I met Art just over 14 years ago when I was interviewing for graduate school. I was convinced by an undergraduate psychology course that I was interested in human memory. When I applied to Brandeis I looked through the psychology faculty web pages and saw that Dr. Wingfield studied memory, I naturally made sure to include his name in my application letter.
A few months later, having already been accepted to another graduate program, I found myself in Art’s lab on an interview day. I remember two things very clearly:
First, somehow, in the course of a two minute conversation, Art deftly convinced me that speech comprehension was much more interesting than memory, and wasn’t aging also interesting. Maybe I should study them. Although in retrospect this sometimes seems like it may have been some sort of Jedi mind trick, it was, in fact, related to the second point:
Very early in the day I decided that I wanted to work with Art and study whatever he studied. Throughout the day I was furiously making up contingency plans if I didn’t get in to Brandeis, at least one of which involved spending years sleeping out in a tent and volunteering in Art’s lab until I got accepted.
Fortunately before I left campus that day Art told me I was accepted into the program. I was glad for the educational opportunity, but also for the fact that I would not have to sleep in a tent, especially given what Boston winters are like. Since that time I have been continually grateful for Art’s kindness, patience, wisdom, and friendship. I think I join many of you in thinking that it’s hard to imagine where we would be without him.