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Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
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of City College in the forties and early fifties, before the McCarthy period.

I suppose I could sum up my first eight, ten years at City College as a period of excitement and enjoyment. I used to say to my wife that I would do what I was doing free. And of course, she was much more realistic than that. She was happy that we were getting paid.

Looking back, I've been trying to see, what was there about that period that was so stimulating and exciting? It was certainly a period of growth, for me. It was a period in which I was not a student any more, but a different kind of a student, learning, I guess learning to teach, or learning to interact with my students. We had very good students at City College.

Also, it was a period in which I was learning to interact with my colleagues in the department. The department was dominated by Gardner Murphy, and as I used the word “dominated,” it strikes me that that's not the precise word for describing Gardner Murphy's influence on the department. He was the very opposite of an overtly dominant chairman. But he certainly set the tone and the style, and he and his qualities permeated that department. Specifically, Gardner made us all aware of the importance of substance and quality, you know. I would say he almost single-handedly kept our department from being concerned with petty political competitive things which you too often find in academic departments. The younger members of the department all sort of took for granted that we were going to be evaluated in terms of what we contributed, as psychologists.

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