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Good student, good friend
Early this spring Henry Galant, professor emeritus of government, established the Barry Segall Memorial Library Endowment Fund to celebrate the life and accomplishments of his former student Barry Segall ’79. In the eyes of many, this act of generosity captured the quintessence of a Skidmore education: the strong bond between faculty and students. “He was one of my best students and subsequently a good friend,” Galant said when he learned of Segall’s death in 1999.
Galant recalls that he and Segall clicked from the first day of class. “Barry was eager, questioning, and serious,” and what’s more, says Galant, “He was so interested in the required Manchester Guardian readings that he subscribed after he graduated.” That alone would have endeared any student to this particular professor, but Segall had other qualities that Galant liked. “Barry was positive and thoughtful; he was the kind of student that made a teacher feel good.”
In 1979, the year Segall graduated as a government-history major and Galant stepped down as chair of the government department, Seagall surprised his professor with a farewell Chinese buffet. And for the next twenty years, it was good food and a common interest in travel as much as discussions about Guardian articles that contributed to the deepening friendship. On Henry and Eleanore Galant’s forays to Manhattan, Segall would introduce them to trendy cafes in Greenwich Village, and he always anticipated an excellent meal at the Galants’ when he returned to Saratoga. “Barry responded with enthusiasm to life,” Galant says.
The friendship expanded when Segall married. “My husband always enjoyed talking to Henry Galant. He was a real mentor and influenced Barry’s career choices (law school and real estate),” says Sharon Segall. In fact, Barry Segall once told Galant that he hoped he, as a father of three children, would influence them they way Henry Galant had influenced him.
When visits became less frequent, phone calls and long personal letters kept the Segalls and Galants in contact. No former student, says Galant, “sustained a friendship as faithfully as Barry Segall.”
So, come this fall, using the first money accrued by the fund, Scribner Library’s social sciences librarian will make acquisitions that reflect Segall’s interest in the governments of Britain, France, and Israel. The bookplate will read “In memory of Barry Segall, given by Henry and Eleanore Galant.”
Student and teacher: ties that bind. —ACH