The 1970s were tumultuous times, as this photo from the 1972 Lexicon attests. But what happened on the streets stayed pretty much on the streets, as alumnus Richard Friedman recalls one especially fine and even-tempered professor, Vincent Skudrna.
Having written several tribute articles about his memorable Baruch College psychology professors, alumnus Richard Friedman (’72) shares this humorous homage to a professor outside of his undergraduate major, Professor Vincent Skudrna of the Department of Computer Information Systems.

[dropcap sid=”dropcap-1446142553″]I[/dropcap]t was the spring term of 1972, my last semester before graduating with my Baruch BBA in industrial psychology. That meant: (1) My mother kept reminding me of her $50-per-semester contribution to my college education and of her great expectations for me in the business world. (2) My student draft deferment was about to end, and my low draft lottery number, 53, increased my prospect of being drafted. (3) The U.S. Recession of 1973 was approaching. In other words, it was the best of times and the worst of times.

My way of dealing with stress has always been humor, so I employed this strategy in that final semester, especially in my required introductory computer information systems course, STAT 357, which was taught by Professor Vincent Skudrna.

Professor Skudrna was very gracious in accepting my comical, sometimes-interrupting interjections. It wasn’t until the final day of class that he came up to me and said, “Don’t do this again, as some students complained to me about your class comedy.”

It’s been more than 40 years since our student-professor banter, and I realize Professor Skudrna is deserving of overdue thanks.

So thank you for your great tolerance, Professor Skudrna, wherever you are. I enjoyed your playing straight man and your memorable retorts, like when you returned the class’s papers on computer applications in our respective fields and said, “Friedman did his research from The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.” Touché.

—Richard Friedman (’72) is a retired math teacher living in Florida.


Other Faculty Tributes by Richard Friedman (’72)

No Substitute for Professor John Bauer: Richard Friedman (’72) on the Psychology Department Legend

Inspiring Professor Jay Finkelman: Richard Friedman (’72) Remembers