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I have just learned of Dr. Simpson's death, and have been in contact with friends who also studied under him. More than any other human being, Dr. Simpson epitomized for me scholarship and spirituality. I went to Whitworth with a mind formed (and limited) by rigid fundamentalism, and I left having learned to expand my outlook immeasurably. The phrase "the human condition" evokes for me his wise understanding of our fallibility, yet our ability to come back again and again to new starts. My theology today has its basis in his teaching, a far more generous theology than I had known before.
Fifty years after leaving Whitworth, when I remember my experience, I remember first Dr. Simpson's classes.
Alice Brubacher Thorn, '59
Thanks for the recent issue of Whitworth Today, in particular the several pieces on Clem Simpson. I was recently asked to submit stories about integrity to a friend writing a book on leadership. Hearing that Dr. Simpson had passed led me to the computer, and I've sent off a copy. (See Paul's stories online at www.whitworth.edu/ whitworthtoday.)
Paul Chafee, '67
Though he focused with a specialist's intensity on literature and the Scriptures and history and culture, Dr. Simpson taught me to be a generalist. He would always subtly and suddenly leap from the particulars to talk about big things, things that matter.
He knew that God could shine out of the ordinary at any moment. He knew, with Gerard Manley Hopkins, that "the world is charged with the grandeur of God./ It will flame out like the shining from shook foil," often when we least expect it. And so we'd better stay attentive and expectant. That's what I learned from my teacher, Dr. Simpson.
I thank God for this powerful teacher in my life. In whatever ways we must change education in the future, adjusting our economic models, we cannot lose sight of [the] special, sometimes mysterious, encounter between professor and student.
Phil Eaton, '65