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Science and academia tend to be dominated by persons who are utterly brilliant, or who are proficient at self-promotion, or who are willing to sacrifice their personal lives and work twice as hard as their peers, or who exhibit some combination of these attributes. Occasionally, however, someone comes along who is just "ordinary" compared with academic overachievers but whose accomplishments far exceed reasonable expectations. Eugene D. Fleharty is such a person. Although he is extraordinarily bright, few would describe him as utterly brilliant. He has never been inclined to "toot his own horn" or otherwise promote himself. And, although he always works harder than most of his peers, he maintains a diverse personal life that includes family, sports, art, community affairs, and other leisure activities. In my opinion, the thing that sets Gene apart from many of his peers is "focus." Indeed, I know of no utterly brilliant academic overachievers who have become known internationally in several markedly different areas of science while becoming a cutthroat competitor in table tennis and racquetball, developing into an award-winning carver of duck decoys, advising community and state officials about environmental issues, mentoring an impressive list of productive graduate students, and providing the intellectual leadership needed by his academic department as it careened recklessly toward the Twenty-first Century.
Fort Hays State University
Library Call Number
Choate, Jerry R., "Reflections of a Naturalist: Papers Honoring Professor Eugene D. Fleharty" (2000). Fort Hays Studies Series. 69.