Seigfried – ‘Hickman is a phenomenon’

Charlene Haddock Seigfried, Purdue University

“Larry  Hickman is a phenomenon. He  has done more than any person I know to make John Dewey and pragmatism known and appreciated throughout the world.  Two of his major  accomplishments are enough to demonstrate this, both of which span decades. Through his meticulous leadership at the Dewey Center at Southern Illinois University the critical editions of The Complete Works of John Dewey were painstakingly produced and widely lauded. Larry made the center not only a magnet for Dewey scholars, but an important venue for conferences, and a place for good companionship.  As if this were not enough, he established the Dewey Centers all over the world, which continue to be active hubs of scholarship.  They are a tremendous legacy and will ensure that pragmatist philosophy will continue to have an impact on important issues. I have many happy memories of good times with European scholars at some of these centers 

“Larry has been a true friend and ever-supportive colleague.  He was one of the few persons who honored every aspect of my work, not only research and lectures on Dewey, but feminism at a time when it was (more) contentious, William James, and even technology. Whether we got together at Southern Illinois University, at conventions at home and abroad, on panels, or at SAAP, I always learned from Larry’s extensive philosophical interests. He was also fun to talk with and the best guide to outstanding restaurants and wine choices. In fact, I wouldn’t even have been at some of these events if Larry hadn’t made it happen. What I’m trying to say is that in a profession where women were often excluded, Larry always made me feel welcome and appreciated.  I am more than happy to return the favor and join many others who have been lucky enough to know you.”

McKenna – ‘Hickman has always been a generous scholar and mentor’

Dr. Erin McKenna, University of Oregon

I am not sure when I first met Larry Hickman (sometime in the early 1990s), but I know my life got more interesting when I did. Our shared intellectual interests took us to conferences (along with Michael Eldridge) that included adventures such as sailing in Vermont and riding bikes in Berlin–both of which turned out to be great fun (but a bit risky). Hickman has been an important influence on my work, both in personal conversation and through print. I especially enjoyed my time as a visiting scholar at the Dewey Center in Carbondale, IL. As I was reading through Dewey’s correspondence (before it was published), Hickman was always open to hearing about what I was finding and thinking. We don’t always agree on things, but I have found ours to be an important transactional relationship that has shaped my philosophical work and my life more generally. His work in starting the Summer Institute in American Philosophy (SIAP) has also been transformative of the field. I have attended many SIAP meetings. In addition to allowing for more in-depth study and conversation than a normal conference, SIAP provided invaluable contact among generations of scholars. Hickman has always been a generous scholar and mentor. Though I could never join him in sipping tequila, I will always remember our SIAP trips winding through the Oregon wine country drinking good wine and discussing philosophy and life.”

Flamm – ‘Simply a joy to be able to join everyone in his honor’

Dr. Matthew Flamm, Rockford University

Larry Hickman was and remains a model academic mentor and friend to me and every colleague, grad-student, and editorial staff member with whom I’ve become acquainted who also had the privilege of working with him. Besides his well-earned status carrying forward the thought of Dewey, Larry went out of his way during his time at Texas A&M University—a small portion of which I had the privilege of sharing—to support students, opening even his hearth and home in a most congenial, warm, and welcoming manner. He is a brilliant host, excellent cook, and good humored companion. The world of Dewey studies, and Classical American philosophy generally would not be what it is today without his tireless life of service, both in editing and administrating editorial and publishing projects, and his original scholarly contributions. Speaking of the latter, no scholar of Dewey today aiming for recognition could write about technology and its cultural implications without contending with Larry’s writings. I owe my sense of what it means to be an academic scholar, teacher, and student-mentor to Larry Hickman, and it is simply a joy to be able to join everyone in his honor for this worthy occasion.”

Moreno – ‘Larry’s kind encouragement was valuable to me’

Jonathan Moreno, University of Pennsylvania

In fall 1978 I joined the UT Austin philosophy department as a one-year visiting assistant professor, hoping not to fall off the cliff to academic unemployment.  As a former student of John McDermott I often visited College Station that year.  Larry and I hit it off, and with his typical generosity he invited me to his home for dinner.  He was the first person I knew who had a VCR player at home (we watched the original Star Wars), borrowed as I recall from A&M as he used videos to teach philosophy of technology.  So at the time I was mainly impressed that he had that big box, but in retrospect I should have been more impressed at his imaginative use of video in teaching, which we now take for granted.  So Larry was from the very beginning not just thinking about technology but very much using it in his work.  Larry’s kind encouragement was valuable to me as I went back on the job market, a quality that so many of his friends, colleagues and students have obviously much appreciated over the years.  I am here to say that is exactly the kind of person he has always been. “

Schull – ‘I strive to pay forward his kindness’

Stephanie Schull, PhD

Dr. Hickman is a gifted professor. I studied with him during my time getting my BA in Philosophy at Texas A&M University. I loved his book on John Dewey’s Pragmatic Technology, but beyond the brilliant books and essays, he was a devoted teacher. He made me feel confident in my ability to work through complex problems. He took my juvenile attempts and saw a way to coax some real thinking out of me. He and his wife Elizabeth went above and beyond to also find part-time work for me, so their care extended beyond the classroom. Larry Hickman is all one would want from a colleague, a professor, and a friend. He helped transform my awkward and unstable undergraduate years into a foundation I could build my future on. I owe him a big thank you and I strive to pay forward his kindness and replicate his level of expertise in all that I do.”

Barry – ‘Larry’s class blew my mind’

Dwight Barry, A&M Class of ’92

Larry’s Philosophy of Technology class blew my mind. He made connections between art, technology, and philosophy I had never seen, much less could have even considered, and he showed me how philosophy could be both exciting and relevant to anything I could think about. He also provided me, somewhat incidentally, some of the best writing critiques I had in college; his writing assignments asked for 5 pages, and when in excitement over the topic I had written 7 pages, his front-page comment was only this: “If you can say it in 7 pages, you can certainly say it in 5.” 🙂

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