Tribute by Tom Tiedeman (MArch '73)

Published May 7, 2020

"When I first joined the Buffalo Masters in Architecture program under Dean John Eberhard I had a painful problem with stuttering.  After a class in which I stuttered in a really embarrassing way, I talked about my problem with John.

He said the stutter wasn't really too bad, and that it seemed to go away when either I really knew what I was talking about, or when I was absolutely bullshitting.

One of John's favorite expressions was that if you seriously wanted to learn a new subject, the best way was to start right out be teaching a course in it or writing a book, preferably both. That way you'd be scared enough to really work hard and get creative.

John applied that approach to my stuttering problem. He made sure that I ended up as the spokesperson for many class or research presentations.  Being forced to make countless small and large presentations my stuttering eventually was under control.  As a side benefit I learned to study hard enough so that I actually did know something about whatever I would need to talk about."