Rick Gilberg ’74


My second semester there was a visiting professor from Hebrew University in Jerusalem named Shlomo Avineri, who’s still around and still quoted in the New York Times a lot on Israel issues, and he was teaching this course on Marx and Hegel.


As a young sort of anti-war, politically active guy, I wanted to take this course and I went to him, and he said it was all upperclassmen, but wait a week or so, and maybe there’d be an opening or two, but I’d have to write a paper to get in.


And I said, “Okay; I’m interested, and if there’s an opening, and you think I’m good enough, I’d like to take it pass-fail.


And he said, “What’s pass-fail?”


And I said, “Well, I can take that as an option here, freshman year.”


 “Not in my class.”


So I went back to my room and I looked in the mirror and I’m like, “Well, this is a moment of truth. Am I really going to be able to cut it here?” And I said, “Well, look, it’s an upper level class course, if I do well on the paper and he lets me in the class and I get a C or a D, chalk it up to experience.”


 I wrote the paper, he let me in, I got an A plus in the course, and I said, “This is the place for me.” 


And it was.


Excerpted from the Wesleyan Storytelling Project