Professor Christopher Kendall

Category: 1960s /  All Harkness Stories /  Economics, Finance & Business /  Higher Education /  Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths / 

Professor Christopher Kendall (HF 1966 - 68) studied in Austin, Texas.  Some 400 applied for Harkness Fellowships that year, and he was among the 40 who were selected for interviews for 25 Fellowships. Knowing the names of the committee he identified their professions and prepared for the interview by guessing at the style of questions he might be asked. He recalls that the committee faced him centred around the chairman across a long oak table. Chris was on an isolated single chair opposite, and on the table in front of him was a slip of paper with the names of those facing him. When questioned, his fingers and eyes on the paper, he knew the questioner, and framed his answers accordingly. The interview became a competition among some of the committee members to ask the best questions. His tactics, recognized by the committee,  led them to enjoy challenging him. For example one of them proposed that as a geologist he might prefer a map on his wall but he replied, “No, I would prefer a Goya”. The committee then spent time discussing a current exhibition of Goya. He was accepted as a Fellow and spent his two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at UT Texas working with Prof. Folk on the Geology of West Texas. For details of the remainder of his eclectic career in academia and the oil industry as a geologist; see here.