Memories of Professor Seadle
Peter Seadle was the first member of F&M’s Department of German I met, in September 1958, and the one I knew longest. In a classroom on the second floor of Keiper, he sat at the desk facing us with the same expression one sees in the picture of him in the Winter 2017 edition of the magazine. His greeting, “Guten Morgen,” sounded as much as to say, “Shall we, then?” Once, later that year, when I stopped at the office he shared with his wife, Irene, and P.P. Martin (a merry trio!), Peter asked me if there was some reason I still hadn’t declared a major in German. I could offer none, so that was settled.
He was a quiet mentor and advocate who gave me my first taste of classroom teaching (a single class meeting in my senior year, closely supervised) and later, toward the end of my grad school residency, wrote alerting me to a job opening at F&M. (The academic marketplace worked very differently back then; it was a tempting thought, but alas premature.) Some of us who teach like to think we’re working in the spirit, and sometimes the style, of our own former teachers. But Peter Seadle’s spirit was elusive, and his style was not one I was suited to.
Our paths crossed briefly at a professional conference in 1977; and through the good offices of Professor Cecile Zorach, I saw him again in May of 2013. We exchanged a few e-mails that summer and fall, but there were no more tête-à-têtes. So thank you for that last sly look from the newspaper reader on page 47.
Michael Ritterson ’62
It’s What Made My F&M Experience So Rewarding
The winter issue was a genuine treat. I was beyond tickled to see that writer Kristen Evans ’07 and illustrator Patrick Leger had brought one of my favorite F&M memories of Professor Gordon Wickstrom to life in “Courses that Define Us.” I was equally delighted to spot just pages away the story of another beloved professor, Lynn Brooks, and her ballet class. Although (sadly!) I never possessed the talent to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, Gordon’s and Lynn’s influence has stayed with me to this day. Cases in point: I happened to pick up the magazine when I returned home after my own Monday night ballet class, and for the last several years, the business I co-own has served as a corporate sponsor of Pittsburgh’s City Theatre.
In her article, Ms. Evans explores the question of what makes a professor memorable. For me, Gordon and Lynn – as well as so many of my other F&M professors – are memorable not merely because of the enjoyable classes they taught, but also because they took a personal interest in me as an individual. Faculty mentorship and relationships were what made my F&M college experience so rich and rewarding.
Linda Schorr Nyman ’88