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Meet a Colleague: George Bent George Bent is the Sidney Gause Childress Professor of Art History.

George-Bent-2-scaled-600x400 Meet a Colleague: George BentGeorge Bent, Sidney Gause Childress Professor of Art History

Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
I started in 1993 so this is year number 30.

Q. What courses are you teaching this term?
• ARTH 101 (Introduction to Art History: Caves to Cathedrals)
• ARTH 256 (Italian Renaissance Art)
• ARTH 395 (Senior Seminar: Approaches to Art History)

Q. What is your favorite course to teach, and why? 
Like my three children, I have no favorites until two of them bug me. Right now I’m loving the senior seminar, but Italian Renaissance has always been my bread and butter.

Q. What is the most satisfying aspect of teaching?
Seeing the “a-ha” look in the eyes of a student who has never taken art history before and hearing from alumni who tell me about the “a-ha” moment they had for the first time as an art history student.

Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy going for a run, hiking up North Mountain with my dog and sipping an Old Fashioned at home with Lorri Olan.

Q. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Rochester, New York – the city of light, city of magic.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a fireman, duh.

Q. Who inspired you to teach? What about them inspired you?
William Hood and Robert Neil, Oberlin College. They made me want to teach. Both were brilliant, both were opinionated, both were demanding and both were consummate showmen. Best lecturers I’ve ever heard, hands down. Pam Simpson and Ed Craun taught me how to be a faculty member at W&L.

Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
I walked on loose-tile roofs of tall Italian buildings without scaffolding, hard hats or lifelines to break my fall. That was pretty stupid.

Q. What book are you reading now?
“I Have Some Questions for You” by Rebecca Makkai ’99, who is a former student.

Q. What music are you listening to these days?
Alternative and indie music. My playlist is derived from the SiriusXMU and Alt Nation channels. I rarely listen to anything recorded before 2010 because I feel the need to be up on the things that interest today’s youth.

Q. What is the website you visit most often and why?
https://florenceasitwas.wlu.edu because it’s mesmerizing. Go check it out and you’ll see why

Q. If you could have coffee with one person, who would it be and why?
Barack Obama. I like smart people who crush tan suits.

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
It’s a toss-up between the Places des Vosges in Paris and Yosemite, California. But I have to say that Collierstown, Virginia is pretty sweet.

Q. What is your favorite film (movie) of all time?
It’s a toss-up between “Young Frankenstein” and “Little Big Man.” But shout-outs to “The Big Lebowski” and “Raising Arizona.”

Q. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Harrison Ford. But the old grouchy one of today – not the young Indiana Jones of way back when.

Q. What is your desert island food?
Basil Duck from Napa Thai – I’d have it flown in on AeroGrubHub!

Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I used to sing in a barbershop quartet.

Q. What is your secret talent?
I make a mean Bolognese sauce.

Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
It’s been a good run. I’m grateful to my colleagues for their friendship and comaraderie, I’m grateful to my students for trusting me with their time and interests and I’m grateful to the institution for supporting my work. W&L is a good place, but there’s still a whole lot of work to be done to get it where it wants (and needs) to be.