Gordon kept a couch in our shared offices, and he took a nap in the afternoons, often snoring gently(or not so gently!) But Gordon’s metaphoric couch was the sage advice he doled out to me when I was frustrated at work.
I have chosen to highlight the great colleagues I worked with and the times things went smoothly at the college. However, as anyone knows who has ever worked with other people, everything did not run smoothly all the time. Nor did I work with only pleasant, collaborative people. Gordon was unfailingly optimistic, especially with the often present tension between the college and the museum. An art college focuses on the new, innovation, controversy. An art museum focuses on preservation, perpetuation, and tradition. Needless to say, this is a perfect set-up for disagreements. And the museum was the parent of an often unruly child, the college.
Whenever a new museum president arrived with yet another idea of how the college should or shouldn’t operate, I would get flustered. Gordon would always give me a sly grin and tell me,”Don’t worry. We will outlast the s.o.b’s.” I like to imagine that he learned this approach from World War II and used it during his long run as a college administrator himself. It was good advice.
I try to remember it now in our present political chaos!