Forty years ago, September 1976, my first class at UMBC was Geography 100. It was held in the basement of Social Sciences, Room 101, in an awful classroom. The faculty member teaching the course was the quintessential faculty member. He was a bald white male, dressed in a sports coat with leather patches on the elbows, smoking a pipe, and had a deep bass voice -- his name was Dr. John Starr.
Dr. Starr was an incredible instructor and I ended up taking at least three courses with Dr. Starr while at UMBC. The one I remember most fondly was transportation geography. Dr. Starr had a passion for transportation, especially the port of Baltimore, and to this day, that was the only college course I took that had a field trip. He arranged for us to go to Baltimore and take a boat that went across the port and allowed Dr. Starr to share his immense knowledge of the port and how it fit into the broader transportation system of the United States and the world.
From the first semester on through graduation, every time I encountered Dr. Staff we would greet me in his deep bass voice and ask how I was doing. I know that without faculty like Dr. Starr, I wouldn't of succeeded at UMBC. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, I just want to say thank you!