Rentario Hashimoto, Ph.D. It was Summer Session, 1963, and I was taking a make-up course in calculus. As did so many others, I also signed up for the basic philosophy course. I had to be on campus and I wanted to lighten the load in the Autumn of my Junior Year. The first class was packed with 60-70 students. There were so many people that I had to work my way to be the back wall to get a standing place. It was hot and sticky.
We waited. No teacher. About 10 minutes after the scheduled starting time, a Christian Brother walked into the room. He yelled, “Quite, quiet!” Then he asked, “How many of you are engineering students”. About 30-35 students raised their hands. Then, in a witchy voice (replace the “w” with a “b”), he shouted, “Get out”. We left.
It seemed that the Arts Department had not considered engineering students wishing to complete their philosophy requirements in the Summer. Of course, this upset the Christian Brother who responded in so humble a fashion. I went over to the cafeteria (Plato’s Cave) for coffee, since I had picked up that habit in four years in the U.S. Navy. Before I had finished my coffee, an engineering student ran in and said, “Come on, we’ve got a teacher.” Hashimoto.
Robert T. Weil, Dean of Engineering, had negotiated a teacher for his engineers. We filled up a classroom; it was hot and sticky. Dr. Rentario Hashimoto introduced himself, told us to quiet down and that we had a lot of work to cover. He announced the required text as “Nature, Knowledge And God”, by Brother Benignus, Manhattan College Press, 1947, and then Dr. Hashimoto said, “We will refer to it from time to time”. I do not recall reading much out of that book. Dr. Hashimoto covered so, so much in that short Summer Session and I recall that I really liked the course. It was one of the most memorable courses I took at Manhattan. I really liked Rentario Hashimoto.
Later, in the Fall of my Junior Year, my girlfriend and I were in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Eileen C. Kennedy, BA Hunter College, 1963. She was my wife of 36 years: RIP 2001). Dr. Hashimoto spotted us, and walked over to say hello. He was very gracious, as I introduced Eileen to him. He said, “Wait a minute. Aren’t you an engineer? What are you doing here?” I looked over at Eileen, Dr. Hashimoto looked at me and then at her, and he smiled. I swear I saw a twinkle in his eye.
John Peter Rooney BEE Manhattan 1965
(MSEE NJIT 1969)(MA History, Bridgewater State University 2000)
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[JR: Nothing like beautiful women to civilize injineers! Thanks for sharing. Sorry for your loss. I know the feeling. Dona Nobis Pacem. Did you have Doctor Zia for calc, hence the summer calc course? The gift that kept on giving D’s and F’s. “You injineer: Wrong sign, bridge fall down. Nooooo partial credit.” with a big toothy grin. — Doctor Zia Spring 1967]
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