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College of Arts and Sciences|Diamond Jubilee -- 75th Anniversary

Dennis J. Stanford

Bachelor of Arts - 1965 - Anthropology

The individual attention given Dennis Stanford by UW anthropologist William Mulloy gave him the competitive edge in graduate school. "There were few anthropology courses at UW then, and, to help prepare me for graduate school, Dr. Mulloy assigned me several books on a variety of anthropological subjects to read each week, and then gave me an oral test on the readings every Friday afternoon. One text was in French, to help prepare me for my French comprehensive. I found in grad school that I was much better educated than my fellow students from large and well respected universities."

The individual attention given Dennis Stanford by UW anthropologist William Mulloy gave him the competitive edge in graduate school. "There were few anthropology courses at UW then, and, to help prepare me for graduate school, Dr. Mulloy assigned me several books on a variety of anthropological subjects to read each week, and then gave me an oral test on the readings every Friday afternoon. One text was in French, to help prepare me for my French comprehensive. I found in grad school that I was much better educated than my fellow students ham large and well respected universities." Stanford was raised in Rawlins and developed an early interest in Wyoming prehistory. Following his studies at UW, he earned a master's and PhD in anthropology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. After finishing his graduate work at New Mexico, Stanford was offered a highly competitive position with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., which had just initiated a program in paleo-Indian studies. There he held various positions including curator and Head of the Division of Archaeology. Today, Stanford chairs the Department of Anthropology with the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian. He is known as a leading authority on the peopling of North and South America. In assessing the value of a liberal education, Stanford echoes the words of his mentor, Bill Mulloy: "He once said that an archaeologist needs to be a jack of all trades, but master of none! A diverse education including studies in geology, biology, sociology, linguistics, and history gives the student of anthropology an appreciation and understanding of the evolution of human societies and their relationship to the natural environment."

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