Page 25 - Shared Vision

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we went to England, where I met John and Magda Cordell
McHale, Peter Reyner Banham, the Smithsons, Cedric
Price, and James Meller.
AG: You must have gotten your second wind, because
you created what I consider one of your lasting
contributions—GSC 205, the sophomore course that
convinced thousands of SIU students over the next
30 years they could solve any problem with the right
creative thinking. After you designed and taught it, Harold
Grosowsky made it a favorite. When he died, Larry Busch
taught the course with passion and success until the late
1990s when the university changed to the semester system
and decided, in a much contested vote, to drop it.
HLC: I didn’t know it lasted so long, but I’m glad. You
know, Delyte Morris believed in the humanities, regardless
of major. So did Burnett Shryock, whose father was SIU
president and the first to require a strong humanities base.
So every SIU sophomore had to pick one elective from a
cluster of three: art appreciation, music appreciation, or
GSC 205.
We had a classroom that held 300, so we had to be
organized. And I wanted the students to actually do
projects, not just listen and maybe write a paper. I worked
with Herb Meyer and John Bis, who did a “Man the
Toolmaker” segment, and James Filipczak worked with
me to develop this course. We designed packets for each
Bucky with models reconstructed at SIU
student to pick up when they entered class. The packets
hung on a coat rack, with each student’s name on them.
The packets had graded work from the previous week and
materials for that day’s lecture plus a problem that had to
be researched and solved before the next class.
AG: I have an email from Sinan Enc, a former student now
in Istanbul. He said that course so influenced his thinking
that he convinced his daughter to study at SIU some years
HLC: I am not surprised. We got that kind of response
from day one. And the vast majority of those students did
not pick design as a major.
AG: Maybe they learned that design is a way of thinking,
not just a career.
HLC: That was the point. We had fun, too. Some of my
students started The Devil’s Lair, a coffeehouse next to
a Baptist church. The church bought the land and threw
them out.
You asked me about Bucky. Yes, I was responsible for
getting him to SIU. I first met Buckminster Fuller in 1948
when Serge Chermayeff, director of the Institute of Design,
invited him to lecture. My wife Mary first met him in
1951, after she had graduated from Indiana University
and was working as a copywriter for a Chicago advertising
Mary Cohen with EFY students (Photo by EFY staff)