Frederick Walker ’64 and Edward Currier ’68, retired science teachers, visited campus Sept. 30 for open house at Rice Creek Field Station and the Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.
Although they didn’t know each other as students, they have been best friends since 1971, when Walker completed a six-year stint in the U.S. Air Force and joined Currier at Wayne Central Middle School, later moving to high school. They formed an immediate bond, based on their Oswego experiences and respect for Oswego professors.
“We had wonderful, collegial relationships with the science faculty,” Currier says. Walker adds, “They believed in students as individuals, and they encouraged us to build on our strengths.”
For Currier, “strength” meant biology and environment. “The field station at Rice Creek had just been built, and I was there for ecology and field biology courses, doing the initial stream study with Dr. Ronald Engel and observing the mating ritual of the woodcock with Dr. Carlita Georgia,” he says.
He remembers Dr. Richard S. Shineman as a professor who had a true calling. “He just loved chemistry,” says Currier, “and he was so helpful to me — to all students.”
Walker was lab assistant to John Weeks, emeritus biology professor, and worked in the animal lab, a post that Currier later filled. “I spent so many hours at the lab,” Walker says, “I’d usually be late to dinner.” He ate at a boarding house for $10 a week. After leaving the USAF and before he began to teach, Walker bought a piece of woodland, where he and his wife, Carol Gould Walker ’65, built a camp they still enjoy. (A daughter, Christie Walker Sweder ’92, is also an Oswego graduate.)
Both teachers adopted their education philosophies from Oswego professors, and both have passed it along to student teachers and, as mentors after retirement, to new faculty. Currier teaches one course a year at St. John Fisher and serves as a consultant, helping implement science curricula in elementary schools.
Open house gave these alumni a chance to reminisce and to project. “I’m so proud to have been part of the history of this college,” Currier says. “Looks as if Oswego is headed toward a great future.”
—Linda Loomis ’90 M ’97
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