I naively thought that’s the way all college presidents were until one day I got a call from the President’s Office at another of the Claremont Colleges

In the summer of 1971, after completing my sophomore year at Harvey Mudd, I was working at the college on an NSF-funded project to develop a computer simulation of smog in the San Gabriel Valley. One day I got an urgent call from the Office of the President that Joe Platt’s daughter, Beth, was arriving at Los Angeles Airport but Joe wasn’t available to pick her up.  Could I do so in his place?  Fortunately I was available, and that started a 2-year period where I served as Joe’s driver whenever he needed to be dropped off or picked up at a local airport.  Once or twice a month I would head off to LAX or Ontario Airport to meet him, often late in the evening.  We had many great conversations, most of which I can only vaguely recall, but I’ll never forget how friendly and easy to talk to he was.  I naively thought that’s the way all college presidents were until one day I got a call from the President’s Office at another of the Claremont Colleges.  I had been recommended by Joe to drive this other president to a meeting in San Diego.  The trip was enlightening in a couple of ways.  First, unlike the nondescript Dodge sedan favored by Joe, I was driving an expensive, hulking Cadillac.  Second, we made the whole trip in silence both ways.  That trip underscored for me how special a person Joe was.  He will be missed.

Steve Hinch '73/'74