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Howard Fineman ’70 recalls a favorite professor in letter to the New York Times

By Barbara Brooks on January 26, 2014

In a letter to the editor in the Book Review section of today’s New York Times, Howard Fineman ’70 recalled the teaching talent and dedication of Fred Busch. The author of The Stories of Frederick Busch died in 2006 and his posthumous collection of stories has received rave reviews.

Fineman, one of Busch’s first students at Colgate, gave a plug to Living Writers, the popular program of the English department that draws leading writers to the university to give public readings and meet with students in the classroom: “He began a visiting writers series — one of the first of its kind — that continues at Colgate to this day, and he left behind generations of appreciative students (and many professional authors, editors, screenwriters and journalists) … ”

Fineman, who is now editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group and an analyst for NBC/MSNBC, recalled an ironic critique from his professor.

“When I submitted a series of essays to him for one class, he returned a sheaf of typewritten single-spaced notes nearly as long as what I had given him. ‘You have it in you to be more than a writer of slick magazine pieces,’ he told me in 1969. Well, I ended up spending 30 years at Newsweek, so I guess I didn’t! But I never stopped reading his stories to see what he wanted me to find.”

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