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Dean, dean, dean

In the abecedary Harvard A to Z, in the entry under “Deans”, the story is told that “a president of the University of Virginia once received a letter requesting a university speaker for an alumni club meeting. To the club’s request that he not designate anyone lower than a dean, the president is alleged to have replied that there was no one lower than a dean.”

So writes Stuart Schieber. This calls to mind Eric Schulman‘s poem “Gunga Dean,” which was published in the Annals of Improbable Research (vol. 4, no. 2):

You may travel far and near
While you’re safely tenured here,
And you’ll teach and research without thinking of it,
But when it came to meetings,
You just let me take your beatings,
And I helped you ‘til I got disgusted with it.
Now in administration,
Where I had great frustration,
A-servin’ to the needs of faculty,
Of all the suited crew,
The worst one that I knew
Was our Arts and Science leader, Gunga Dean.
It was “Dean! Dean! Dean!”
You short-sighted, penny-pinching, Gunga Dean!
Though I curse you and I hate you,
By the President that made you,
You are better paid than I am, Gunga Dean!

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