Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals: Essays in Honor of Donald R. Griffin

By Donald R. Griffin; Carolyn A. Ristau | Go to book overview

REMINISCENCES

We planned a surprise celebratory dinner for Don Griffin (DRG) in Williamstown after the Animal Cognition symposium and before the next day's more general symposium in his honor. Several people gathered the names of all the persons we could recall who were students or close associates of Don Griffin. In particular, Ron Larkin, now of the Illinois State Natural History Survey, worked with me, but Timothy and Janet Williams of Swarthmore College helped as did Roger Payne. As I remember, Roger both initially suggested and helped persuade Donald Kennedy, a former student of DRG's and now President of Stanford, to be the Master of Ceremonies for the evening (a great choice!). Don Kennedy's advice: Keep the talks about Don Griffin short, funny, and not too sentimental.

So we were in cahoots -- Cheryl Szabo, Don Griffin's secretary; Jocelyn Crane Griffin, his wife; and myself, his research associate. That year Don had already "retired" from Rockefeller University (would that some of us in our prime could get done what he does in his "retirement"), and I was teaching 90 miles away at Vassar College. Don's secretary, whose services I was always permitted to use, had secret files on her word-processing disk with addresses of the dinner guests, menu choices, and so forth. My daughter and her best friend were pressed into service addressing mounds of envelopes in 11-year-old scrawls. Sometimes in the midst of deciding between a banquet menu with Breast of Chicken Divan or Veal Cutlet Cazadora on it I thought of the papers I should be writing, but realized in a sense that all this was far more important. His ever efficient, now retired secretary of 17 years, Roseanne Kelly, was the first to respond, though unfortunately unable to go the long distance and attend.

-xv-

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