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On Safari-in the Backyard

Rod Searcey

COURSE OF HISTORY: Siegel shows sophomores Andy Goldsworthy's Stone River, sculpted from campus sandstone blocks toppled by the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes.

Robert Siegel is an associate professor of microbiology and immunology but is likely to first identify himself as a former Stanford Tree.

So it's not exactly surprising that this summer, Siegel, '76, MA '77, MD '90, created the Stanford Safari class for Sophomore College (which offers short, concentrated courses ahead of the fall term). His rapture about all things Stanford inspired the design of the class, devoted to an up-close look at the history, culture and physical environment of the University.

The 14 students enjoyed events including a private performance by the Stanford Dollies, a demonstration of two organs in Memorial Church and a three-day trip to Stanford Sierra Camp and Leland Stanford's Sacramento mansion. They also worked with Siegel to compile memorable quotes from the long list of Stanford notables who met with the class. Among the results:

David Harris, '67, campus activist during the Vietnam War and student body president in 1966, on what he tells callers soliciting donations for Stanford: “Look, I'm giving you four million dollars each year by not being student body president.”

Medical School dean Phillip Pizzo: “At Stanford, we are not trying to just train physicians, we are trying to change the world.”

Nobel Prize winner and physics professor Douglas Osheroff on research: “I know two Nobel laureates who have fingers missing from experiments with gunpowder.”

University organist Robert Huw Morgan on music: “Churches come, churches go. Organs remain.”

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