Dr. Carolida Steiner's reflects on her time at Derner and memories of her classmates. The Derner experience lasts a lifetime!
My classmates and I started the doctoral program 45 years ago, in September 1972. I still remember us sitting in class on the third floor of the Business Building, barely knowing one another, and listening to George Stricker’s orientation lecture. Things changed a lot over our three years together. We didn’t all become fast friends, but we did get to know one another pretty well.
I remember us laughing together. Even before a professor wrote case information on the blackboard, someone (maybe David?) would say, “I get the feeling the patient has a borderline personality…” and someone else would build on this insight! Thinking of this and other lines still cracks me up.
Back then (when Gordon Derner was still alive and “Derner” was known as “the Institute”), we had three years of classes before internships. In addition to a farewell class party, there were special events—a group session with Lou Ormont; a trip to Doylestown, Pennsylvania; and a support group to help with the pending separation.
We used Swirbul Library (some of us more than others!). However, computers, the Internet, online databases, and all the other resources of the Digital Age were not part of anyone’s life. This meant that background information for the dissertation involved trekking to libraries throughout the metropolitan area and taking handwritten notes while there. It also meant that when we left Adelphi and went to internships in different parts of the country, there was no easy way for us as a group to stay in touch.
Realizing this makes the lasting friendships with classmates—something not unique to my class— all the more remarkable. It’s a tribute to the magic of the Institute—beginning under Dr. Derner’s leadership and continuing today under Dr. Barber’s leadership.
After an absence of many years, I again visited Adelphi. It was shortly after Hurricane Sandy had devastated much of Long Island. The campus was beautiful in 1972. It was beautiful on my first return visit. It is still beautiful today.
Once I reconnected, I reached out to my classmates by phone and by email. Many, but not all, responded. What can one say about 45 years other than the obvious? It’s a very long time and a lot has happened. I learned that some of us had left New York. I believe that Dale, now in Minnesota, is geographically the farthest away. However, when we spoke, time and distance melted away.
David and Paul, two of my classmates, came to Adelphi on November 13, 2015 for the Celebration of Gordon Derner’s Life and Legacy. Rhonda, another classmate, had passed away shortly before. It was comforting to be with people who knew her “back when.”
Like other classes, we created and performed a skit for our farewell party. I remember that the skit was hilarious and that I played Sonia Osler. Has another class put together a skit to mark a milestone? I don’t know. However, there’s one thing I do know without a doubt. If my class were to get together and do one, it’d be hilarious.
In closing, I want to let all my classmates know that I remember them and us with great fondness. I want alumni in other classes to know that connecting with my class was well worth the effort. You may want to try it.
Published Spring 2018 in Day Residue, the Derner Institute Doctoral Student Newsletter