Case in point: the faculty file for one Charles Nixon Holman, M.D. (no, that's not the smile part, although learning his middle name did make me chuckle). Holman was dean of the Medical School here from 1968-75, shepherding the school through its break with the University of Oregon and its consolidation with the schools of nursing and dentistry into the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center. Dour looking man, to me, in the photos we have (that's him on the left in this one). But in the faculty file from News & Pubs, there was a typewritten letter from Holman to his wife, Dorothy, dated March 1, 1974. Get ready to smile:
For the past several dozen years, as you well know, I've been goofing off up here on the Hill. I feel the time has come that you become more aware of how this was possible.
It was very simple, I instructed my secretary to inform all callers and visitors that I was in an important meeting. What I was actually doing was counting the number of blades of grass per square foot outside my window. This provided me with an excellent opportunity to do an important research project that I've long wanted to complete. For your information there is, and I believe I'm correct, 9,321,451 blades per square foot. As you know this will be very helpful to us in reseeding our lawn when I retire. I would appreciate it if you would begin soon to count how many grass seeds are in each pound so that we can plan our reseeding along a scientific basis.
Back to the subject at hand. Our PR director, that nut Ken Niehans, has come up with the idea that we ought to invite all the wives of the members of our Advancement Fund Board to lunch and show them around. He's always been a trouble causer but since he has tenure there isn't much I can do. He has the wild idea that such an activity will lead to the wives discussing the needs of the Medical School in their homes. As I mentioned earlier, he's a real nut.
In any case I'd rather not hurt his feelings so I want to ask you to go along with him and ask that you, Dottie Zimmerman and Dwyn Anne Adams to serve as unofficial hostesses for the event.
Well, back to your becoming more aware of my activities on the Hill, I want to invite you and a guest of your choice (make it someone who thinks I've really been working) to join us on campus Wednesday March 20 for an informal luncheon and a short tour of some of our facilities.
If you could arrive at the Administration Building by 11:30 we would like to present a brief overview of our programs here at the School before having lunch. Following the luncheon we plan a visit to our perinatal division and our newborn intensive care unit. The faculty members in charge of these areas will be on hand to tell you about them and answer any questions you may have. The planned activities should be over about 2:30 p.m.
Enclosed is a card and a return envelope which you may use to signify your attendance. At a later date we will send additional information relative to parking and where we will meet.
We do hope that you and your guest (now be sure you choose the right one) will be able to join other wives of our Advancement Fund Board members and their guests for this campus visit.
Charles N. Holman, M.D.