Letters of Recommendation for Michael S. Hart
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From the Assistant Dean of my college: (Mr. Gaylord F. Hatch)
From the Dean and Director of my program: (Mr. Roland W. Holmes)
From my high school chemistry teacher: (Ms. Carolyn C. Conrad)
To Whom It May Concern:
I wish to take this opportunity to recommend Mr. Michael Stern Hart for the purpose of employment. Mr. Hart graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences here at the University of Illinois in February, 1973. He received an AB degree in what is known as Individual Plans of Study, a degree program tailored usually to exceptional students. He graduated with University Honors as was in every way an exceptional student in the College.
While his academic performance in the College was superb in every respect, I think it more important to bring to your attention the breadth and reach of the mind of this young man. To say that his is brilliant is not to overstate the case at all. He very simply has an exceptional mind and is capable and accustomed to dealing with sophisticated complexities far beyond the understanding of most college students. Like many young men who are brilliant, there is always the danger of being misunderstood as simply eccentric. This of course is understandable as he has a rapid-paced mind which can often confuse those of us whose intelligence is more accurately defined as modest.
I would like to make to specific recommendations with reference to Mr. Hart: to begin with, that he be carefully listened to as he presents goals of interest and outlines plans for attaining them; secondly, I strongly suggest that he seriously be given the opportunity to pursue courses of action which might at first seem somewhat bizarre. I feel strongly that the keenness of his intellect and the quickness of his mind, his personal stamina and his fearless determination to pursue avenues of inquiry which frighten the less vigorous minds are worth of serious consideration for a position in which innovation and compelling imagination are essential.
To the best of my knowledge Mr. Hart's integrity and personal values are beyond any question whatsoever and I would anticipate that he will become a valued, successful and extraordinarily productive employee. If there are any questions about Mr. Hart for which I might provide a response, please feel free to write to me.
Gaylord F. Hatch Assistant Dean
To Whom It May Concern:
RE: MICHAEL S. HART
What Mike has to offer does not show up conspicuously in the usual records. Perhaps his unique assets don't show at all unless you watch him in action. Oh, yes, there's the 5.0 (straight A) average as an undergraduate. And the independent study courses, the time out for military service, the degree in Individual Plans of Study. But all these provide only intimations of Mike's potential, as I envision it. In time I expect to see his achievements documented so that he will not need to rely on prophecies by Hart enthusiasts, like me. Meanwhile I should like to share my impressions of Mike's special qualities.
He is dedicated to creative scholarship. He is not walled in by a blind acceptance of the "normal ways of doing things." While he does not reject old ways out of hand he requires that they compete successfully with inventive, original solutions to problems.
His approach to problems solving picks up where most would leave off. He shuns preconceptions about the accepted, established, or "correct" way to cope; further, he is a patient teacher with others who wish to better their own approach to problem solving. He guides other so self-knowledge with a sophisticated heuristic that seems simple. His students find themselves forced to think better than they though they could, and please to discover intellectual capacities previously unsuspected.
He knows a great deal--his formal and casual education is usually broad--and he is able to communicate with ease, pacing his interaction to the learner. He listens to, analyzed, and remembers the feedback, so that the interactive learning process can be stopped and reactivated quickly and effectively.
Mike's grasp of systems, his awareness of alternative perspectives, and his facility with problem solving in multiple frames of reference equip him to an exceptional degree to provide truly creative service to those who seek guidance to viable action in a complex world.
Roland W. Holmes Director, Individual Plans of Study
Office of URBANA HIGH SCHOOL 1002 South Race Street
To who it may concert:
Michael Hart was an outstanding student in my chemistry classes when he was a junior and senior in high school. I am very happy to be able to recommend him for the following reasons:
(1) He can approach and solve problems in unique ways. Of all the students that I have had in more than twenty years of teaching gifted students, he demonstrated more consistently than any other an unusual ability to propose and carry out alternative ways of solving problems.
(2) He can integrate information from a variety of sources into broad, cohesive structures. All of the information that he had absorbed was synthesized in such a way that any new facts could be immediately related to an overall pattern.
(3) He was able to relate concepts from different areas of chemistry, such as equilibrium principles, electron configurations, bonding patterns, and crystal structures, to explain a particular observation in the laboratory. Few students in my experience were able to learn and understand the concepts as well, but more importantly, very few were able to correlate the information from diverse areas and bring it into focus as a new problem was being investigated.
Michael Hart was not an orthodox student in the usual manner: absorbing information and repeating it back. We had many stimulating discussion in class and out in which we looked at processes in depth, seeking all the possible explanations. He displayed a high degree of curiosity, unmatched by all but a very few students that I have worked with.
For the above reasons, I recommend enthusiastically, without reservations, this former student. If I can supply additional information, or detailed examples of his performance in my classes, please do not hesitate to call or write to me.
Ms Carolyn C. Conrad Chemistry teacher