In The Bush

July 15th, 2011

Recently, there have been numerous testimonials to Professor of Engineering Barrett Hazeltine ("Engineering Better Students," Elms, September/October 2010). Mine is set in the Tanzanian bush. Professor Hazeltine offered to lead a Brown Travelers trip to Tanzania, and the trip sold out in record time, leaving so many disappointed alumni that he agreed to lead a second trip right after the first.

A two-week tent safari in the Serengeti is not for the fainthearted, yet he committed nearly a month to travel in challenging and unpredictable conditions: often without running water or electricity and traveling on bumpy, unpaved roads, while dodging tsetse flies and malaria-bearing mosquitoes. Yet Professor Hazeltine remained warm, accommodating, insightful, witty, and compassionate. He seems to be aging with enviable grace.

Around the nightly campfire, he followed his incisive and thought-provoking ideas with his signature self-deprecation: "Am I making sense?" Indeed, he challenged us to make sense of the big picture and to consider ways we might stay involved with the Tanzanians after we returned home. Professor Hazeltine's passion for respectfully enabling the empowerment of others remains as intense and inspiring as ever. Although none of us was drawn to the concept of group travel, Professor Hazeltine's presence guaranteed mutual respect, acceptance, intellectual sophistication, and integrity. Even though we are all fifty-five and over, we felt as if we had lucked out and gotten to hang out with the coolest camp counselor—the one who doesn't realize how cool he is. May this testimonial offer yet another window into this amazing man as he celebrates fifty years at Brown.

Ellen Littman '75
Stamford, Conn.

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Related Issue
July/August 2011