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C. Keith Conners
University of Chicago, 1953, B.A., Liberal Arts
Oxford University, 1955, M.A., Philosophy, Psychology & Physiology
Stanford University, 1956
Harvard University, 1960, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology
Keith Conners was born and raised in Utah with an older sister and a twin sister. He spent his first year in school in a one-room schoolhouse in Ophir, Utah. After his appendix ruptured, his family moved to Salt Lake City to obtain better medical treatment. At 15, he skipped most of high school and went to study in Chicago. He became a clinical psychologist and founded the ADHD program at Duke University. He has done a number of studies of how foods affect attention in children, including writing a book called Feeding the Brain. Although he is retired, he occasionally lectures and consults. He also spends his time, writing, reading, and painting oil and watercolors. He credits the Rhodes experience for pointing him to psychology as his profession, as well as providing him with peak experiences that have lasted a lifetime.
Q. I read that you were born in Bingham, Utah. At what age did you move to Salt Lake City?
From Bingham, I moved to a little mountain village called Ophir. Ophir in the Bible was the place where King Solomon’s mines were supposedly located. It was a small town that served a large mining operation nearby called The Hidden Treasure. I lived in this canyon town until I was five. I still regard that experience as “a hidden treasure” in my growing up.
It was there that I did my first “psychotherapy” at the age of four. There was a lady in her late 80s named Mrs. Howerth, who lived down the road. On the way to work, my dad walked past her house. He had to climb over a mountain about five miles to where they were mining. He did that every day and learned that Mrs. Howerth who lived on his was was there with nobody to take care of her.
He suggested to me that it would be nice if I would take her a pot of soup. So I lugged a pot of soup to her little house where she had chickens, and introduced myself. She was gracious and charming, and sat in one small room with the rest of the house closed off. I sat in a chair and she started talking with me. She was very glad to have company and liked to talk about her life. She would have been one of the original pioneers in that part of the country before Utah was a state. She had a husband who had long since passed away, and there was a portrait of him that sat behind her. He was in a cowboy hat and had a red beard. She told a lot of really interesting stories about their pioneer days. I would sit there for hours listening to her tell these stories. A day or two later, I would come back and bring her some more food, or groceries, or just to listen to her stories. That was how I learned to sit still and listen for a long time to people’s life stories. It is one of my fondest memories, not only because of the beauty of the surroundings, but also because of the quiet harmony with adults who allowed us to explore freely while still feeling safe wandering through the valley unattended most of the time.
I lived there until I had a ruptured appendix, when they rushed me to a hospital in Salt Lake City. I had contracted peritonitis and in those days with no antibiotics, it was a fairly serious event. Since there was no hospital, or medical care near the canyon, we moved to Salt Lake in 1939. I remember that time fairly vividly. When I was getting treatments for peritonitis, I remember seeing headlines in the newspaper that Hitler invaded Poland. I would have been six years old. I grew up in Salt Lake until the end of the Second World War.
Duke University, 1958, A.B., Chemistry
University of Oxford, 1961, M.A., Physiology
Johns Hopkins Medical School, 1964, M.D.
Clif Cleaveland was born and raised in a small town called LaGrange in Georgia near the Alabama border. He is the oldest child with a sister who is four years younger. When he was fourteen years old, his family moved to South Carolina. From a very young age, he wanted to become a doctor. He graduated from medical school in the mid-1960’s and served as a doctor in the U.S. Army. After a fellowship at Vanderbilt University, he focused his practice on internal medicine until his retirement in 2004. He is a former president of the American College of Physicians and his work on healthy policy issues has led him to testify before Congressional hearing committees. He is also the author of two books, Sacred Space: Stories from a Life in Medicine and Healers and Heroes: Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times. He currently teaches an undergraduate course at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and writes a column about health issues for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. A major influence on his writing and viewpoint about health care was from his experience of becoming very sick as a student at Oxford and receiving medical treatment under the British national health service. He currently lives in Tennessee with his wife of 50 years.
David Carey was born in 1913 in Malaysia to British parents. For most of his elementary and secondary education, he attended boys’ boarding schools in England. When he was seventeen, his family immigrated to Canada. World War II started while he was attending Oxford University as a Canadian Rhodes Scholar. He decided leave school in order to enlist, but did not qualify for military service because of cancer. During the war, he worked for the Canadian Department of Labor. After the war, he spent about twenty-five years volunteering and working for Moral Re-Armament. Carey worked another fifteen years as the public relations director for Up With People, a spin-off of MRA. In 1983, he retired to Asheville, North Carolina. Besides having an active civic life in his retirement, he is known for his tennis ability. He started playing tennis regularly at the age of 65 and he has won 31 USTA national senior championships in singles and doubles. He won the 2000 world singles title in the 85-age bracket and has held the number one US ranking in the ninety-year-old age group. Regarding playing in the men’s 90 division, he is quoted as saying, “Yes, there were more than two of us playing in all these tournaments!” When the weather is okay, he plays tennis three, or four times a week.
Gerrit Gong was born and raised in Palo Alto, California. He is the eldest of three siblings. Both of his parents were educators. His father was a university professor and his mother was an elementary school teacher. He has taught at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and and Brigham Young University. In the mid ‘80s, he worked for the U.S. government as special assistant to the Undersecretary of State at the State Department and special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, China. At the time of this interview, he was the assistant to the president of Brigham Young University in Utah, focusing on planning and assessment. He is now a general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Wesley Clark was born in 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of Benjamin and Veneta Kanne, a lawyer and a bank secretary. When Clark was not quite four years old, his father died. His mother then decided to move to Little Rock, Arkansas, where Clark’s maternal grandparents lived. His mother eventually remarried in November 1954 to Victor Clark.
He attended Little Rock’s public schools, except in tenth grade he went to Castle Heights Military Academy in Tennessee, because the Little Rock Board of Education decided shut down the city’s two high schools in 1958 rather than desegregate. When he returned to Little Rock for his junior year, he helped the swim team win the state championship. Even though he could have gotten a full scholarship to Harvard, Clark was set on going to West Point. He “wanted the challenge, the leadership, the outdoor life, the adventure.” And when he enrolled at West Point at the age of 17, he was entering an institution that had educated two men he admired, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur. He excelled at West Point, eventually graduating first in his class.
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Harvard College, 1952, B.A., Social Relations
University of Oxford, B.A. 1954; M.A. 1959, Philosophy, Politics & Economics
Harvard University, 1958, Ph.D.
San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, 1971
Neil Smelser is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, during the 1930s and 1940s as the middle child in a family of three boys. After his time at Oxford, at the age of 26 he co-authored Economy and Society with Talcott Parsons, a renowned American sociologist. He is a former president of the American Sociological Association. He was also the Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford from 1994 to 2001. Professor Smelser is the author of over a dozen books, including The Theory of Collective Behavior. His most current publication is The Odyssey Experience: Physical, Social, Psychological, and Spiritual Journeys. It is a “very general study of taking leave from your daily circumstances and getting involved in something special.” Travel continues to remain an important aspect of his life ever since he hitchhiked all over Europe in his youth.