Smith Brain Trust / November 15, 2017

Profs Reminisce About Their Best Gifts Ever

Profs Reminisce About Their Best Gifts Ever

Miles Davis Poster to Pocket Calculator

SMITH BRAIN TRUST – Some people are just absurdly difficult to buy presents for. But it does feel great when, every once in a while, you manage to nail it, finding the perfect gift that will be remembered fondly for years and years. Smith Brain Trust roamed the halls of Van Munching Hall recently, asking faculty members to think back on the best gifts they’ve ever received. Here’s what they said: 

"When I started dating my wife, Isabel, I quickly learned that gift giving is a huge part of the Mozambican culture. As an avid shopper, Isabel has considerable talent at scoring the perfect gift. Sure enough, she got me an iconic poster of my favorite artist, Miles Davis. I have been a fan of this protean composer and legendary trumpeter for years. The poster captures Miles’ ever-present coolness. He exudes an air of confidence that comes after years of mastery over one's art." —Henry C. Boyd III, clinical professor of marketing

"The best gift I ever received was five shares of the common stock of Long Island Lighting when I was 12 years old. This $100 gift transformed my life. Until then the only part of my local newspaper (New York Times) that I read was the sports section. After receiving this gift I read the business section first and developed my interest in, and passion for, economics and finance. This paved the way for my later education and current career." —David Kass, clinical professor of finance

"For our 25th anniversary, my husband and I gave each other a condo in Florida, which we use now as a vacation home. It will be our home when we retire." —Elinda F. Kiss, clinical associate professor of finance

"The best gift I have ever received is a piano from my parents. I began studying piano at age 5 and have taken 21 years of lessons – mostly classical but also some jazz. My parents gave me a piano for the home I bought in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where my academic career began; to this day this is among my most treasured gifts since it continues to bring joy (music) into my home." —Debra L. Shapiro, the Clarice Smith Professor of Management

"A very early version of a pocket calculator when I was in second grade (1973). Calculators were officially banned from school, but my parents thought that my interest in math would overshadow the potential shortcomings of having what was then called a 'cheating machine.' They were right. I loved math ever since. I wish that smartphones will, in the end, prove to make our next generation smarter." —Oliver Schlake, clinical professor of management and organization

"The best gifts are those which involve doing something with my daughters or grandchildren. One gift was a spa day with all three daughters — pedicures and manicures. The three of us chatted and laughed together, for those few hours, with not a care in the world!" —Susan White, clinical professor of finance



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