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Mark Banschick, MD '78

I have an essay in Psychology Today about my relationship with Curt Beck, who was a Chemistry Professor, but made huge contributions to history and anthropology.
Vassar was a special place, and your history department helped me grow as a thinker.  I was a history major, and then went to medical school. I will always remember Rhoda Rappaport, Jim Challey and David Schalk.

David Schalk was a wonderful professor who taught Intellectual History.

It was a great course; and David was a kind and thoughtful professor. My epiphany in his class was quite personal.  He helped me with a problem without knowing it. David was teaching about Madame Bovary by Flaubert.  It was a book that I found slow. I was a junior at the time, and I was trying to decide whether to go to Medical School, become an academic or do something else.  I remember being intrigued by what it takes to write a book. So, when David pointed out that this great novel took three years to write, it piqued my interest. It was 1977, and social history was not yet in full swing.  History was more often than not, the great ideas of great men.

So, what question did the son of a haberdasher have for Mr. Schalk?

Question: Mr. Schalk, you say it took three full years to write Madame Bovary.  How did Flaubert support himself while taking the time off?

Answer:  Why Mark, he was independently wealthy!

Takeaway: I have to build my own platform so I can then write to my heart's content.  Medical School sounded like a good idea. The moment sticks in my mind like it was yesterday. You never know what is in the mind of a student!!!!

Have a memory you would like to add?

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