
P: So you were at Syracuse until you went to Stony Brook.
S: Yes. I was at Stony Brook from 1979 to 1980--thirteen
months. June 1979 to July 1, 1980.
P: But the years before that, almost all of the 1970s, you were
at Syracuse. And then you leave Stony Brook and you come
back to Syracuse. What was your rank when you came back?
S: I was president.
P: How large was Syracuse when you [were there]? Was it a big
S: Syracuse University, which is next door [to the medical
center], was independent. It was and is a private school.
They had a total student body of something like 17,000,
including all categories of students. Our student body
including all categories was about 1,500.
P: So it was a sizeable operation.
S: Yes, and we had the operation of a hospital, which is a big
P: So you were totally an administrator in that situation; you
were not back with patients in the wards, working with
residents or interns, or doing research at that particular
moment in time.
P: Did you have a big staff?
S: No. I purposely kept a small staff. When I thought [about]
where should something be done or where should something be
decided or where the staff should be, I decided that the
staff should be more peripheral and closer to the action.
So I kept a very small staff.
We had several vice presidents. We had a vice president for
administration, a vice president for the hospital, a vice
president for academic affairs, and dean of the college of
medicine, which made the dean of the college of medicine a
little bigger than other deans. They were my major advisors
in terms of administrative advisors and administrative
staff. But in my personal office I had a very small staff.
I had an assistant to the president who did everything or
anything. He had a secretary and I had two secretaries.
And that was it.
P: Where did your money come from?
S: From the state of New York appropriations.
P: Did you have to solicit funds? Were you out fund-raising?
S: Fund-raising was just getting started. When the state
university first started they decided they would not have
private fund-raising. It was rather hard to get it started
and get it going. Starting a fund-raising program going for
a state institution in New York state was very different
than it would be here, because there the big universities
were the big private universities.
P: Columbia had its hand out.
S: Columbia had its hand out. New York spends more tax dollars
in the support of private higher education than any other
P: Dick, how did you compare Syracuse Medical School, which you
were then running, with the one you left behind here in
S: I think the students when they come out get an equal
education. I think the school there was not as strong in
research. There were some very strong researchers [there],
[but] not as big a national reputation as Florida is
developing. [Syracuse was also] a bit smaller.
P: Were you coming to this kind of conclusion in the early
S: I think I would have said that back even before that.
P: Would you say that today? 1
S: I would say that today. The upstate medical enter, which
has now changed its name to the State University of New York
Health Science Center in Syracuse, has nothing to be ashamed
of. It has a lot of things to be very proud of. I would
not hesitate to recommend going there to a student. I think
that it is much more conservative and much less exciting.
It is a little more difficult to get things going. [There
is] not as much ferment in the faculty.
P: How would you evaluate this medical school today? Is it
achieving the dreams, the goals, the objectives set down by
Harrell and others in the 1950s?
S: I think that the objectives that were originally set out for
the school were forgotten a long time ago. But I think they
are better now--better in that what has been done is more
than what one would expect to be done. There were some
ideas in the original objectives which just would not work.
P: They ran against the realities?
S: Yes. [One idea that ran against reality was] the idea that
all of the faculty would be generalists and be able, for
example, to see patients of all ilk as the primary physician
in the clinic. [For example,] Dick Smith, as pediatrician,
was supposed to be able to go see an eighty-year-old woman
in the clinic and take care of her. That idea died very
quickly except in the minds of some people. [The reality
was that] people came here expecting to see a specialist in
the disorder that they [had]. They do not come to an
academic medical center to see a family doctor.
P: What about in terms of reputation?
S: Florida has a very good reputation nationally. It has a
very strong reputation as a medical school.
P: Does the medical world know about Florida?
S: The medical world knows about Florida.
P: What about the dream or objective of turning doctors into
humanists, into people interested in more than just
S: Where do you start that objective? Do you accept people who
are that way or do you make people that way or do you
dehumanize them by the education you give? If we look at
certain scales on that, [one can see that] we make them
worse rather than better in the first couple of years of
medical school. -~-col --rod-nontr rTn-t-say-what-thosetests
are-when I by,"y rain co..re.s C rn-t s s3) .
It is a question that one has to keep working at. Does one
make a person into a more humanitarian physician by studying
humanities as an academic discipline? I do not know that
anybody has ever demonstrated that that is true. I would
like to think that it would be true.
Certainly, if they are in an environment with high ethical
standards, where we are concerned about people and about the
quality of life, I think that students are more likely to
develop those attitudes too. I think that we could be a lot
better than we are. I think there is much too much emphasis
in our medical schools, this one included, on making money
in our hospital and in our faculty. In comparison to what I
am used to some of our faculty here are making outrageous
amounts of money. They may be superb people but their
behavior as faculty members is becoming, for some, a little
bit jaded toward the money side.
When a patient who needs care comes to the hospital and
cannot be admitted because there is no financial support, I
think that situation is bound to make all of our talk about
humanism and medicine go down the drain. I think the
students see that here.
Mel Greer in the clinic, for example, would love to have
more people, [but it] would cost the neurology department
money, I think, to have a clinic. He will not turn down
Medicaid. I have great admiration for his approach to this.
I have never heard him telling the members of the department
they should not do something because it does not bring in
any money. I have never heard him say that.
But you have heard others say that.
I have heard others say that.
Dick, what brought you back to Gainesville in 1984?
I decided that I had had it with administration at the time
and that it was time for me to change and do something else.
I was offered an opportunity to have a rather honorific
position with the Veteran's Administration called the VA
Distinguished Physician, which is a program limited to five
years where you can do anything you want to do and be with a
VA hospital with a little travel money. You do not have any
responsibilities per se, except not to bring shame upon the
appointment. I was offered one of these appointments and
took it and chose to come here.
Because I had some roots here. In a way, when Betty and I
talked about where we would go when I retired--if I retired
before I died--we more or less thought we would come back to
Gainesville. All of my old friends are gone from Seattle,
or a lot of them are dead, and a lot of them went on to
P: So I gather that you had happy memories about Gainesville?
S: Very happy memories about it.
P: So you leave SUNY at Syracuse and you move back to
Gainesville. Did you come back specifically for the
position here at the VA?
S: It was a position where I could have gone anywhere. I could
have been associated with the VA hospital in MileTCity,
Montana, if I had wanted to.
P: So this was a national [program], not something where they
came for you from Gainesville.
P: So it'was your own choice to select Gainesville.
S: Yes. Lee Cluff now has the same appointment.
P: Where is he?
S: Right across the hall; he chose to come back here, too.
P: When you arrived back, did you have any relationship with
S: I was appointed to the staff at Shands and I am a member of
the faculty of the department of neurology at the College of
P: Do you have an office there?
S: I do not have an office there but I have a cubbyhole.
P: That is where I called you a couple of times and connected
with somebody somewhere along the line.
S: I spend more of my time [at Shands]. Shands pays more of my
salary than the VA does.
P: What do you do over there [at Shands]?
S: I do some teaching of medical students.
P: What do you mean, "some teaching"?
S: Well, I have a session every Wednesday morning at 7:30 with
P: Are you teaching them neurology?
S: Yes, and specifically dealing with them in a couple of
sessions on electroencephalography. And I am working in the
clinical neurophysiology particularly, interpreting the
electroencephalograms. And I am doing some things on
special tests that we do in the epilepsy surgery program
with Dr. Gilmore who came here a year and a half ago and had
her training here.
P: What is her name?
S: Robin Gilmore. She is in charge of electroencephalography
and clinical neurophysiology. I have been very pleased to
work with her and I spend several days a week doing things
[with Dr. Gilmore]. This morning we did a special test on a
patient who is being considered for anti-epileptic surgery.
We worked together on it; some of it I do along with the
psychologist and radiologist, and some of it she does, and
some [work] we do together.
P: So you are seeing some patients, then.
S: Oh, yes. [But] I do not go out on the wards anymore. I did
that last year, and I decided I would give that up.
P: So when you came back here you had a dual relationship: you
worked at Shands, you taught, you still continue to teach
there. Up until last year you were also a patient doctor,
rendering care to patients and doing whatever neurologists
are supposed to do.
What are your responsibilities here [at the VA Hospital]?
S: I have taken my turn at reading the electroencephalograms.
I am working with the quality assurance program in the
P: What does that mean?
S: Increasingly, some programs are being implemented to review
what physicians are doing and what the service is doing in
terms of patient care to try to assure that it is of good
quality. Some of it is Mickey Mouse; [there are a lot of]
forms to be filled out. Some of it may be important in
terms of assuring quality of care. [It involves] looking at
results of treatment to make sure that patients have certain
things done for them, the proper laboratory examinations
done, the proper steps toward diagnosis, the proper steps
toward treatment, and trying to quantify that.
rP: this a --jood 1 al?
S: This is a good hospital. It is very anemic [in terms of
being] grossly underfunded, as other veterans' hospitals
P: The VA hospitals have come under some criticism in recent
weeks and months.
: sa- physician, then, you would classify this as [a] fine
S: This is a very good hospital. It is a fine hospital. I
think there are some services which are probably stronger
than others. I think the neurology service here is very
good, with the same people who take care of patients here
are taking care of the patients at Shands. The attending
[physicians] here see every patient, make a note on every
chart, supervise the residents in their care of patients,
and they are the same residents who work at Shands.
P: It looks crowded to me. I have seen it, [and] everything
S: We do have a big problem in terms of resources, and how it
is running with diminishing resources is hard to say.
People are being turned away who would not have been turned
away a year ago or two years ago. This is true of the VA
system nationwide. I do not know what is going to happen to
it [or] what decisions are going to be made. There are a
lot of people concerned about it.
I worked for a while on an advisory panel with Paralyzed
Veterans of America. They were looking specifically at the
problem they faced, but with VA system as a whole, what is
going to happen to it. In fact, there is about a foot of
paper over there that deals with that. The report of that
is now being written.
P: What do you see? Are you going to stay on?
S: I promised myself last July that I would decide this January
1 when I would retire. January 1 has passed and I have been
unwilling to face that decision. So I guess I am going to
continue to work, and I have set no date when I am not going
P: You have no desire, then, to retire.
S: There is a little bit of desire to, then every time I get to
thinking about it, there is more of a desire not to.
P: So the chances are that as you look down the road you are
going to be right here in this office, pretty much doing the
same thing that you have been doing for the last three
years, and enjoying it.
S: At least for the next year.
P: You are enjoying it?
S: I am enjoying it.
P: So there is no sense in fixing something that ain't broke.
Would that be your philosophy?
S: That is right.
P: Tell me about your personal life after you got back to
Gainesville. Betty came with you. What happened there?
S: She died a little less than a year after we moved back. I
came home from a trip and found her, as if asleep. Sometime
the following year Ellie and I got together and we got
P: What happened to Betty?
S: They did an autopsy and said it was her heart. She had a
heart attack, apparently in her sleep.
P: And you were married a year later?
S: About a year and a half later.
P: You have been married now about how long?
S: Ellie and I have been married a little over five years.
P: The fact that you were marrying a woman who was Jewish
obviously did not create any problems for you, did it?
S: We did not talk much about it. I think her parents gulped a
couple of times.
P: Well, you look comfortable as I look at you in the
synagogue. With your yarmulke on, you look like everybody
else who.is over there.
S: I think that about half the people who know me think that I
P: And you do not disabuse them of anything.
P: Schmidt could be any kind of a name whatsoever.
Are you doing any research now?
S: I would not say that I am doing any research. I have done a
little bit of writing, and I have had some research ideas
that other people have carried on. We published a couple of
little papers that I have been involved in. I am doing a
few things right now in which I am trying to provide an
environment for other people to get their research going.
[I am] helping just a little bit. But I am not engaged
meaningfully in research myself.
P: As you look back over your professional life, particularly,
and also your personal life, have the years been good?
S: I would have to say they are. It did not always look so at
the time, and there were bad periods. We have good lives
because we are able to handle things that are bad. And we
are all going to face bad things.
P: But you have been a productive scholar and a productive
physician and a caring person throughout your professional
S: I am not dissatisfied with my life. There are a lot of
people who are a lot better than I am, I know. I do not
think that there is anybody that has had much in the way of
more satisfaction than I have had with life. I feel fairly
satisfied with my life.
P: What do you do now for fun, for recreation, for relaxation?
S: Well, I do play golf.
S: Usually three times a week.
P: Are you a good golfer?
S: I am not a good golfer, but last year I won $125 total in my
P: You are a good golfer.
S: But that is a lot of games of golf of winning a dollar or
losing a dollar.
P: Who do you play with?
S: There are several regular groups that I play with. I play
on Wednesday usually with Bill Roundtree, Parrish,
Hunt Brown, David Smith. Occasionally Jerry Ru erman joins
us; he used to be with us all of the time. He is the young
P: I know Jerry.
S: He is the young, long-ball hitter. On Saturday Jack Toombs,
a retired drug salesman, makes up games from a group of
about twelve to fifteen people. So he commands whom I play
with on those days out of that group. On Sunday, Ed
Woodward and I and Hector Bethart, who is a retired dentist
from the dental school, and ofttimes Jack Toombs, play
P: Where do you play?
S: At the country club.
P: So, obviously you enjoy that. Are you a reader?
S: I read a lot.
P: What do you like?
S: I do not like big novels because they keep me awake all
night. I read incessantly and cannot put the books down. I
read everything from science to some of the popular history.
As an historian, you might not think it is good reading. I
used to like reading Barbara Tuchman; her Distant Mirror is
a fascinating book.
I like Barbara Tuchman, too.
I liked Civil War reading at one time. I read through Lee's
Lieutenants and of course all of Sandburg's books. I read
Scientific American, I read The New Yorker, I read Harper's.
I thumb through news magazines. I am now reading a computer
I used to read the wildflower journals and the wildflower
books. I have a collection. I had a hobby of photographing
wildflowers for a while.
I understand that that was an interesting hobby of yours.
I did that in New York state [with] the spring wi flowers
Have you given that up?
I just have not gotten it started here. I have developed
arthritis, and it is a little harder to hike into the places
where I would do it. A lot of the pictures I would take
lying prone, waiting for the light to get just right and
waiting for the wind to stop.
Are you a good photographer?
I had some good pictures.
I know somebody who runs a gallery here who could sell those
S: She framed a few.
P: Oh, did she? [laughter] Do you all travel much?
S: Not by some people's standards. We do a fair amount of
travelling. We are going Saturday to see my daughter in
Austin, Texas. We were in Seattle together in October. We
were at the Academy of Neurology meeting in Boston this
P: It seems to me that you have seen the United States. You
have not been to the Antarctic, for instance.
S: We have not, but we have some friends going there now. Herb
and Betty Gilliland
P: The Gillilans are going. Now they are travellers. They
went to South Africa and now they are going to Antarctica.
I asked him why and he said, "Because we have not been."
Where are you going to be next year or the year after? You
are probably going to be just like me--right here.
S: Right here, writing poetry. I do a little bit. I used to
write poetry a lot when I was younger. I enjoyed poetry a
great deal and I have gotten back into it.
P: Do you read a lot of poetry?
S: I do not any more. I am getting back at it and I have gotten
back at writing some. Some serious and some that is just
doggerel. I enjoy some limericks.
P: Have you published any poetry?
S: I think I published something back a long, long time ago, in
a small, local journal. But I do not even remember what it
was. It was when I was in college.
P: Are you close to your kids?
S: Not as close as I would like to be. They have chosen not to
be close to me. My son does not write. We see him on
occasion. My daughter has a mind of her own. We love each
other deeply and we get along well. We do write and keep
contact by telephone.
P: Are you close to Ellie's kids?
S: We are getting closer and closer. Ellie, of course, is very
close to her children. I have gotten to know Claire better
J than the boy.
P: She has very fine children, and she is a wonderful person
S: On December 25, her son called and announced his engagement.
It had nothing to do with Christmas, for obvious reasons.
She spent the rest of the day and the next two nights
thinking about and planning [the wedding]. She could not go
to sleep that night. She called everybody in the family to
tell them about it. I think she is planning on
grandchildren. The wedding is not going to be until
December 5, 1992, in New Orleans, but she is talking about
what they are going to have for food [and] what kind of
party they are going to have.
P: She is a planner, an organizer.
What else do you think we ought to mention on this tape?
What have we not talked about?
S: There is not very much that we have not talked about, is
there? Do you have any advice for me on what I should do?
P: Not at all. You look to me like you have thrived on
everything you have done. I do not think that you want to
change anything. Your philosophy has obviously been a good
one. If you had to sum it up, what would your philosophy of
S: Do not take yourself too seriously.
P: Not everybody will give you a kick in the pants.
S: I mean that. I have said before that I like to take my
responsibilities very seriously, but not myself. Sometimes
I take myself too seriously, but I guess we all do that.
P: If young people came to you for advice, what would you tell
S: Depends upon what kind of advice. Some of the young people
do things that make me gulp a bit. I think that I would say
some things that I said when I gave a lecture last week to
the second year students. I see a lot of the things that
need to be said right now to young people in medicine. [I
hear a lot of people saying things such as,]. "I would not go
into medicine again; I would not become a physician; I would
not want my son and daughter to become a physician." I told
them not to pay to much attention to things like that. It
certainly can be a very good life, and those people who are
concerned about their incomes look at the size of the house
they get built and wonder how they could be so poor in their
practice of medicine. They have a very rewarding [life],
from the standpoint of remuneration in our society, and also
a chance to do a great deal of good.
[I told the students] to try to look at some of those things
rather than the annoyances: the threat of malpractice, the
suits, the cost of the malpractice policy, the reimbursement
and the paperwork and so on. You can get somebody to do the
paperwork for you. I get a little impatient when I see day
after day after day the horrible state of medicine by people
who are making a million dollars a year.
P: Does what is going on in the world disturb you, when you
read about the crime and AIDS?
S: It is very disturbing. I think that we are polluting our
world, and we are destroying some parts of it. I cannot say
that there ever were the good old days when everything was
moral and nice, that there were days when there were rich
and poor [people] and nothing else and the poor were
downtrodden. I do not think those were the good old days.
But I am concerned about what we all do, I guess: our
failure to prepare the world for those who follow us. We
are not willing to pay our bills currently by paying enough
taxes or lowering our expenditures.
[Another problem is] our failure to be able to get along as
groups of people who are a little bit different. So I am