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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Special Issue: July 29, 2002
The Gordon Presidency -
1998 - 2002

Chair recalls Gordon antics

By Steve Carr

William C. Gordon — the practical joker? Hard to believe maybe, but true just the same. And at least in one instance, fit to print.

Psychology Chair Michael Dougher remembers the days of old when then Professor Gordon was a bit of a funnyman. Some of the stories Dougher relayed, while others, are better left in the closet.

Speaking of closets, one tale Dougher shared involved transforming Psychology Department faculty members’ offices into janitor’s closets when they arrived at UNM or when they changed offices.

“We used to have this ongoing joke,” Dougher recalled. “When I first got here in 1980, my office was down at the other end of the hallway. The night before I came in, Gordon turned my office into a broom closet. He had gotten two pieces of sheet rock and sort of made this small area right in front of the door. He filled it with buckets and brooms and all kinds of cleaning stuff. So this kind of became a running joke back then. Whenever anybody changed offices we would change their office into a broom closet.”

Turnabout was fair play as far as Dougher was concerned.

“When he became chair, I did the same thing in the chair’s office. When he came in on his first day there were mops and buckets and things like that. We did that all the way up as he continued his climb in administration. Every time he moved, we would go to his office and turn it into a broom closet before he would come in. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into Scholes Hall when he became president.”

One twist to the joke came while Gordon was psychology chair.

“I got some dean’s stationery and wrote him a bogus letter from [then dean] Hobson Wildenthal saying that Bill had gotten the Psychology Department into an intolerable financial crisis and that Hobson had no alternative but to appoint a new chair. Bill believed it for awhile. He really did. He couldn’t figure out what the dean was referring to because he was really financially responsible and hadn’t even been in the chair’s position long enough to do any real damage. I couldn’t keep from laughing as Bill was telling me the story, and he figured out what was going on.

“There was a series of things that he would do to me and I would do to him and it went on like that for a long time,” said Dougher.