Leanne Hoepner Puglielli '66

  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: My name is Leanne Hoepner Puglielli. I currently live in Madison, Wisconsin and I’m a member of Grinnell College class of 1966.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: I think the reason that I came here is that I wanted to talk about being a graduate of a small Iowa high school. 41 students in my high school graduating class, and feeling overwhelmed because, as small as this college is, I now realize it was very large, and I went to classes that were obviously review classes for a lot of- most of my classmates that I had- with information I had never heard of before. So, it was an over- sort of an amazingly overwhelming experience for the first- at least the first semester.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: The other thing I wanted to talk about was that I was here during the time of the, not only the distribution requirements, but the Humanities Historical Studies sequence, and the Junior Liberal Arts exam and the Senior Comps with the follow-up independent project. And I think, between the.. now, between the Historical Studies, the Humanities, and Neal Klausner’s Philosophy course, which was probably the, y’know, you asked about the book or the professor that was the most profound impact. What I have taken away from this place is the certainty of the interconnections of knowledge.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: And I know that because I talk about the interconnections from Historical Studies, Humanities and Philosophy and I was a Biology major.
  • Sophie Haas & Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Sophie: Oh, wow.Leanne: And, indeed, went on to graduate school and Radiation Biology, but ended up in an area where the only use for my graduate degree was the biological and chemical warfare department of a research lab, and so switched into education. Became a school principal, became a college professor, have switched from Biology to Education to teaching in a business school, teaching strategy and tactics in an MBA program.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: I’ve had probably ten different careers that have sort of tangentially gone off, and when people ask me how that could possibly happen, my number one response is, “My Grinnell education.” And the reason- and I don’t do that lightly because what Grinnell did for me was to just expand the way that I looked at the world and I honestly could see the interconnections of all knowledge. I mean it- I’m a quick study anyway, but I don’t think I could have made these dramatic career shifts just by being a quick study, OK? Or just by knowing how to research.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: But the thing I talk about from Historical Studies was the fact that I learned all of this history and never memorized a date or a name, or... and that was, I think, the impact. Y'know, that when we went in- when we studied for a test, no matter what it was we were reading, there were sort of five basic questions that I would study. You know: What was this author’s view of the nature of man? What was his view of the nature of society? What was his view of the function of government? The motor of government? and I’m not going to remember the fifth one.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: But there were five fundamental questions that, y'know, I would study for and could consequently answer any question that was asked because it was not important here that we know specific.. y'know, people and dates. It was important that we know- ‘cause, trends in history. I was here when Arnold Toynbee was here as a visiting professor, and so a huge impact, the notion of cyclical theory of history, which carried over into my Biology, into my Chemistry, into my teaching of strategy and tactics. So, there was this whole sort of…
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli & Sophie Haas
    Leanne: The other impact that Grinnell had on me was the relationships with the faculty. They- well, I worked in the Biology department anyway, so, became very close to those professors just simply because I worked there. But, they cared. They cared about- y’know? And they cared about how we were doing and how well we were doing, and, y'know, I came from a high school that was not... you know, you sort of hid your report card.Sophie: Mhm.Leanne: OK? And this place, you know, actually did.. you know, encourage you to be all you could be and you know, would come sit in the Union and talk to you, and....Sophie: Yeah.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: So, let me see. Those were the things that I wanted to talk about. I did not meet my spouse here. If I were writing a history of Grinnell, what I would include from my four years here is something that George Drake said this morning in... his lecture, in that the distribution requirements and the Humanities Historical Studies program gave us a very narrow education in terms of content. What he failed to mention was the depth and breadth of thinking about the world that I don’t think changes at all, period. And so, I would put that in the history.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli
    Leanne: The other thing I would say is that the impact of the Junior Liberal Arts exam and then the Senior Comps and the independent project with the oral dissertation, y’know, when I hit my general exams for my PhD, I mean, all these folks around me are all upset and they are all worried and nervous. And then, you know, I’m walking through it like, “What’s the problem here?” and then I finally started to laugh and realize I’d already done it when I was too dumb to know enough to get scared. And so my whole PhD general exams and dissertation defense was sort of a secondary walk in the park.
  • Leanne Hoepner Puglielli & Sophie Haas
    Leanne: And you know, you guys aren’t gonna have that experience. You’re going to have to actually experience for the first time and I laugh about that but it’s also true, I never got the least bit anxious, I mean, and.. It took me a long time to realize it was because I had already done it, so..Sophie: Wow, that's great.Leanne: That’s all I needed to say.
Alumni oral history interview with Leanne Hoepner Puglielli '66. Recorded June 2, 2012.
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