Diploma awarded upon completion of Hartford Seminary degree

faculty 1958-59 (the year before I attended)
seated (l to r) Brown, Hardy, Wilmer, Cook, Hicks
standing (l to r) ? , ?, ?, Anderson, Rode, Kalter

I had an excellent room at 218 Prospect Street, a grand old New Haven house, but the Berkeley of those days was a mismatch for me. The contrast between my senior year at Trinity College with seminars/tutorials and Berkeley's regimentation with standard, dry lecture classes was a shocker. It seemed to be a time to memorize - and certainly not question "outside the box." Moreover, a sort-of Anglo-Catholic piety was repelling. Twice-daily required chapel services felt very artificial. Additionally, many - perhaps most - of the students seemed to be looking for a close-knit, familial community; I was definitely not. My family life and friends were off campus, and some classmates complained to me that I wasn't around much on weekends. There was an unhealthy, homophobic atmosphere (characteristic of late 50s and early 60s seminary life), even though Berkeley included very closeted, gay faculty members and students. The professors, for the most part, were very good scholars. I decided to not return after completing the 1959-60 academic year. I suspect that had I not withdrawn, I would not have been invited to return. Independence was not a virtue! The Hartford Seminary (interdenominational) allowed me to transfer and to teach at the nearby Watkinson School. My bishop in Massachusetts was very patient and accommodating as I withdrew from a path to ordination and then, while studying at Hartford, he allowed me to reconnect with that vocational goal.


The central components of the old Berkeley Divinity School;
dining hall and 2nd floor single men's dorm, classrooms (the more modern building) and administration/faculty offices.