Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dr. Greg Kimble (1917-2006)

I just found out that Dr. Greg Kimble passed away.

You can read the link to his obituary above and read about his achievements in psychology, but that really doesn't provide a full picture.

Dr. Kimble had a profound effect on my life. I first met him in 1982, my second year at Duke University's Talent Identification Program. He was teaching Introductory Psychology. I had never had a teacher or classroom experience like Dr. Kimble's, and had never been so excited about learning. Nor had I been so challenged. I took the next class he taught ("Thinking, Knowing, and Problem Solving") without even reading the description.

When I finished my first class with him, I asked him to sign the textbook we used (which he had written with Norm Garmezy and Ed Ziglar - names I can rattle off 20 years later because I studied the book so much!). He wrote:
Anu - So much seems to be going on underneath the surface. Peace!
- Greg
Of course, he was right, and I've never forgotten his insight, pithiness, and brevity.

Over the next few years we had other interactions - I was asked to speak on TIP's behalf a few times, and Dr. Kimble (along with Dr. Robert Sawyer) was always there, smiling. I attended TIP's first alumni reunion, and he was there. Remembered us all. I eventually became the first alumni member to serve on the TIP advisory board, and he came to many of the meetings.

Dr. Kimble had an incredible capacity for caring for people. It's a cliché, but his smile really did light up a room. He also had a gravity and seriousness about him such that no one ever mistook his good charm and humor for lack of substance. He always treated everyone with respect.

He's why I teach at TIP. I strive to accomplish even half of what he did. I hope to inspire some bright kids to love learning, work hard, not give up, "become who they are", and find peace. I crib shamelessly from my memories of how he taught - the speech cadences, the different instructional methods. He was able to keep a room full of antsy teenage prodigies attentive and engaged for hours a day.

I knew this day would come, and he certainly lived a full life. But I mourn the loss of a great human being. I can still see twinkling eyes and charming smile, still hear his wonderful voice. And my heart breaks.

No comments: