Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

When I first came across last week the article linked to below from the Daily Princetonian, about the offensive top ten list, I also saw an article that really saddened me, about a former professor of mine being badly burned in a house fire. Finding the link for that just now, I saw an article from yesterday's paper that the professor, David Bradford, an economist, had passed away. I didn't know him very well -- I took a class from him junior year in Environmental Economics, about 25 people in the class, I went to office hours once to talk about a problem set since I'd missed the class where he'd handed it back, I think -- but I've always remembered him as one of the best professors I had at Princeton, and, honestly, as one of the most human. A couple of months ago I exchanged e-mails with a Princeton freshman who e-mailed me about my blog, and I gave him an unsolicited course recommendation, since he said he thought he'd be ending up on the law school path. I told him to take Bradford's class, because, not knowing it at the time of course, it ended up being a lot like the kinds of economic analysis we do at law school, and, besides, that Bradford was a super-nice guy, and a really good professor.

What made him stand out -- and I feel it's going to sound like this is just the kind of stuff people try and write when someone passes away, but, really, I'd thought about this before, and he really did stand out as one of the professors I remember, and remember fondly -- is that he really just seemed like a good guy, approachable, decent, one of the professors I wish I'd have actually gotten to know as a person. I remember there was a class when we were locked out of the building -- the class was in this seminar room in an old building, that we got into through a side entrance, and he needed to find a security guard to open the door. And I felt like a lot of professors would have gotten flustered or annoyed, or at least seemed impatient, but I remember he was totally pleasant about it, thanked the security guard, didn't make it into a big issue. He seemed at peace and like he had perspective, I don't know. He explained things really well. He didn't take it all more seriously than he needed to. I can't name all of the professors I had in college. Maybe if I think hard enough. But he stood out. And it's sad to read the news that he passed away.

There's a Princeton news release here that paints a really nice picture of him as a scholar and a person, with some excellent quotes from his colleagues. The New York Times has a piece, and here's the piece from the Daily Princetonian.