S.11, E.8: “Everything is Connected, Nothing Is Lost”

Learning for Life @ Gustavus podcast host Greg Kaster interviews emeritus professor of classics Will Freiert.
Posted on December 21st, 2021 by

Gustavus professor emeritus of classics William (Will) Freiert reflects on his Jesuit education and path to classics, the development of the classics department at Gustavus and his and his classicist spouse Professor Emeritus Patricia Freiert’s roles in that, his teaching career at a Jesuit prep school in Washington, D.C. and then Gustavus, connecting ideas and the past (antiquity) and present, his love of theater, and the meaning and importance of the liberal arts.

Season 11, Episode 8: “Everything Is Connected, Nothing Is Lost”

Greg Kaster:

Hello, and welcome to Learning for Life at Gustavus, the podcast about people teaching and learning at Gustavus Adolphus College and the myriad ways that Gustavus liberal arts education provides a lasting foundation for lives of fulfillment and purpose. I’m your host, Greg Kaster, faculty member in the department of history.

I first met my Gustavus colleague, Will Freiert, as new faculty member in 1986. Will was one of several experienced faculty enlisted to help orient us newbies. While I only recall one thing Will said to us, I like to think it was the most important, and I know for me it was and has been the most useful. What he said was something like I get paid to play. As countless students and all his colleagues well know, Will knows how to play with and inspire students to play with texts, ideas, questions, and meaning. He’s done so creatively, consistently, enthusiastically and yes, seriously, throughout his distinguished career as a professor of classics at Gustavus. Dr. Freiert earned his BA and MA in classics from St. Louis University and his PhD in classics from the University of Minnesota. He joined the Gustavus faculty in 1972 and was subsequently instrumental in developing the colleges classics department program.

A superb teacher, Will has been honored with Gustavus’s Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Philological Association. He has published articles, presented papers and lectured both here in the United States and abroad on a host of fascinating topics like Greco Roman antecedents in Saul Bellow’s writing, modern adaption of Oedipus and classical myth and post-war America fiction. He’s also authored a book on the work of distinguished sculpture and Gustavus alum, Paul Grandlin. Then there’s the mind boggling amount of service he’s done over the years for Gustavus, including multiple stints as department chair and for his discipline’s professional organizations. Now, Professor Emeritus, Will is a wonderful example of what all my best teachers had, a zest for learning and teaching, an ability to draw connections, sometimes surprising ones across disparate disciplines, ideas, times, and places, and what I’d call a humanistic liberal arts curiosity about the world past and present.

For all these reasons and more I’m delighted he can join me on the podcast to talk about his own story, Classics at Gustavus, his work on classics and literature in theater and the ancient world and what it has to do with us. So Will, welcome to the podcast. It’s a treat to have you on.

Will Freiert:

Thanks, Greg. It’s an honor to be here.

Greg Kaster:

My honor as well. And, we should note for listeners, we are preserving … No one can imagine how much we’ve preserved to try to get this thing to work since technology is not … at least this kind of technology is not our thing. It’s great to have you on. I’m in Minneapolis, you’re in St. Peter. You’re retired but you’ve been teaching still, right? Tell us a little bit about that.

Will Freiert:

I am. It’s funny you mentioned that quip about play because in my second year here, Dean Robert Carson asked me to start an honors program, and so the first thing I did was to create a seminar, which I called Play. That’s what we did.

Greg Kaster:

I did not know that. Well, people think … Play is play but there’s also a seriousness to it, right? I mean, it’s not just …

Will Freiert:

I’ve always said, and Lisa Heldke, who we’ve interviewed has always said the same thing, I can’t believe we get paid to do this. It is so much fun.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. How old were you when you retired? Were you … I’m 68. I just turned 68.

Will Freiert:

I was 69, I think. Yeah.

Greg Kaster:

You were 69. All right.

Will Freiert:

I was 69. It was in 2010.

Greg Kaster:

Okay. Yeah, because I don’t want to retire. I want to keep going.

Will Freiert:

Right. Well, I didn’t actually. I mean, I just stopped getting money, but I kept teaching part-time for another nine years at Gustavus. And, I also did the Osher Lifelong Learning Program in the cities, which I loved teaching because those folks are … Their discussion. They’re older, they’re mostly retired and their discussion, ideas, questions or comments are just so helpful and bright, and the discussions just take off. It’s really fun.

Greg Kaster:

Are those all people who are working or retired or both?

Will Freiert:

They’re mostly retired. It would be normally a six or seven week, hour and a half each time, session. They offer OLLI, Osher Lifelong Learning. They offer dozens of courses at different places around the cities. The very first one I did was at a high rise retirement home right behind The Guthrie, and I walked into the room that they use as a classroom, and sitting right there in the front row was my wife’s dissertation director from the U.

Greg Kaster:

Oh my gosh. Oh, that’s great.

Will Freiert:

It was wonderful.

Greg Kaster:

Your wife, Patricia, who’s also a member of the department. That’s great. I taught … What was it called? Elder something for the city of Boston. This was when Mayor Kevin White was in. His mother was in the room. These were actually people who were not all there mentally, but I’ll tell you something. It was such a joy, although one woman seemed stuck in the 17th century. I couldn’t get her to get out of it.

Will Freiert:

Well, you’re a historian.

Greg Kaster:

Exactly, right? But it was so much fun. And then I taught in the evening college, which was working people. Yes, I just loved it at the U. It was called the Metropolitan College of Boston University. I really loved it. Anyway, I was asking about retirement because I’m thinking I don’t want to stop teaching. It’s nice to get paid for it but if there’s a way to retire and still teach, and you’re a good example of that. So, thank you for that. I know a little bit about your background but I bet I’m going to learn more here. Let’s just start with where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Will Freiert:

I grew up in a row house in Baltimore, west Baltimore. That’s why my favorite television show was The Wire because the accents were so perfect. And I have to tell you a story about my mother, which I never learned until long after she died, my mother quit school at age 16 and went to work to support her widowed mother and six siblings who couldn’t find work during the Depression.

Greg Kaster:

Wow.

Will Freiert:

I was just so impressed by that, even I wish I had known that while she was alive.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, the stuff we don’t know some times about people, what they’ve gone through. Well, would you say you grew up in a working class family, middle class? What kind of …

Will Freiert:

I guess middle class, because even though my mother had no education, my dad had a bachelor’s and near master’s degree and was a television executive. He was a mad man. He died at 55 because advertising … Mad as in the television show. Madison Avenue. At the end of his career, for the last 10 years, he was assistant station manager of a local television station but mostly what he did was advertising.

Greg Kaster:

So, did you [crosstalk 00:08:01] … Go ahead.

Will Freiert:

Go ahead, no.

Greg Kaster:

No, you go ahead.

Will Freiert:

I went to a parochial school and my first television commercial, I was five years old. My second television commercial was three weeks later, and that was the end of my television career because I couldn’t remember my lines.

Greg Kaster:

What were those commercials? For the school?

Will Freiert:

Pickles. They were for pickles.

Greg Kaster:

That’s great [crosstalk 00:08:31]. That is so funny. Was it a Catholic upbringing or not?

Will Freiert:

[crosstalk 00:08:37]. I went to a parochial school. Wonderful teachers. I starred in all the musicals, all the Prince Charming musicals. I went to my 60th elementary school reunion several years ago and I sat down at a table next to an attorney and she looked at me and she said, “I have hated you since third grade.” I laughed and said, “What did I do?” She said, “I was the first in the class every year except third grade when you beat me out, when you had the best grades in the class.”

Greg Kaster:

Oh my God. Good to know we mellow as we get older, huh?

Will Freiert:

Yes, exactly.

Greg Kaster:

Wow, holy cow.

Will Freiert:

Good reason why she’s an attorney, I think.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, there you go. Right, exactly. Did you know you were going to go to college? Was that the tract?

Will Freiert:

Yeah, I went to a Jesuit prep school and so, this will lead into my career, I guess. That was the case at any college prep program, no matter whether it was a public school or what in those days, back in the 50s. The smart kids had to study Latin, Greek and German. The dumb kids were stuck with Latin and French. The began my interest in classics basically, all that language. So, I went to this Jesuit prep school on a scholarship and just kept going with the languages.

Greg Kaster:

So when you went to St. Louis University, which is Jesuit, right? Is that right?

Will Freiert:

Yes, it is. Uh uh (affirmative).

Greg Kaster:

Okay. When you got there for your BA, what I don’t know is … I know your MA … I think I’m right [crosstalk 00:10:31]. Both in classics?

Will Freiert:

Yeah, classics and medieval philosophy.

Greg Kaster:

Okay, so you knew going in, you were going to major in classics, it sounds like.

Will Freiert:

No. I figured that out in college.

Greg Kaster:

Was there more than the language that was attracting you to classics or what was it?

Will Freiert:

I just enjoyed them. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I had had some great teachers, some really inspiring people that I still remember. I also had a few that I thought, “Boy, I could do it better than this guy.” So, I knew teaching would be fun somehow, and I figured I was not smart enough to major in English or science so I kept on going with the languages.

Greg Kaster:

That’s funny. And, was it Latin and Greek and German still at that point or more?

Will Freiert:

Yeah, it was, I did. I did Latin, Greek and German … a little bit of German … in college. And then, when you’re an academic, you have to pick up your other languages just to be reputable. But the great thing about Latin is that it gives you access to the romance languages. So, when I was working on my doctorate, I already had the German but I needed another modern language so I got a French grammar and I studied that for a couple of weeks and went and took the exam, so then I had my second modern language. That was so much a help later on doing research when I needed to read something in Italian or Spanish, with the help of a dictionary, I could figure it out because of the Latin.

Greg Kaster:

Right. Yeah, I wish … Well, I wish a lot of things but one of the things I wish is that I had taken Latin. I don’t even remember if Latin was offered at our high school in the suburbs of Chicago.

Will Freiert:

Well, you’re so young.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, I’m still young. I can take it from you. There we go. Because everyone I know, some nephews and my wife’s brother, who’s an attorney, they all studied Latin. It’s all useful in law and medicine, and boy, in so many ways. Logic. But, that’s another story.

Were you teaching high school after St. Louis University-

Will Freiert:

It was after my master’s degree.

Greg Kaster:

And, where at? Tell us a little bit about that.

Will Freiert:

I chaired a seven person classics department at a Jesuit prep school in Washington, DC.

Greg Kaster:

Wow.

Will Freiert:

And, that was great. The school is right downtown a few blocks from the Capitol. So, it was great to live on Capitol hill for three years and to just walk around, around the building and walk around the Supreme Court and along the mall and to feel the history of those buildings, and to just teach smart kids. One of whom is one of my early students … is a professor and an endowed chair at the University of Virginia who 10 years ago, his best book won the national award from the American Philological Association.

Greg Kaster:

Wow.

Will Freiert:

It was the best book of the year.

Greg Kaster:

That is gratifying for you. That’s fantastic.

Will Freiert:

It really is.

Greg Kaster:

Speaking of classics, you just walk around DC and you soak it up, I guess. Maybe it’s the Jesuits but seven people in a classics dept-

Will Freiert:

Sure. Well, it was still in the days when everybody had to take Latin and there were always a couple of classes of Greek students.

Greg Kaster:

Were there particular things about the Jesuit approach to education … I don’t really know much about that … that you think were particularly impactful on you in high school?

Will Freiert:

Yeah, I really owe all my education to the Jesuits because of that Jesuit sense of learning … Here’s my favorite Jesuit story. Do you remember the Nobel Conference in I think it was 2013 was the last time it was on astronomy?

Greg Kaster:

Oh yeah, I remember.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, normally at a Nobel Conference, there’s always one lecture that is an ethical approach to the topic and they have some philosopher or theologian or somebody come and lecture. Well, for that year, Chuck … Is it Chuck? I think was chairing it-

Greg Kaster:

Chuck Niederriter of our physics department.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, was chairing it, I think. Anyways, he invited as the ethicist, not a philosopher or a theologian, but a Jesuit priest who was the head of the Vatican observatory, so an astronomer. The astronomer, the so-called ethicist, it was really an astronomer, the Jesuit, gave his talk and it turned out to be the most coherent presentation of Thomas proof for the existence of the divine that I have ever read or heard. And right afterwards, one of the other panelists jumped up and started ranting and raving, “How can you ask us …” It was Lawrence Krauss. Lawrence Krauss asked, “How can you stand there and expect us to believe there’s some giant creature out there in the universe that demands that we love him?” And, George Coin, the Jesuit, said, “Well, Lawrence, I demand that you love me.” And Krauss was taken aback and he said, “Well, George, I guess I do love you so we’re good.”

My take on that is only a Jesuit could get an atheist to say, “I love you, George” in front of 5000 people.

Greg Kaster:

That’s great. I did not know that. That’s an excellent story. I didn’t remember that.

Will Freiert:

The Jesuits, though, are the intellectuals of Catholicism. They were the ones who persuaded the pope that Galileo was right after all. They’ve always had this history of forward thinking scientists and intellectuals.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, with science, too, and that’s the other thing about Gustavus that I like the way the faith and science get mixed together, work together. It’s so interesting.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, Richard Elvee, the founding chaplain of Christ Chapel, we used to joke, we would call him the apostle to Nobel Hall because he was just great on the intellectual life.

Greg Kaster:

Right. Yeah, he was. I hope I can podcast with him, Dick, because when Kate and I moved to … Some listeners will know this, listeners who know us … when we moved to St. Peter to take the job at Gustavus, my wife, Kate Wittenstein, was in the history department, as you know. Anyway, our downstairs neighbor was Linda Elvee. She and Dick were separated … Dick the chaplain. So anyway, we got to know Richard, or Dick, and he’s such an interesting guy. I mean, my God, if you couldn’t find a book in the library, you just knew Dick Elvee had it in his office probably.

Will Freiert:

Right.

Greg Kaster:

He wasn’t a Jesuit, but he should have been, I guess.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, right. Well, Richard went on sabbatical to Rome and lived in a monastery for six months.

Greg Kaster:

Oh that’s right, I remember that.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, and when Linda came to visit, he made her live in a convent.

Greg Kaster:

Oh my God. I forgot about that. He did, yeah. I do remember him coming back from that. So, you taught high school and then decided to go on for the PhD or was that happening simultaneously?

Will Freiert:

Yeah, I did.

Greg Kaster:

Okay.

Will Freiert:

No, I decided that I should teach college.

Greg Kaster:

What was it about the University of Minnesota that attracted you?

Will Freiert:

Another great story. I wrote, or called, I think, a professor there whom I had known at a summer workshop that I had attended, and asked if he would write a letter of recommendation for me, if I could give him as a reference and he would write for me as I was applying to universities, and he said, “Oh, come here. We’ll give you money.”

Greg Kaster:

That will do it.

Will Freiert:

That will do it.

Greg Kaster:

I applied to a lot of places. I was lucky, got into all of them, but Boston University gave me the most money, plus I loved Boston so there I went. Yeah, I always wondered. You didn’t have a Minnesota connection. I didn’t know you grew up in Baltimore.

Will Freiert:

Not at all.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, not at all.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, not at all. Right.

Greg Kaster:

What was your area of specialization there at the U? University of Minnesota?

Will Freiert:

I wrote my dissertation on Homer’s Odyssey and I’ve been working on that ever since.

Greg Kaster:

Well, one of the things I really enjoy about you and your work … First of all, I just love reading texts and interpreting texts, and I sometimes think I should have been an English major. But, I love the way you … I don’t even know quite how to phrase it. You can help us, or help me. But, you look at literature and theater with a classical lens. You can refine that, but how did you get into that? How did that grow out of your work at the U?

Will Freiert:

You know, Greg, I’ve often said I learned infinitely more at Gustavus than I ever did in graduate school, but I think it also stems from that early Jesuit education. My take on the classics is that the value of the inflected languages, Latin and Greek, is that they enable you to perceive complexity and to make distinctions as a habit of mine. So it’s not that you think, “Oh, this ends in M, it must be [inaudible 00:21:20].” You’re thinking that, but you’ve got these mental habits that make you see that things are connected. Everything’s connected, so you just keep finding new ideas that are related to the ideas you already had.

Greg Kaster:

Well, if you could see me, Will, I’ve got a big grin on my face, big fat grin because that’s what makes you, I think, a great teacher among other things, and it’s certainly what my … one of my favorite teachers who grew up in Minnesota, a history teacher in high school, it’s all about connections. That’s what I’ve learned and that’s exciting to get students to see those connections. It’s empowering, too. I love making those … especially connections, like reading Bellow and finding Greek Roman antecedents. Haven’t you done work on Ann Tyler, too? The novelist Ann Tyler?

Will Freiert:

I did. Yeah, right. And, Tony Morrison. The very first thing I published was on Tony Morrison.

Greg Kaster:

Oh yeah, Tony Morrison. Right. Who came to Gustavus. That was fun. Yeah, I just love that. I think learning … You may have seen, there was an exhibit on DaVinci, Leonardo DaVinci. I think it was at the Field Museum … not Field Museum. I don’t remember. Anyway, in Chicago.

Will Freiert:

Well, if it’s the same one, I saw it Rome.

Greg Kaster:

Okay. It may well have been. The theme was his ability to make connections and to see patterns.

Will Freiert:

Yes, exactly.

Greg Kaster:

I just thought, “Yes.” It sound like what you’re saying is a lot of the work you’ve done grew out of your Jesuit education but also your time at Gustavus as a teacher.

Will Freiert:

Oh, absolutely. The Nobel Conference is so much fun because you just keep hearing new ideas all the time.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. I don’t want to speak for you, but my sense is you love the theater, and I love it. I certainly love it. If that’s accurate, when did that develop and how?

Will Freiert:

Well, actually back in grammar school, I was always Prince Charming in the plays-

Greg Kaster:

That’s What you said. Yes.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, and I was the president of the theater group in high school and so on. But actually, it was reading Greek tragedy that made me want to look at theater professionally and use it. And I’ve always taught … Homer’s Odyssey and the Greek tragedies are one of my favorite things to teach because they are so contemporary. How did a guy, if there was a guy, take this aural tradition 2600 years ago and create this amazing feminist psychologist named Penelope, who figured out that this crusty old guy, who had just wiped out 108 suitors, was actually the man she married 20 years ago? And, how did Euripides write this powerful thing on the psychology of why a woman would kill her own children? All these amazingly modern issues that the Greeks were troubled about so long ago, and wrote so eloquently about.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, and as you say, modern. I mean, so long ago, but there’re modern issues. They’re still with us. That’s another thing, by the way, about your teaching, and students always commented about you is your ability to connect … Here’s another connection. Connect that world of the Greeks and the Romans to the present … We may come back to that. By the way, I don’t even know if you know this, Kate and I, it might have been our first year … I don’t remember, but we were in New York seeing an August Wilson play, and we caught a glimpse of you and Pat at that play when we were leaving. We were all leaving. We just saw you. I don’t know if you even saw us. There was no way we could-

Will Freiert:

I don’t remember that.

Greg Kaster:

… even yell out to you. Yeah, it was a long time ago. But Will, I never told you, but this is my first thought honestly … Well, my first thought was, “Oh my God, there’s Will and Pat Freiert.” My second thought was, “That’s very reassuring. Two Gustavus colleagues at the theater here in New York City. Oh my God, that’s very good.” The stuff you’ve you’ve done with literature and theater, I just think is so cool. I’ve read just a little bit of Saul Bellow. I’m not, I have to say, a big Bellow fan. I don’t know if you are, but can you talk to us a little bit about Bellow and your interest in him and how you connect at least some of his writing to the classics?

Will Freiert:

Oh boy, that was so long ago, Greg, but Bellow was one of those people who was so well educated that the past just crawled into his work. And, he was very sophisticated but he was always making subtle illusions and he was always showing that these modern people who were so psychotic, or neurotic, were exactly the same people that we read about in college when we were reading Euripides. It is everywhere, but Bellow was one of those people that had … He just had such a terrific education. He loved to read. He just loved to play. You know Matt Rasmussen-

Greg Kaster:

Yes, the poet at Gustavus.

Will Freiert:

Of course. When he won his national award for his first book of poetry, the Walt Whitman award, he was going around saying, “Well, when I was a freshman, Will Freiert told all of us that we should study what we love, so I dropped my computer science major and started writing poetry.” That’s the same thing-

Greg Kaster:

We should study what we love and that’s what you’ve done, right? That’s exactly what you’ve done. And yeah, you do convey that to … Great advice. I try to give the same advice to students.

Will Freiert:

Sure.

Greg Kaster:

Oh my God, I can’t imagine studying something I didn’t love, or teaching something I didn’t love. But, I don’t know, if I read Bellow, I wouldn’t know, I wouldn’t pick up on it the way you can as a classist. But I just love that. Sometimes I think if I had read enough literature from antiquity … I did take a course on the Bible, which helped me immensely in my work on organized working men in the pre-Civil War period. Who knew their rhetoric is saturated with biblical references? I would have missed … but, I think there you go. You’re all set.

You come to Gustavus, is it what? 1972 I think I said. I’m not sure. And, is there a classics department a that point?

Will Freiert:

No. The classics had always been … My little project since I have had to stop teaching because of COVID, my little project has been put together a history of the classics department to put in the archives.

Greg Kaster:

That’s fantastic.

Will Freiert:

Yeah. So, classics has always … Latin and Greek, rather, I should say, has always been taught at Gustavus, but as Conrad Peterson said in his 1950s History of Gustavus, the feeling has always been that the faculty … This wasn’t faculty of Latin and Greek, but of all the faculty should be Lutheran clergy. This was back in the early decades of the college. So, they were always teaching Latin and Greek. One or sometimes two people. And, it’s been interesting to look back and read about those early days in the archives.

So when I was on the market, there was one person teaching here, Reverend Bertle Larson, who was a very sweet guy who was ready to retire. But, I was really fortunate. I had several possibilities, but the people I met on campus were so much more interesting and the things they talked about, things they asked me about in the interviews made me think, “Well, this is a place where I could keep learning. These are serious people.” And, I didn’t get that in other interviews.

Greg Kaster:

Just to interrupt, sorry, I had the exact same experience. Honest to God truth. I only interviewed on one other campus, which will go unmentioned. Nice, good school but when I came to Gustavus, I don’t think I met you, Will, but I met Doug Hoff and I met students, Tom Emmert, who became a colleague. Honest to God, I had the same feeling. I remember thinking, “Okay, I don’t know where I am.” My dad used to come to the Twin Cities when we were young. Anyway, but you just said it really well. This is a place where I could keep learning. These are interesting people. The colleagues and the students I was meeting, these are interesting people.

So, I don’t know. And, I think a lot of people who come to Gustavus just to visit still have that sense. But anyway, what you said just resonated with me.

Will Freiert:

Do you remember Max Hailperin?

Greg Kaster:

Of course, in mathematics. No, go ahead.

Will Freiert:

Oh, well his story is that when he was being interviewed, he was at a party that the math department was having and George [Karakis 00:31:53] was there, and George, a philosopher who’s now deceased, George got in a big argument with Max and was poking him in the chest. And Max thought to himself, “This is the kind of place I want to be.”

Greg Kaster:

That’s great. Will, now we’re reminiscing. I guess it was my first semester, I met George. I’d heard of George, and I’m Greek American on my dad’s side. So I went up to George after some event, we hadn’t met and I’m all excited, and George’s first comment to me was, “Do I know you?” In which case, “Oh, I love this guy. This is great.”

Will Freiert:

Right.

Greg Kaster:

Oh, man. So, you were hired to teach Latin and Greek basically, it sounds like?

Will Freiert:

Yeah, right. To take over for the chain of 100 years of ministers who had been teaching Latin and Greek. One of the other appealing things about Gustavus was that they were experimenting with joint contracts, so when my wife Patricia finished her dissertation two years later, she joined me on a joint contract. So, we were still one position but we could both work in the same institution. That was great and it helped with childcare later on when Michael came along. And then, about three or four years later, the college got a grant that had some positions and we got one in classics, and when Pat and I were interviewing Stuart Fleury, and explained to him why there were two of us interviewing him and holding a baby in the interview, he said, “Oh, well you should meet my wife.”

So, Stuart did turn out to be the most interesting and most successful … There were many candidates we interviewed. We’ve always interviewed as many people as we could possibly squeeze into a convention just to make sure we were doing it right. And so, we hired Stuart and Marlene, and then a year later, we got permission from the faculty to start a classics department, and Stuart was our first chair.

Greg Kaster:

Wow. So that was roughly what? 1979?

Will Freiert:

’79. ’78 they were hired, ’79 was when the department was founded.

Greg Kaster:

Okay. That’s amazing. So Kate and I came in ’86 and then Stuart and Marlene … there was no formal mentoring program, but they were certainly critical and formal mentors to us. And gosh, again, Stuart and Marlene, like you and Patricia, just interesting people, right?

Will Freiert:

Yes, absolutely.

Greg Kaster:

I still think, “Damn it, I wish I had been a classics major,” at least at Gustavus. I do. And, this high school teacher I still revere, I call him by his first name, Stan, but some people who are older … We Zoom with him … they still call him Mr. Moore, Stan Moore. But, he taught western civ at our public high school outside of Chicago, and honest to God, Will, if I had done all the reading … I mean, if you see these syllabi, my God. It was classics. That’s a lot of what it was. And, he was the one who was just making these incredible connections. And like you, now he’s … I don’t know … he’s going on 90 maybe. He’s still teaching at this … His wife, Jan, unfortunately … but he still teaches at this retirement place on North Shore Drive in Chicago.

He’s still making these connections, some Shakespeare play as a way to understand George W. Bush or something, and his relationship to his dad. Just that kind of stuff, I just love, but [crosstalk 00:35:50] … Go ahead.

Will Freiert:

The connections aren’t just to these things. I taught the myth course for [crosstalk 00:36:03] … The very, very first semester I started a course on mythology and it grew to be this huge, huge thing. But, one of the favorite things I loved about that course every time I taught it, I would have first Dick Fuller, and then after he retired Paul Saulnier come in and give a lecture on the participatory universe, that phrase of the physicist John Wheeler that makes the case for the fact that reality is created by the observers. That was what I was trying to get across by teaching mythology was this notion that narrative is our way of making sense out of the universe and what is, and the fact that it is all connected. It’s all there.

One of my favorite ideas is that nothing is ever lost. It is all present all the time, as Einstein would say. So, the connection isn’t just to the humanities disciplines. The connection is to world views that we get from science, as well.

Greg Kaster:

Right.

Will Freiert:

I love that book … go ahead.

Greg Kaster:

No, goa. You love-

Will Freiert:

No, I love that book, The Overstory by Richard Powers, which is about the way in which the biosphere protects the whole planet. I’m reading a really cool book now called Fathoms by a woman named Rebecca Giggs, G-I-G-G-S.

Greg Kaster:

I don’t know that book. What’s it about?

Will Freiert:

It’s about whales and-

Greg Kaster:

Oh wait, I do know that book. I haven’t read it. Yeah.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, well I’m only through a chapter or two, but it’s just fascinating to see the connections between the bottom of the sea and the rest of reality.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, that’s a book I want to read because a favorite alum, she was a bio-history double major at Gustavus. She’s an amazing marine biologist, and her specialty is whales.

Will Freiert:

Oh, no kidding?

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, honest to God. I got to go to her office. She persisted, like us at the start of this podcast, and she got a tenure track job in biology, and she’s a marine biologist, as I said, and she’s at Suffolk in Boston, but I got to hold … Man … baleen that she studies.

Will Freiert:

No kidding.

Greg Kaster:

It’s unbelievable. It felt like wood, first of all, but anyway, yeah. So, whales are cool. All that stuff, physics … and, it’s funny, when you say participatory universe, participatory democracy was the phrase that SDS, Students for a Democratic Society … We could go on, history, physics, but you anticipated a line of questioning here, and that is myth. You are famous, and you know that, for teaching the myth course. How many students would you have in there? It was packed, right?

Will Freiert:

At it’s peak, we had about 150. I would break it down. I learned from Kevin Burn, your colleague, to lecture twice a week and then break it down into 25 student discussions. So I would have four … Let’s see. I would have six discussion groups and then two lectures a week.

Greg Kaster:

Right. Yeah, that’s what we were doing in history, too, when [crosstalk 00:39:49] came. That was Kevin’s innovation and it made sense. But, that course, legendary … and, that’s no exaggeration, but talk to me, and us, the listeners, about myth. First of all, what is myth and why does it matter?

Will Freiert:

Well, myth is story. And, sitting around the campfires when we were living in the jungles, we told stories. And that’s how we figure out what is. We tell stories, and the stories, they’re particular things about particular women who have done particularly great things for their kids and so on. And, they get abstracted a little bit, and they get names and then the reality gets named after them, like Gaya, Mother Earth … gives is the etymology of our scientific name for the geosphere and geography. We just start with stories and make sense out of reality that way.

Greg Kaster:

So, myths really matter a lot, right? Some people just-

Will Freiert:

That’s really all there is. In 200 years, scientists are going to look at the amazing things that bottle our minds right now that science is coming up with and they’re going to say, “Look how quaint they were. They thought …”

Greg Kaster:

Well yeah, that’s right. You’re a historian at heart, too. You just reminded me, speaking of George Karakis, something he said. He’ll say, “We’ll all die right before they figure out how to keep us all living forever. They’ll finally solve that problem but we won’t benefit from it anyway.”

There are students … not just students, but some people who dismiss myth. “Well, that’s just a myth.” You hear that, that’s just a myth. But myth matters, I think, for exactly the reason you said. I loved the few myths I read with Stan Moore in high school. But, do you have a favorite to teach or to read?

Will Freiert:

I love teaching The Odyssey, which I wrote my dissertation on, and I just can’t … In fact, if the current plague enables us to teach in person again, and I get to teach an OLLI course, it will be on the latest translation of Homer’s Odyssey by a woman named Wilson. She’s the very first woman to have translated The Odyssey. Can you believe that?

Greg Kaster:

No.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, and it’s a wonderful translation. It’s not a wonderful translation because she has all these sexy modern feminist insights into it at all. It’s just that she is such a good translator that she makes the text come alive.

Greg Kaster:

I’m making a note.

Will Freiert:

I love comparing translations with students and will have them read one book of The Odyssey from one translation and then one from another so that they can see how different the text is. There’s this old wonderful Italian phrase that says [foreign language 00:43:30]. The translator is a traitor. Because, you’ve got to read it in the original language or you don’t really understand what it’s about.

So myth, yeah, of course it’s myth. Of course it’s a lie, but it’s actually the truth from one perspective.

Greg Kaster:

Love it. Yeah, that’s great. Oh man. Now I want to go read mythology. One of the things about you, as I mentioned in the intro, is not just what you teach, but how you teach it. You said earlier you wanted to be a teacher. I know it’s hard to talk about this. I mean, I think sometimes teaching, I don’t know how to put it into words, but can you help us? What does it mean to be an effective teacher? What did you do so well? What do you do so well as a teacher? What makes for good teaching?

Will Freiert:

Asking questions. In teaching myth, for discussion groups, we would always read plays, and I would always give the students a couple of dozen questions to think about. And, they’re not the kind of discussion questions you get at the back of texts that are published for high school students, which I find insipid. There are questions about what exactly did this person mean when she said such and such?

So, asking questions is, I think, the key. But, what I actually love most about teaching are those moments that James Joyce called epiphany moments when you’d be duking it out with a few students about something and the rest of the class would be either deleting email or scribbling furiously. And all of a sudden, a student’s face lights up and she has this ah-ha moment and you know, “Okay, somebody got something here.”

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, exactly. And that’s all we need. Go ahead.

Will Freiert:

The most recent example of that I had was … I think it must have been the last time I taught myth several years ago. I don’t know what we were discussing, but I made the comment that no reputable theologian would ever say that the divine is gendered. Two guys that were sitting in the back of the room, I thought they were deleting email or something, all of a sudden they grabbed their pens and started scribbling and I thought, “Okay, either they have gotten a great insight or they’re going to report me to the bishop.”

Greg Kaster:

Excellent.

Will Freiert:

But that’s the thing that makes teaching worthwhile, when you see a student’s face light up.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, and anyone who’s taught knows that it’s … I don’t know, you probably had that experience more than a lot of us, but it means everything. Or, the student who, a year later, two years later, whatever, writes you, now emails you or texts you today and says something. A student you haven’t been in touch with, and how much something, a book or a course meant. That’s what John Hallberg, we know, who’s a trustee at Gustavus, he had a professor at the Wharton School who talked about the psychological wage of teaching. You can’t really put a dollar price. It doesn’t come with a salary, right?

Wow, it’s so powerful. And just this morning, I was having breakfast with a retired principal and teacher in the Minneapolis public schools who was literally saying the same thing. He didn’t use the word epiphany but he and I were just talking in front of some people who aren’t teachers, who I think looked at us like maybe we were crazy about that experience, about having that experience.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, I know. One of my favorite students I taught at the University of Minnesota when I was a graduate student and he was a freshman, and he’s been a close friend ever since. And he teaches, he’s a professor at the University of Arkansas, and when I retired, my colleagues, it was just shameful. My colleagues threw such a blast that I’ve always said ever since then I won’t need a funeral. But, part of the celebration of getting rid of me was they invited my friend, Daniel Lavine from Arkansas to give a lecture. And, he gave this hilarious lecture on senility with my head imposed on the tops of Phallus, these ancient Greek statutes with phallus’s. It was just hilarious. But, the way in which Daniel talks about having been turned on in that first class he had with me 60 years ago or whatever it was is exactly that experience … when you see a student get excited by some passing thing that you said you’re in the right game.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, exactly. And so often, at least … maybe not often, but often … certainly occasionally you can’t predict what that thing is going to be.

Will Freiert:

Oh, you never can. You never can.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, you never can. It’s so funny. So many times I’ve thought, “Oh my God, these students are bored out of their minds.” And then, in fact the opposite is true. Teaching just … Well, there’s’ something about it that I think you can’t … It’s not something you learn just in a classroom or in a teacher ed program. We have a great teacher … but you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to experience it and you have to care. The other thing about you, Will, and I know I felt this as a student. I try to do it as a teacher is respecting the students.

If we want them to respect us, we have to respect them.

Will Freiert:

Absolutely.

Greg Kaster:

And, you are particularly good at that. And, that doesn’t mean not challenging them, right? Part of respecting them is, in fact, is to challenge them.

Will Freiert:

Sure.

Greg Kaster:

Anyway, that curiosity, the passion, the interest, the enthusiasm that you have, any great teacher has in that respect as well. We’re going to circle back to classics itself as a discipline, but I’m interested in hearing you talk a bit about the Paul Grandlin book you did, and I think maybe you’ve done some articles too. You can tell us more about Paul. I won’t … but go ahead, first, who was Paul and how did you get into that work?

Will Freiert:

Well, we met Paul in our first year here, and of course, he’s a celebrity and a major national, international sculptor, but he and his wife, Edna, who is still alive in her 90s were real campus celebrities. The first book that came out about Paul’s work was a collection of essays and poems that I was invited to submit one little entry for, quite early after my arrival at Gustavus. But then, in working on the book you alluded to that’s a collection of short essays with lots of pictures of Paul’s work, working with Paul on that was just this exact, wonderful, enriching experience that alluded to when I mentioned how coming to Gustavus, I met such interesting people.

Paul was a real intellectual, and in fact, when Paul died, one of his closest friends told somebody in the press … This appeared in the newspaper article about his death. His friend said, “Well, Paul was a Jesuit Lutheran.” By that, he meant that Paul was a real intellectual and conversations with him, they would be about the technique or what he was trying to do, but conversations with him would always go off into really deep, abstract ideas about reality. He was just an amazing combination of intellectual and sculptor. You could just feel it.

There are wonderful insights one can get from looking at his work, but the insights that were deepest were conversations with Paul. He was exactly the model of a liberally educated person. He used to joke … I think it was Paul who would joke that … Yeah, he did. He joked his father, who was a Lutheran pastor and a conservative one-

Greg Kaster:

Oh, I didn’t know that.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, he was afraid that Paul would go to Gustavus and study philosophy and lose his religion. Paul came to Gustavus and studied philosophy and lost his religion. But not in the deepest sense. I think that’s what his friend of his meant when he said, after Paul died, that he was a Jesuit Lutheran in that he was such an intellectual. And Paul finally did reconcile with his father when they worked together in getting the ideas for the sculptures around the doors of Christ Chapel.

Greg Kaster:

Oh wow, I didn’t know that. They’re beautiful.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, so his father had an impact on the ideas that Paul was using.

Greg Kaster:

The [crosstalk 00:54:35] … go ahead.

Will Freiert:

Oh, I was just going to say Paul was just the exact kind of person we were talking about at the beginning of our conversation. These interesting, interesting people who are always thinking about ideas.

Greg Kaster:

Yes. Well, when you look at his work for the book … Tell us what your approach in those essays? Was it to view his work through a classical lens?

Will Freiert:

No. No, not at all but rather to see connections. As I recall, I haven’t looked at it for a while. I don’t remember what I had for breakfast usually.

Greg Kaster:

That happens. We write things, then we forget what we wrote.

Will Freiert:

Tell me, but anyway-

Greg Kaster:

Our students do that. They can’t remember what they wrote 20 minutes ago.

Will Freiert:

[crosstalk 00:55:25] you’d get something back from the publisher and you’d think, “Wait, who wrote this? What was I thinking?” Anyway, that’s why we have colleagues. We can take it to them and we can say, “Could you please fill me in on this? What am I missing here?”

But in those essays, I was really just taking Paul’s ideas that I had gotten from long, long conversations with him and trying to just articulate them in a more succinct way.

Greg Kaster:

It’s neat what you’re saying about Paul and the conversation, and putting them together with the sculptures, because I have learned that … Well, for example, you know Priscilla Briggs in our art history department, photographer, and hearing her do a gallery talk some years ago where all right, there are her photographs, but to hear her speak about the thinking that went into them, suddenly I’m viewing them in a completely different light. It’s embarrassing to say in a way, but I think it was at that moment that I realized I want to know what artists, if they’ve left journals, if they’ve written. I mean, I want to read that stuff to understand their art better. It’s not like they just, “Oh, here. I put some paint on a canvas. I’m an artist.”

There’s great thinking. I can’t remember another exhibit where there was an artist’s … the diary … This is a long time ago. Anyway, that reminded me of that moment with Priscilla some years ago at a gallery up here in Minneapolis.

So as we wind down here, I want to circle back to classics itself again, as a teacher, you draw connections to the press and I wonder can you say more about why the classics matter? Why should we care about what happened in ancient Greek beyond just “Well, they went through what we’re going through.” What’s your case, I guess is what I’m … What’s your elevator pitch for classics?

Will Freiert:

Well, in a way we’ve made it they went through what we’re going through. In the profession, classics is at the height of controversy right now because people are saying all this old dead white male crap … From my point of view, we do not study the past because it’s admirable. We study the past because it’s connected to us so that we can now the present. There’s that old canard about those who don’t understand the past are doomed to repeat it, and it is an old canard, but at the same time, I really am proud of our classics department.

And, I feel as if from the very beginning, I was doing stuff that connected to now. The very first article I ever published was on Tony Morrison, and the very last article I published was on an Ojibwe novelist, David Troyer, and the last review of a book … I’ve written lot more reviews than I have actual scholarship, but the last review I wrote was of a book by a British woman named Tessa Roynon on Tony Morrison and the classical tradition. And, you have people like Rita Dove, the African-American who was the poet laureate in the ’90s … United States poet laureate in the ’90s. One of her best books is called Mother Love, and it’s poems about Demeter’s loss of perception.

So, it’s not that the classics is some ideal that we should all try to be exactly the way. It’s just the ideas that they had. There were some geniuses and these are ideas that we still have and are still reminiscing about. My wife, Patricia, who’s a classist, as you mentioned, became a classist initially because she was reading Lucretius in college and Lucretius’s poem, De Rerum Natura, is this beautiful, beautiful poem about Epicurean philosophy. There’s a book called Swerve that came about 10 or 15 years ago that makes the point that that book, that poem of Lucretius, is the ancient insight into contemporary physics and the way in which our intellectual culture works.

Classics today, is that what you were asking about, Greg? Sorry, I lost my train of thought.

Greg Kaster:

You got it. No, no, no. And as you’re talking, I’m listening. What I’m actually thinking as you’re speaking, you made some crack of about old dead white guys or something. There’s this idea too … Again, you know more about this and I’m going to ask you, but this idea that, “Well, that’s all Western stuff. That doesn’t really work across cultures,” but then I’m thinking you and Patricia spent a fair amount of time in Japan, right?

Will Freiert:

Yes, three years.

Greg Kaster:

Teaching and learning. Yeah, so what do you think of that idea, that “Well no, the classics would only make sense to …” Greco-Roman history, literature, all of that good stuff, only really makes sense to someone born in the west, educated … It doesn’t translate across culture. I would think that’s not true, right? There’s some universal stuff there to wrestle with.

Will Freiert:

Sure, of course. Our first trip to Japan was at the Kansai Gaidai exchange program, and we taught at this Japanese university in Kyoto, but the second time, I had a Fulbright lecture at the Tohoku University, and I was lecturing in the American Studies program. Our whole experience in Japan is a major part of who we are. And Patricia, while she was there the first time, got interested in Shibori zome, this method of dyeing, Japanese method of dyeing. That became really her … if high school teaching was her first career, teaching at Gustavus her second career, that became her third career because she became a major/minor national figure on-

Greg Kaster:

No, she’s good. It’s amazing stuff that she-

Will Freiert:

At the height of her shibori work, she wound up in about a dozen different galleries around the country, and in 2005, she did the shibori work for Christians and Christ Chapel that was really 3000 yards of dyeing that she and volunteers had helped her with, but she designed that.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, it was beautiful.

Will Freiert:

Yeah, but the deeper thing about our Japan experience is spirituality. In the middle ’90s, I was a participant in an NEH summer seminar on Japanese philosophy, and I got interested in Buddhism and that eventually led me into mindfulness, and in the first term seminar experience … I’ve done one on Japan for several years. I did one on the Trojan war for several years but most of my nine years of teaching in retirement, I was doing first term seminar on mindfulness. And, the ideas that I’ve acquired from mindfulness study over the years are perfectly consistent with the stuff that I have been learning both in grad school and at Gustavus all of these years.

I don’t know if you remember, in my last four years on the faculty actively, I had this … Hanson Peterson chair of the study [crosstalk 01:04:57]. The last year I think it was of that, I brought to campus Arthur Zajonc, who is a physicist from Amherst and who was … I’m not sure if he still is, but was an intimate friend of the Dali Lama and a major figure on the Center for Mindfulness in education. And so that whole notion of the deeper spirituality that one acquires in mindfulness practice is just an outgrowth of this whole approach that you and I have been talking about to learning. Mainly, that learning is fun and it’s play, it is exciting. And, it’s all about getting new ideas and saying, “Oh, wow.”

Greg Kaster:

Exactly.

Will Freiert:

The same kind of thing that Matt Rasmussen talked about.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, and I tell you, I guess if that ever stops for me, I hope it never does, I’ll know it’s time to stop teaching. But yeah, that feeling is such a wonderful feeling. When you were in Japan, were you teaching classics or not?

Will Freiert:

No, I was teaching American literature. Well, the first time it was mostly teaching English. That was at Kansai Gaidai. I mean, English language, which as a language teacher, we knew all the tricks. That was fun. I thought that Kansai Gaidai exchange was a wonderful program because it meant that eventually there were, I think, 25 different faculty members who had gone through that program and had brought Asia back to Gustavus. But, the second year, Tohoku University is the MIT of Japan, so it’s a major science university and so the humanities weren’t as strong there. So, I had one gig giving a course on Greek philosophy in the philosophy department, but mostly I was teaching in American Studies graduate program, and was teaching just works in American literature that I love, and mostly ones that I know well from there because of the fact that they use classical stuff so much.

But still-

Greg Kaster:

Well, if you were teaching American literature, then as I understand American literature through Will Freiert, you’re teaching the classics somehow. You’re still teaching the classics.

Will Freiert:

Sure, right.

Greg Kaster:

I understand situate the classics in the Western tradition, but there’s so much there that it seems to me it’s universal. It doesn’t matter … and, it would be true of other traditions, as well, right? I mean, I’d listen to our colleague, Paschal Kyoore in French from Ghana, talk about Ghanaian folk tales, and there’s so much there that is universal. So some of the stuff, I think isn’t … I guess what I’m trying to say, isn’t necessarily as culturally bound, as some might argue. [crosstalk 01:08:41] Yeah, exactly.

Will Freiert:

We’ve brought dozens of important lectures to campus over the years, and many of them have had exactly that focus that you’re talking about.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah, exactly. That’s another great thing about being in our line of profession. We get all these free, wonderful talks and dinners with interesting people from outside the campus. So, I want to conclude by asking you … I know you gave a talk about the liberal arts a long time ago, and I’m not asking you to remember it, but I know you can answer this question because honestly, it’s a question … So many of us, we talk about the liberal arts and how important they are, and what’s special about a place like Gustavus, a liberal arts college. So, maybe both things. Help us understand, what are the liberal arts first of all? I don’t mean just literally, but what do we mean? What do you mean when you think about the liberal arts and what’s special about a liberal arts college like Gustavus?

Will Freiert:

Well, we’ve come full circle, Greg.

Greg Kaster:

Yes.

Will Freiert:

Etymologically of course, liberal arts means the arts of a free person. That Latin word, liber, free. So, the liberal arts are not as opposed to the conservative arts.

Greg Kaster:

Yes, that’s a problem.

Will Freiert:

They are the arts, the studies that deal with ideas. And so, it is about everything we’ve been talking about. It’s about liberal arts education is important because it enables one to make connections. It enables one to see how this relates to that and how the universe really does fit together. Nothing is lost. And I always say I don’t believe in time, and that seems like a very weird stance in reality. I mock myself because I’m always nervous that my wife Patricia’s going to make us late for something, but in reality, it’s all here. It’s all now. And, it’s by studying the liberal arts, the so-called liberal arts, or the humanities … that one. And, that includes the hard sciences in that we can make sense of reality and we can acquire some personal peace and sense of growth and sense of accomplishment by knowing that these things go with those things.

Greg Kaster:

I couldn’t agree more. I do this, too. I make the practical case for the liberal arts and the humanities, but ultimately what still thrills me about them, and that’s a great definition, by the way, thank you … which I’ll be repeating, citing you, but it’s what you just said. Beyond all the practical stuff, just that peace and that growth and that, if I may, to connect to the podcast, learning how to learn for life, to make your life richer in every kind of way. And so, I’m so grateful. I didn’t know it at the time, I had such a terrific liberal arts education in a public high school. That’s now closed, sadly. And then, at Northern Illinois University where I took courses in Shakespeare and the Bible and history, of course. But yeah, you’re preaching to the choir here, so thank you.

This has been a pleasure and I could keep going. God knows.

Will Freiert:

Sure, right.

Greg Kaster:

In fact, I have no idea how long we’ve been going, but I don’t care. It’s been a blast and fun. Will, thank you so much. Are you going to keep doing the Osher teaching or is that on hold?

Will Freiert:

I will, if I don’t have to do on soon. If I can do it in person, I will try at least one more time. But I’m 80 now and-

Greg Kaster:

You’re 80. Oh my God. That can’t be.

Will Freiert:

I am 80 years old.

Greg Kaster:

Good Lord.

Will Freiert:

So, it’s getting a little tricky to be the gallivanting around the country.

Greg Kaster:

Wow. First of all, I can’t believe that, for a lot of reasons, but anyway-

Will Freiert:

If you have the time for a story about it-[crosstalk 01:13:20].

Greg Kaster:

I was thinking we have so much to learn … Oh, of course. Please.

Will Freiert:

Okay. One of my favorite places in Greece is Ithaca, and we were sitting there next to last time we were there … sitting on a balcony overlooking this beautiful, beautiful harbor in Ithaca, the home of Odysseus. And, it was such an idyllic moment then, we both knew this was going to be the last time we could ever get back there. And we were sitting on a balcony in a little art boutique hotel and Patricia looked over at me and said, “Maybe we could come back one more time.” So, maybe I’ll do [inaudible 01:14:05] one more time.

Greg Kaster:

You got to do it. You have to do that. And, go back.

Will Freiert:

I don’t know about that.

Greg Kaster:

I don’t know, it’s 1:11 or something like that here now. I’m getting hungry and I’m thinking of a time … This is another Will Freiert, which I don’t think … One of the first times I met you was at some party, a Gustavus party, and I don’t know if it was you or Patricia, it was the best damn Greek salad that I’d had outside of Greektown, which was a second home to me because of my dad, but oh my God. I remember complimenting you-

Will Freiert:

Your boss talked about Patricia’s broccoli prosciutto using an ancient Greek recipe in your last podcast.

Greg Kaster:

Stuart was a great cook. [crosstalk 01:14:57] My God, something about the classicists, they know how to cook. Well, we’ll have to get together and talk in person at some point. Thank you so much. This has been just a real pleasure, always. And, I really mean this when … It’s how I feel when I’m done with these podcasts. I just want to go do more learning, so thank you for all that you’ve done to bring Gustavus along. The classics department, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, is just one of the best. It’s an incredible department.

Will Freiert:

It really is. The best thing that I have ever done for Gustavus was to hire those fire people that are now the tenured.

Greg Kaster:

Yeah. Well, you and Patricia and the Flores, you paved the way. It’s a phenomenal department. The proof is there in so many ways, including what your alums do in all walks of life.

So, Will, take good care, stay well. And, I don’t know, we’ll see you in Ithaca.

Will Freiert:

Yes, Yes. Thank you, Greg. It’s been great.

Greg Kaster:

All right, thanks a lot. Bye-bye. See you.

Learning for Life at Gustavus is produced by JJ Akin and Matthew Dobosenski of the Gustavus Office of Marketing, Gustavus graduate, Will Clark, class of ’20, who also provides technical expertise to the podcast, and me. The views expressed in this podcast are not necessarily those of Gustavus Adolphus College.

 

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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