Princeton in the 1960s had its fair share of best-ever educational experiences. One of them was the Slavic languages department. A number of us were so blessed.
Richard Burgi was one of the department’s great teachers. He was the enthusiast’s enthusiast – dedicated, serious, energetic, humorous, and inspiring. He had many languages at his command and often would refer to them in explaining parts of Russian grammar. He would stride up and down the class, calling on students and requesting that they “give, please, a complete answer.” The classes were hard, time-consuming, and fun. It was a privilege to be able to participate in such earnest striving for excellence.
A few years ago, there was a mini reunion organized by classmates who had taken at least 2 ½ years of Russian. Although we were grateful and pleased that the other wonderful Russian teachers came, Mr. Burgi was unable to attend. I know that we all missed him – as we shall continue to do – while treasuring our memories of him and what he taught us.
Thanks to PAW for publishing the In Memoriam (Campus Notebook, Sept. 19), celebrating him and letting us know.