What He Meant to Me

In the mid-1960s I returned to Columbia University for a doctorate and I dropped by Provost Jacques Barzun's office in the Seth Low building to tell him about my decision. (I had dined with Dr. Barzun several times at the home of mutual friends, Professor and Mrs. Lionel Trilling.) He consulted his calendar and said we must discuss my return to Columbia at lunch. He picked a day for our Faculty Club rendezvous. And then he told me the "secret" of graduate work: Henceforth save every scrap of paper — syllabi, book lists, class notes, book reviews, examination papers. "Throw nothing out, you'll never know when something you need will turn up," he said. How right he was. Even more importantly, perhaps, he introduced me to a great composer I had overlooked, Hector Berlioz. And he inspired in me a love for the French language.

Arnold Beichman, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Columbia)

The Jacques Barzun Centennial