“I was at SMC for 36 years and never worked a day in my life!”
To explain his curious “work ethic” Dick Dodge says, “I just enjoyed every facet of being involved with SMC. In my last job as administrator (directing the Center for the Humanities) I realized we had plumbers, electricians, police. A whole city! And they are all such dedicated people.”
Dick has seen the college mushroom since his arrival in 1956. “When I first came, the English Department had six teachers. Now there are 109. And we have 24,000 students at SMC.” Now thoroughly immersed in retirement (“what Gore Vidal refers to as the dawn of his senility”) Dick looks back with great fondness on what he refers to as his “wonderful voyage at SMC.” He will doubtless always be remembered as the teacher responsible for introducing a certain Mr. Schwarzenegger to the English language. “In fact, I saw Arnold three weeks ago,” he says, “and I’m told he does an absolutely devastating Dick Dodge imitation.”
Among his accomplishments while at SMC, Dick lists “21 books on everything from basketball to ghost-written titles for Hollywood millionaires.” But it’s always been the teaching that was his sweetest situation. “In my writing classes it was such fun to create a place where people weren’t frightened. To watch them change, master some skills and develop a sense of ‘ear,’ a sense of style.” Though Shakespeare was always his passion, Dick’s last two classes found him teaching remedial English to struggling students. “And in the ego-related field of teaching,” he says, “those two classes were the perfect way to leave it after 36 years.”
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