Returning Home

July 22nd, 2009

I received my master's degree in geology from Brown in 1949, but was unable to attend my graduation ceremony because I was working in Alaska at that time. After half a century, I returned to Brown for the first time to celebrate my fiftieth reunion in May 1999.

Rhode Island Hall, the site of so many happy memories of my lectures, studies, friendships, and adventures, was first on my list ("Marking Time," Finally, May/June). When I reached the front of the building, I paused to admire its handsome and imposing entrance. Just at that moment, a gentleman on his way into the building spotted my fiftieth-reunion hatband and my wistful expression and stopped to offer me assistance.

It was Dean Robert Ripley who, upon learning of my connection to Rhode Island Hall, graciously offered to give me a guided tour of my old haunts. Aside from ground-floor renovations, the upper former geology rooms appeared mostly intact. There was the spacious lecture room where Professor Alonzo Quinn had once rescued me from a large glass exhibit case in which I had been rearranging some specimens when a prankster closed and locked the door. And then there was the balcony and my cubicle, where I had labored into the night with a nearby graduate student.

I am glad that I was able to "return home again." The facade (circa 1840) will remain, but the ancient interior space will vanish. The old ceiling joists will be fashioned into benches, which will at least provide some continuity when I rest on these and reminisce during my next visit to Rhode Island Hall.

Daniel B. Krinsley '49 ScM
Washington, D.C.

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July/August 2009