The Past Is Always Present
For more than three decades, Dr. Brian Strayer enjoyed sharing what he called “the past is always present” (historical snippets tying the distant past to the present) at the beginning of every Civilizations class. These ranged from the original meanings of words like “sincere” and expressions like “true blue” to the Ancient beginnings of such modern practices as applying makeup, playing table games, and enjoying air conditioning.
Recently, it seems, Dr. Strayer’s own distant past has reached forward to touch his present. Nearly sixty years ago, when Strayer attended a tiny Adventist church school in Union Springs, NY, he took classes in the early 1960s with the Cash boys—Bill, Larry, and Freddy—whose parents, Robert and Kathryn Cash, were faculty members at Union Springs Academy. Brian and the Cash boys played softball, joined Pathfinders, and ate their baked bean and alfalfa sprouts sandwiches for school lunches (their mothers were deep into health reform!).
Two decades later, when Strayer was working on his PhD degree at the University of Iowa, Mrs. Kathryn Cash, then living in Michigan, typed his 1987 doctoral dissertation on her home computer. A few years after that, Dr. Bill Cash, then on the faculty of St. Mary’s College in South Bend, IN, helped Dr. Strayer revise his dissertation for publication as the book Lettres de Cachet and Social Control in the Ancien Regime with Peter Lang Press in 1992.
A few weeks ago, Strayer learned that the very first contributor to the newly established Brian E. Strayer History and Political Science Student Research and Travel Endowed Fund was none other than Dr. Bill Cash of California! Dr. Cash’s gift of several hundred dollars will enable Dr. Strayer to send his childhood friend the Excalibur sword letter opener and solid glass receptacle that sat on his desk for decades.
If you are good friend or former student of Dr. Strayer, may we count on you to send a generous gift to Andrews University to assist history and political science majors with their research, travel, and presentation expenses? Dr. Strayer is eager to send you an autographed book from his personal library (for a $50 gift), the replica Rose Window from Chartres Cathedral that hung in his office window (for $100), the framed painting of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud that hung on his office wall (for $1000), or one of those magnificent swords hand-crafted in Toledo, Spain that he loved to bring to Civ. classes (for $5000).
Please send your check, made out to “Andrews University” with “Strayer Endowed Fund” on the subject line, to the Office of Development, Andrews University, Griggs Hall B213, 8903 US 31, Berrien Springs, MI 49104. Future issues of Footnote will keep you informed about how this unique fund is growing!