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Alumni E-News

David Krantz Prize Fund to honor great thinking

The David Krantz Prize Fund has been created to honor the career of David Krantz, longtime professor of psychology here at the College, and will be awarded annually to a student who is recognized for outstanding thinking. The idea for the prize germinated in the ongoing conversations between a college professor and his student, which now span forty years.

 “He was direct, blunt, but very sharp and always encouraging students to think,” recalled Jon Holsteen ’67 of Krantz’s teaching style.  “Any topic he was working on or any subject he was talking about, he was always asking big questions.  He would draw you in because he wanted to see you think.”

Holsteen was thrilled when his son, Frank Holsteen ’95, began to study with Krantz.  Great thinking was now spanning two generations, and as Frank studied and assisted Krantz, Jon reconnected with Krantz. Long after graduating, Frank continued to stay in touch with Krantz, who was always impressed with Franks passion for learning and thinking.

Years later, Jon Holsteen and Krantz have continued their conversations over dinner, meeting together socially from time to time.  Holsteen recalls it was Krantz who wanted to recognize an outstanding student each year, based on his or her demonstrated ability to think, and their unique intellectual insight, which may not have been fully recognized.

“We give awards based on criteria like grade point average, or grade within a major,” said Krantz, “but we don’t really ever pay much attention to the student whose eyes light up when he or she is particularly excited about learning something.”

Holsteen has generously funded this endowed prize, and others are encouraged to make a gift to the prize fund either to honor David Krantz or the intent of the prize – great thinking.

Both Krantz and Holsteen agree that fostering great thinking is integral to the essence of a liberal arts education.  Holsteen recalls the advice his father once gave him, “If you go to a liberal arts college, you go there to build the foundation of your intellect.  Everything else you learn either at a graduate school or on-the-job training.  If you don’t have a good foundation, you’re going nowhere.”

“I’ve found that to be true,” Holsteen added.