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On the Death of Dr. Orville Menard. - Comments (1)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 14th January, 2014 @ 10:45:14 AM

For better or worse, I am a trained economist That training was paid for, for the most part, by the taxpayers of Nebraska. Thank you very much.

Economics has been rightly called “the dismal science.” Indeed, while it is a dismal study, it’s not really science, intersecting as it does with world politics, where real science is accorded no respect, and often no attention. The one thing that the study of economics can achieve for the student is a certain analytical discipline of mind which holds stubbornly to principles and facts. This bent of mind, which thrives in skepticism, is free and eager to grapple with the affairs of nations and their systems, once armed with a few sturdy analytical tools.

The professors who influenced me a great deal in my youth, were engaged in the analysis of the behavior of nations, and taught me to so engage. Two men in particular come to mind in connection with my present topic, but I estimate there were a many as 10-12 men and one woman who had a salutary influence in the training of my mind, despite their foibles and warts. It was a thread of both study and conversation to discuss the pasts and futures of nations, with focus at least in part, on their political economies.

In the midst of these studies, personal and social crisis in my life colluded together against me, according to the beneficent and inexorable plan of God, Who personally directed the disorderly, hostile and overreaching events that were the true stuff of my life. God truly caused, in my own case, “all [sorts of] things [to] work together for good to them who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”

God actually met me mystically in my studies. I am not claiming the miraculous, but I will tell you that God can be intensely personal, and enter into your deepest problems right along with you. He did this for me in a most preposterous circumstance.

I received Jesus Christ as Savior in the spring of 1975.

I had been dilatory, to say the least, in my approach to my university baccalaureate degree. Upon receiving Jesus Christ, I made some determinations among which was that I would finish my degree in a year. Incredibly, I needed to complete or take 51 credit hours in that year. I set to it.

One particular piece of that work was a course in Political Science involving the development of nations. I went to the professor, who was one of my favorites, but who played no favorites. This was Dr. Orville Menard, a man with whom I had many conversations, and enjoyed at the local pub as often as in the classroom.

He was still a serious student himself, occupying the true place of scholar in his field. I met him in the afternoon. We looked on the calendar and saw that I had no more than a week to complete the course without receiving a failing grade, and, worse, that the professor was leaving for studies overseas in two days, and so the final test must be taken “tomorrow morning.”

I had not prepared for that class in nearly two years. I had taken an incomplete with a “D” on my mid-term test. I asked the professor what will the final cover, and he handed me the textbook, and said, “This.” I went home with that book, determined to read it all afternoon and evening, get a little sleep, and then take the test.

But that’s not what happened.

I had a difficult time settling down to read that book. Call it whatever you want, I have my own excuses. But when I settled in to read it, it was later in the evening, perhaps 10 pm. I determined that I might not sleep. I was alert. I told God I need Him to pull me through this. I did not cry, although I certainly have. I had no anxiety.

As I read that 300-page book, I did not underline. I took no notes. I read with an understanding and insight as I now only have with the Scriptures. I had thought to stay up all night, but completed the book and got perhaps two hours of sleep before reporting to the test. I brought two “blue books” as required. The professor handed me a single question for this final test: “Using the model presented in the text, comment on the future development of India and China.”

Eagerly, I set about that dissertation. The entire model of development, in detail, was actively residing in my mind. I wrote feverishly for perhaps 2-3 hours. Everything flowed well. I submitted my completed papers, and they would be graded that very afternoon. I went away and rested a few hours. I returned to Dr. Menard’s office midway through the afternoon. He was intense. It was good that he was smiling. He handed me my test, scored as it was at the very top. “A+.”

The professor wanted to talk to me now that he saw I had done, apparently, extremely well on his test. “I wanted to give you an ‘A’ in this course. Clearly you have mastered the material. But I could not conceive of any score to combine with your ‘D’ that could come out ‘A.’ So I gave you a B+ in the course.” Frankly, the work achieving the “A+” needed an explanation.

I explained to that very nice, but atheistic professor, that God had helped me, and I actually enjoyed taking the test. I am certain it made an impression on him. I certainly hope it did. This was the last time that I met with this very nice man, to whom I am in certain debt beyond that paid to him by Nebraska taxpayers.

Today Orville Menard died at age 80. He wanted no fanfare, especially not a memorial service.

I want to use this opportunity to give glory to God first, who enabled me in that remarkable test preparation, and speak some good words about a kind man, Dr. Orville Menard who truly cared for me in my youth, and who was a good example of some of the best in manhood, including a 60-year marriage to the same woman.

Dr. Orville Menard led no vain life. I wish I knew I would meet him cheerfully in the coming age.

Comment by mary lynn » 14th January, 2014 @ 08:08:14 PM

What a great tribute to Mr. Menard. What a wonderful writer you are in expressing your feelings for this man as a professor and how you gave
God the glory in that final.

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