George a great community leader
In the early 1980s, I took a class at McMaster on the staple theory of economic growth. The professor was Peter George. I don’t remember much about the content, but I do remember one particular day.
We had a very loud student who would often talk to his neighbour throughout the class. It was often difficult to hear what Professor George was saying and after one or two classes, he’d had enough. During one lecture, the student began talking and unbeknownst to the student, he put down his chalk and quietly walked over to where the young man was sitting and sat down beside him. After a few moments, the student sensed the awkwardness in the room and realized that the professor was sitting beside him.
Once he stopped talking, Professor George leaned over and in a voice loud enough for all of us to hear said, “I’m trying to figure out why you are talking through my class. I’ve decided it’s one of two things: either you already know everything or you are just ignorant, which one is it?” The student said nothing, left at the end of the lecture and I don’t believe ever returned.
That was my memory of Professor George, a man who took his lectures seriously, did not suffer fools and who when confronted with a problem quickly resolved it. I am sure that these same qualities served him well over his career as professor, president and vice-chancellor. He was a great leader for McMaster and a community builder for Hamilton. My condolences to his family. Howard Williamson, Class of 1982, Dundas