Have you ever wondered what professors and deans would like to do upon retirement? I interviewed Professor Jane Aiken, Director of the Community Justice Project, Andrew Cornblatt, Dean of Admissions at the Law Center, and Professor David Cole to find out.
As I prepared to interview Jane Aiken on what her future retirement plans were, I thought she would tell me any one of the standard answers—write a book, travel the globe, speak at different schools or work for the government. I never expected her answer. She told me that it had always been her life long dream to be a farmer in Tennessee. Tennessee!! Growing up, she was exposed to family members who either were farmers or knew farmers. She grew up being aware of the growing decrease in farmers, and she wanted to contribute. However, to actually be a famer was not a line of business welcomed in her family. Her parents and older siblings had all completed graduate school, and she was expected to do the same. So according to her, “since I had a second passion for the law, I went to law school and obtained my JD. But because of debt, I had to start practicing law.”
But when I asked her why she didn’t drop out after she paid her debt, she laughed and said, “As I gained more fame as a lawyer, it was difficult to just throw in the towel and start digging the earth. I was forced to keep going. I don’t know why, but I felt that I had to keep going.” I guess that when she eventually retires, there is no need to keep going for her. She wants to rekindle her childhood dream. She plans to move to Tennessee after 2 years of retirement and take up farming. Asked whether she would not feel out of place or ashamed, she said, “I know a lot of professors in different schools or people in government or other blue collar jobs who, after retirement, have done something that no one would expect. For example, the senator who did Dancing With the Stars, so I am no different.”
I also talked to Andrew Cornblatt, Dean of Student Admissions. His goal upon retirement was not to rekindle his second passion but to continue working with students like he always has. Apparently, his best memories are of his time spent at Camp Anawana, so he wants to volunteer at a camp. I asked him whether he could handle the daily affairs of the camp, and he laughed and said, “I will have people running the camp; I only want to open a camp for children.” I don’t think it is right to make fun of peoples’ retirement dreams, but I wonder if he has considered the liability from potential lawsuits. But if camp is what he wants, then he has every right to see his dream come through.
I could practically predict Professor Cole’s answer. He was my criminal procedure professor during my first year. I also knew he had worked for the Constitutional Project and was extremely pro-defense, so I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. So when I asked him what he wanted to do, he said he would like to educate “prisoners and susceptible neighborhoods about their legal rights so that the police could not abuse them.” What a typical answer. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to accept it, so I pushed him to think about what he would do if the world was coming to an end tomorrow. He said, “I want law and order.” I gave up. It was truly interesting to hear what professors and deans planned to do upon retirement. I guess there is no set track.
(Happy April Fool’s! Love, Law Weekly.)