In a time when teaching machines and batteries of educational tests seem to be determining the intellectual nobility of the next generation, this story has meaning for all of us.
On the way over to the Administration offices Professor Roy Thomas McCord was stopped several times by students and colleagues offering congratulations. He tried to protest their prematureness but they brushed his objections aside. They all knew he'd come through.
He'd expected in the period it would take to stroll to Peterson's office to find time to read a few pages of the book of verse he'd brought along, but he was interrupted often enough that he gave up.
A youngster named Doolittle, an earnest chap in Physics who probably was going to flunk out this term, took off his hat and said breathlessly, "Everybody says you've made it, sir."
"Thanks." Roy said. "Everybody seems to think so but me. Quite the most difficult tests I've ever seen. It should give the I.R.M.s quite a mechanical headache grading them. Good heavens, Doolittle, put your hat back on. Do you think I'm a lady?" He laughed in embarrassment.
Doolittle said earnestly, "Academician. Only the third one this school has produced. And you're hardly more than thirty, sir."
"Well, that's no reason to take your hat off."
"It is for me, sir."
"Oh, get along with you, Doolittle. But thanks, again."
In Peterson's anteroom, Nadine looked up from her desk and beamed at him. "It's all over that you took highest awards, Professor McCord. Or should I say, Academician McCord?"
Roy tried to keep from flushing. "I haven't heard officially, Nadine. But anyway, the name is Roy, if you'll recall"
"Hardly," she grinned back at him. "We can hardly call the school's only living Academician by his first name."
His smile was a bit on the wan side. "I'm not sure I'm going to like it then." She was speaking in jest but there was all too much truth in what she said.
Nadine said, "Superintendent Peterson is waiting for you. Just go right in." She chuckled her soft Nadine laugh. "In fact, sir, I doubt if you'll ever be waiting in this office for an appointment ever, ever, again. Not even a 'Superintendent of Deans allows an Academician to wait on him."
"Go on with you," Roy said uncomfortably. "And don't call me sir. You make me feel old."
"Your mother called," Nadine said after him. "Said to be sure you didn't forget this afternoon."
"All right," he said over his shoulder. "Thanks, Nadine."
Adam Peterson wasn't ordinarily the type to gush, but today he was absolutely overflowing. Of course, it didn't hurt the school's reputation, nor his, to have produced a scholar of Roy Thomas McCord's aptitudes.