Dear Barrett,

I am pleased to wish you a happy birthday. This occasion gives me the opportunity to thank you for all you have done. It is certain that there will be many notes to you that cast your accomplishments in light of the big picture. Those contributions certainly are many. I prefer to make this letter one expressing my personal gratitude.

Like just about everybody else on campus, I met you as a student in your management class (back in the late 1970s). You continue to be impressive in large lecture situations, but it was in my senior year that I felt I got to know you best. I volunteered as a TA for EN 6. Since I had not taken the class before I felt it would be helpful to attend the lectures. What a great experience. I often think I learned more "real" electronics in that class than I did in the traditional engineering courses I had taken.

Years later, when I had returned to Brown for grad school, you still remembered me. My graduate student situation became very depressing and the outlook bleak. The day after I told my wife I was going to quit, I bumped into you on campus. Here again, you showed interest in me. You seemed disturbed about my situation and insisted that we visit the graduate school to find a solution. Without that meeting, I would have walked away from Brown. Instead I was able to complete my PhD, thanks to your help. I am most grateful to you for this. Needless to say, that degree-which you made attainable for me-has been valuable in my career.

Your personal selfless acts such as this are not something one can "pay back." I now spend some of my efforts in service to the university in an effort to "pay forward" to others the kindness and help I received from you. While you just think you are being yourself, you have been a model for many. When I grow up, I'd like to be like Barrett Hazeltine. As you say when parting, "peace."


David A. Durfee
Class of 1980, SCM '87, PhD '92
Scituate, RI

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