Thank you visiting the Guestbook for David L. Hitchens. Please join us in sharing stories and memories of a man who touched our lives as friend, teacher, family man and more. The value of story cannot be underestimated in its healing and life preserving qualities. Thank you for being here and adding to the dense collection of significant moments at the intersection of your and Dave’s lives.
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I took as many classes with Dave as I could. 2 different year long programs the so fun Fifties and Sixties summer classes. One of those programs started in the fall of 9/11. It was such a crazy time and often I would stick around after class just to kind of process what was going on in the world and gain perspective by having a conversation with him. He was always kind and upbeat. In that program we the secrets of the temple and I was first introduced the federal reserve. We also read Milton Freeman. Dave said something in a lecture that year that took me 10 years to understand. It was prophetic. He said that the issues around enron and the deregulation of banking would have a longer and more lasting affect on the lives of Americans then the events of 911. I couldn’t get my head around it for years. Some time in the fall of 2008 I had a one of those light bulb moments and it all made sense. He was right. we were on the verge of an economic collapse and 911 had become this historic event. In the summers we would discuss Halberstein’s work on the fifties and then after class discuss the most recent episode of South Park. He was in his 70′s telling me just how brilliant South Park was. A kind and inspiring man. Thanks Dave
Much like the previous post, Dave saved the day by taking me on for an independent study in 1995. I was in my third trimester of pregnancy and due to graduate in June. He had been my former prof for 2 trimesters of American South with Richard Alexander, and we knew each other quite well. When I finally walked to accept my diploma, the announcer called both my name and the name of my unborn child. It was an incredible experience. I can say with all sincerity that Dave was the best teacher I ever had. Kind, engaging, knowledgeable, entertaining, inspiring… there aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe him. God speed, my old friend!
Dave helped me out a great deal with my last twelve credits or so, in order to finish up my degree over fifteen years ago. I did an independent study on American Cultural Studies, including Native American, and Feminist Histories. Dave helped me put together all the things needed to not only finish my degree in a meaningful way, but he also provided an interesting story or two along the way, and was very cooperative of the special “state” I was in at the time. I was about seven to nine months pregnant, and in fact the quarter was interrupted (but in a good way), by the birth of my son. I had moved out of the area immediately following, but had completed and turned in my last few papers via mail. I remember reading about Wounded Knee, and other such stories while nursing my infant son. All those hormones and such, I had to put the book down and dry my tears quite a few times. Dave had guided my studies of American History in such a way that affected me personally and deeply. On the lighter side, we also chatted casually about children, parenting, and family life in general. What sticks out in my mind the most about Dave is his Earthy, yet inquisitive Father-like spirit, which couldn’t have been more perfect for the situation I was in at the time. I’m sorry I hadn’t the chance to know him better, I know he will be greatly missed, and greatly remembered.
Dave and I got to be very good friends while he was at Murdoch University in Western Australia. He was also my teacher, and a really good one (I based much of my own teaching on what I learned from him).I also met his lovely daughter, Dawn, of whom he was incredibly proud.
Dave was a wonderful and rare mixture of physical energy, artistic ability and intellectual power. We spent many hours together drinking, arguing, laughing, and for me, learning. He had his demons, but that sustained and honest effort to be a good man in the face of life’s tricks was one of the things I respected most about Dave. He was determined to live life to the full, and he did. A good man has left us, but his life was a good one and he has left us plenty.
It was a wonderful tribute to Dave. I did not get up to speak, leaving that to his students, closer friends and colleagues. I find myself wanting to share now though. I came to Evergreen as a transfer student in 1973 and was in the first 4 year graduating class. I never took a class from Dave but I bought the dream. The dream of a new way of teaching and learning in a community where everyone was equal. Properties of Evergreen which Dave purposely instilled.
After graduation I got a part time staff job and busied myself by becoming involved in various DTF’s where I felt that my opinion mattered as much as a Dean at the same table.
Before that, I, and some other students, worked with the architects for Lab II creating what is now a fine metals studio. Finding a conundrum of not being able to set up the studio due to no faculty or programs in the discipline. My fellow students and I launched a trial balloon and the “Craftsmanship” program was born. Jean Mandeberg was hired and the studio completed and the program was a great success. This is pertinent because it was largely Dave’s philosophy that empowered us and it was totally student driven.
As some who spoke at the tribute mentioned, Dave treated everyone the same and taught me to value my own voice, even though I might have been considered by some as only a student or lowly staff member. Never so to Dave.
I often had lunch with Dave and Sandra Simon (if you knew Sandra you can imagine the stories) and got to know him better there than in any other way, though we often exchanged ideas while joining together for a smoke outside after it was banned inside.
So I bought the dream that Dave and his friends so cleverly crafted and graduated and never left. I spent 28 years at Evergreen and and am glad to count many faculty, provosts, deans, presidents and especially Dave as my friends. His mark on the institution is indelible.