SMU professors display unique trinkets behind office doors

William Gosney holds the remote control to an electronic helicopter inside of his Lyle School of Engineering office. He pushes a button, sending the chopper hovering above the various electrical engineering books and radio equipment on the floor. A smile spreads across his face.

He then picks up another helicopter model dating back to the 1950s, which he bought at High Street Antiques in Plano for about $100. It was originally sold for about a dollar.

“Everything has a story behind it,” said Gosney, a professor of electrical engineering. “I enjoy aviation, radio control devices and demonstrating evolution in technology.”

gosney.jpg
Electrical Engineering Professor William Gosney shows off his model helicopters inside of his SMU Lyle School of Engineering office. Photo credit: Rebecca Ragsdale

Like Gosney, many SMU faculty members have numerous works of art, electronics, mementos and other trinkets concealed behind their office doors. Some may display the objects in their office to remind themselves of their own achievements, or the success of former students, or maybe to spark inspiration within.

“It’s really interesting to see the different objects you find in a professor’s office,” said senior communications and English major Megan Perry. “It gives you insight into their personality.”

While in Professor of Medieval Studies Bonnie Wheeler’s office, Perry was captivated by a piece of authentic chainmail armour dating back to the Middle Ages.

Senior journalism major Brandon Brigham has also seen intriguing possessions inside of Journalism Professor Carolyn Barta’s office including photographs of her with George W. Bush and numerous political cartoons and articles on the walls.

“We forget that professors have lives outside of school,” said Brigham.

Director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program Rick Halperin has several pieces of artwork in his office created by students in his human rights classes over the years.

One canvas, which sits at the top of a shelf, is adorned with a red cross, a black background and a beige noose. The painting’s message about the death penalty resonates with Halperin. This is his favorite piece of art in his office, an adaption of the original completed by a former student several years ago.

Halperin.jpg
SMU Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin displays his former student’s artwork in his Clements Hall office. Photo credit: Rebecca Ragsdale

“There’s a different story behind it than any of the others,” he said. “It’s the one that got away.”

Halperin wishes he had the original, which was sold for around $5000 from an art gallery in Deep Ellum.

Senior Lecturer Barbara Kincaid also displays many unique items inside of her Edwin L. Cox School of Business office. In addition to her two law degrees, Kincaid has received many accolades for her teaching. Some of the achievements displayed in her office include the Rotunda Outstanding Teaching Award, Willis M. Tate Faculty Award, and 15 Cox School Outstanding Instructor Awards.

“To me, it’s all interesting or it wouldn’t be in here,” said Kincaid, glancing at the awards that cover her office walls. “Everything’s a part of who I am.”

However, there is one object in her office that stands out from her various awards: Her badges from Western Europe.

Kincaid.jpg
SMU Cox School of Business Professor Barbara Kincaid displays her collection of patches from her travels. Photo credit: Rebecca Ragsdale

“They’re from a trip I took with my family while I was in high school,” said Kincaid, while touching the frame.

The cloth badges represent her love for travel. In Western Europe, Kincaid has been to countries including England, Scotland, East Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland.

SMU Class Piano Coordinator Kevin Gunter’s office in Meadows School of the Arts is the home of an object you won’t find in many places: A piano that records a piece of music and sends it across the country.

An educator for SMU’s Pedagogy Master’s Program and the Piano Preparatory Department, Gunter has played the piano since the second grade. He’d always wanted to become a music instructor, but never knew his talent would take him to Meadows.

gunter.jpg
SMU Class Piano Coordinator Kevin Gunter demonstrates love of the piano located inside of his Meadows office. Photo credit: Rebecca Ragsdale

“It’s just a joy to be around here because I get to teach private lessons,“ said Gunter. “For me to be around these people is very inspiring.”

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *