Thursday, February 02, 2006

Here's To You, Regis!

Most of my bachelors degree work was done at University of South Florida. My major was political science (to me always an oximoron) with the focus on political philosophy. I took the majority of my classes from Dr. Factor, Dr. Regis Factor. He was a man of a strong analytical mind. We all think we can read but Dr. Factor taught me how to really read so that the authors intentions were understood. We dissected Kant, and Rousseau and Hobbs, Aristotle, Lenin, St Augustine and a host of other great thinkers. When one of us, his students, would "get it" a broad smile would come over his face and he would exuberantly exclaim "That's right" and the add further enlightenment. I once came in with a commentary on Aristotle. His response was, "Don't read that, go to the source".

When it came to college politics and those things that detract from the students learning the students always were the priority. Needless to say he was often at odds with the administration.

He was also a man of a deep religious faith and a fervent Roman Catholic. He was a product of that education and taught that way. He didn't teach his faith, he lived it.

We respected and loved Dr Factor.

Tonight on ER, which is not one of my usual TV watches, James Woods portrays a college professor suffering from ALS, Lou Gehrigs disease.

Dr. Factor died in 1999 of ALS . I sure hope the Catholics are wrong about a soul not immediately entering heaven. In any case, I still remember Regis in my prayers, just in case they may be right.

9 Comments:

Blogger El Capitan said...

Sigh. Wish I had a good professor like that. Most of mine were lefty moonbats or raging alkies. Then again, that's what I get for going to a state school...

2:27 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Yes, good teachers can be at odds with the administration - their goals are different. I'm glad you remember such a good teacher...I had a lot of nice ones, too.

7:12 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

I was fortunate, Cap. to do most of my work at the St. Pete campus of USF where most of the good insturctors were banished because of their views towards the adminstration. The other good thing at that place and time you could still get a beer, take it to class, light up a cigar and take notes.

Yes, Bonita there were several other I took courses from who were of the same persuasion. They were just in other disciplines.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a nice tribute to my best teacher ever. On top of being a great teacher and scholar, so much that he did seemed heroic to me. He found a way to do his best with a terminal illness and continued teaching and encouraging students until the day he died. I miss him every day. From: another former political philosophy student at USF-St. Pete

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Fox said...

I was thinking about Regis the other day and was wondering what ever happened to him. I googled his name and fount out that he had died.

I was in many of his classes and even today still quote him. I remember when we would go to his home for classes. I graduated in political science from the St. Pete. campus in 1975 and still can remember his wet hair from swimming between classes.

I thought he had told me he went to college on a golf scholarship but could be wrong.

Perhaps we had class together and could relate many stories about Regis.

Thank you for your comments about him and the world will miss a great teacher who spent most of his time to get his students to think for themselves and understand what you are reading and what other people are actually saying.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this tribute, which brought back some fond memories. I, too, had Professor Factor at USF-St. Pete, and he helped foster my interest in pursuing graduate school (at the University of Notre Dame, where he had attended) and becoming a professor myself.

Tobias Winright

1:28 PM  
Blogger Ed Walsh Irish/Ukrainian said...

I now realize how very, very lucky I was to have had the honor to know mr. factor. I took all my classes at the old merchant marine acad usf used in st pete. He was the smartest man i have ever known, and was the only person I ever thought was much smarter than I. I had a lot more schooling, all over the world, but none could ever compare to the magic, wonderful world mr. factor created in his classroom. A world class man, very special. Everything I know of value, is somehow connected to his teaching. He showed me how to learn, how to listen. I learned to define, and decrypt, language. I graduated with a political sci degree summer 75. I still often think of mr.factor. What a great man, a fine, decent, honorable, smart , funny nice person. He changed my life. It was a great place, and a great time to have been here. Now its like all the rest. We had mostly the same group, in all his classes, and some of them were also exceptional people.looking back it was like a private club that i lucked into. Edward B. Walsh class of 75 st pete, where we could drink beer in class while qwe discussed Plato. Long time gone.

5:04 PM  
Blogger A Catholic Thinker said...

I was lucky to know Dr Factor as a friend and can confirm that he had a beautiful faith and was a brilliant scholar. He passed away before I could tell the impression he made on my life.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Iris said...

I worked at USF Bayboro in the late 80's and had the great pleasure to work with Regis Factor. I was so saddened to hear he died and of such a nasty disease. You are so right. He was brilliant and kind. So often, he'd come into the office speaking Russian and treating me and my office mate with such kindness and caring. It was because of these things I think of him so often and, as a result, discovered this post.

5:29 PM  

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