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Archive for Saturday, January 6, 1990

BAKER PROFESSOR LAUDS ENGLAND

January 6, 1990

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Baker University English professor Dean Bevan confesses he is taken by England and its inhabitants.

Bevan would even go as far as saying Americans could learn from English conduct forced upon them by space constraints.

"They have such a high level of civility with which they do everything," Bevan said this week sitting on the couch in his Lawrence home, sipping English tea and nibbling on an English-recipe cake his wife baked.

"They do not have the luxury of space, so there is much cooperation," he continued. "They all wait their turn to use the space. It's the size of Kansas with 50 million people."

Bevan recently returned from the country that has captured his admiration after teaching for a semester at Harlaxton College, a university owned by the University of Evansville in Indiana.

BAKER BECAME involved in a program to supply professors to the college this year and Bevan was the first one selected to go, primarily because of his previous extensive travels of the country.

Bevan reflected on the trip this week and supported his statements of cordial people with numerous examples. For instance, he saw motorists stop their cars in the street to wait for a delivery truck driver to make a delivery all without a single car horn blast, a raised voice, or a single car trying to drive around the obstacle.

"They just sat there and waited. No one seemed to mind," he said.

The same attitude was present when a crowd on a sidewalk was forced into a single line to get around sidewalk construction. Progress was slowed dramatically, but the line formed and each pedestrian patiently waited his turn.

LANCE RIDER, one of four students who traveled to England with Bevan to study at the university, agrees with Bevan's summation.

Rider said he enjoyed a worry-free existence in England, adding that his biggest fear was learning the complex subway system in the country.

"They have very little crime," he said. "They don't have a lot of drugs, so you don't worry that you're going to get shot walking down the street."

Though Bevan said he reflects mostly about England's cordial denizens, Rider brought home his fondest memory, a large chunk of the Berlin Wall, which was cracked open during the group's visit.

Shortly after their arrival, Rider and a fellow student journeyed to East Berlin in quest of a piece of the wall, which they had been studying in political science class as they watched related events unfold on television.

"IT WAS REALLY strange because all of our political science teachers were saying it was going to be a really boring semester in Europe," Rider said. "Nothing was supposed to be going on."

Being so close to events being studied in the classroom also produced a long-lasting effect, he said.

"You would be studying something in class, and the next day, you were there," he said.

Rider said he probably would encase the rock to help preserve his own piece of history.

"And it will be neat to show it to my grandchildren," he said.

Bevan taught and the Baker students studied in a 140-room manor built in the mid-19th century. They all also lived in the manor during their stay. The experience was truly remarkable, Bevan said.

"TO LIVE IN the manor and having that much space and leisure," he said. "It really has to be seen to be believed. The manor was on several acres of land and the lawns were like putting greens."

All of the elegance of 19th century England to be mustered up by the most excited imagination was intact, he said.

While not teaching, the professor toured about 5,000 miles of the country. During the tours, he and his wife, Judy, visited countless literary sites of the historic country, something he has done during each of his six visits.

Although he and his wife have visited the country many times, Bevan said this was one of the most memorable because of its length and leisurely pace.

"It gave me the chance to immerse myself in English culture in a way that cannot be done on a shorter trip," he said. "I'm glad to be back, but I would gladly return."

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