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  1. #1
    All-Conference xudash's Avatar
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    X A V I E R

  2. #2
    Voice of Reason Masterofreality's Avatar
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    A wonderful man- originally from Cleveland’s West Side and a graduate and benefactor of our parish St. Colman.
    His relatives are still active in it and we’re very appreciative.
    The Geschke’s are a wonderful family.
    "I Got CHAMPIONS in that Lockerroom!" -Stanley Burrell

  3. #3
    Supporting Member X-man's Avatar
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    I had the good fortune of hearing his address to Xavier graduates a few years back when he received an alumni award and was part of the stage party. Being on the faculty, I have heard (seemingly) hundreds of such speeches. They generally all sound the same, full of platitudes and eminently forgettable lines. Geschke's talk was the best I ever heard, and I have never forgotten his basic message to Xavier grads. Briefly, they were these two bits of advice.

    First, always treat the people around you the way you would wish to be treated in the same situation. His anecdote was about what happened at the end of his first year of graduate school (in physics, I believe, at Pitt). After the final exam, the one that eliminates weaker students, a faculty member asked the students who scored well to tell the ones that didn't that they were not invited back. They drew straws, and Geschke drew the uneviable task of telling the bad news to his classmate. Geschke fretted for hours about how to do it, and finally chose a gentle way to break the news in the way he thought he would have wanted to be told had it been him. The student was upset, of course, but left the program.

    The second bit of advice was to be open to new ideas and be flexible with your life plans. For him, it meant that when that same student he had been kind to in telling the bad news contacted him a couple years later asking him if he would be interested in getting involved with some evolving computer programming technology, he said "yes". That student had transferred to another graduate program in computer science after leaving the Pitt program, and gotten involved with some interesting ideas. Geschke found himself drawn ever more deeply into this "extracurricular" activity to the point that his wife finally asked him which academic work gave him more pleasure, physics or computer science. After giving it some thought, he left the physics program and transferred to Carnegie in the computer science program. The rest is history.

    The point he was making was that had he not been kind to his fellow physics student, he never would have been approached to work in this new area. And had he not been open to new ideas, he would not have taken advantage of this life-changing opportunity. Wonderful advice.

    I may have some of the details wrong. In fact I see that some of my recollection conflicts with details in the WSJ obituary. Not surprising. It was, after all, many years ago. But my main details are an accurate representation of what he said that day, and his message is one that I have never forgotten. I hope the Xavier grads also listened to his story and never forgot his important message as well.
    Last edited by X-man; 04-20-2021 at 02:29 PM.
    Xavier always goes to the NCAA tournament...Projecting anything less than that this season feels like folly--Eamonn Brennan, ESPN (Summer Shootaround, 2012)

  4. #4
    All-Conference xudash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-man View Post
    I had the good fortune of hearing his address to Xavier graduates a few years back when he received an alumni award and was part of the stage party. Being on the faculty, I have heard (seemingly) hundreds of such speeches. They generally all sound the same, full of platitudes and eminently forgettable lines. Geschke's talk was the best I ever heard, and I have never forgotten his basic message to Xavier grads. Briefly, they were these two bits of advice.

    First, always treat the people around you the way you would wish to be treated in the same situation. His anecdote was about what happened at the end of his first year of graduate school (in physics, I believe, at Pitt). After the final exam, the one that eliminates weaker students, a faculty member asked the students who scored well to tell the ones that didn't that they were not invited back. They drew straws, and Geschke drew the uneviable task of telling the bad news to his classmate. Geschke fretted for hours about how to do it, and finally chose a gentle way to break the news in the way he thought he would have wanted to be told had it been him. The student was upset, of course, but left the program.

    The second bit of advice was to be open to new ideas and be flexible with your life plans. For him, it meant that when that same student he had been kind to in telling the bad news contacted him a couple years later asking him if he would be interested in getting involved with some evolving computer programming technology, he said "yes". That student had transferred to another graduate program in computer science after leaving the Pitt program, and gotten involved with some interesting ideas. Geschke found himself drawn ever more deeply into this "extracurricular" activity to the point that his wife finally asked him which academic work gave him more pleasure, physics or computer science. After giving it some thought, he left the physics program and transferred to Carnegie in the computer science program. The rest is history.

    The point he was making was that had he not been kind to his fellow physics student, he never would have been approached to work in this new area. And had he not been open to new ideas, he would not have taken advantage of this life-changing opportunity. Wonderful advice.

    I may have some of the details wrong. In fact I see that some of this story conflicts in details with those in the WSJ obituary. It was, after all, many years ago. But my main details are an accurate representation of what he said that day, and his message is one that I never forgot it. I hope the Xavier grads absorbed and also never forgot this important message as well.
    Thank you for sharing this. A wonderful story, and a wonderful message to share with fellow Xavier graduates.
    X A V I E R

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