Professor Platt had a profound effect on my future career. He was my advisor during freshman year, and after I failed multi-variable calculus first semester, he called me into his office and asked what the problem was. I told him I got the grade I deserved, because I didn’t understand a thing. He then spent about an hour explaining the concepts of divergence and curl using analogies from physics. A light bulb in my head clicked, and I got an A in repeating the class.
It was the first time I was aware of a teacher being able to adjust their teaching methods for an individual student’s learning style. I try to do that for my own students now, using whatever modalities or learning styles might be their strengths. I first saw that from Joe Platt.
As I was at Mudd longer, I learned about Dr. Platt as founding President and all his history with HMC and the Five Colleges. But for me, I will remember him simply as a great teacher.