I enjoyed the article about Sarah Purcell ’92 being advised by Al Jones to consider becoming a professor (“A Light Switch Went On,” Winter 2019). As a sophomore, I told Professor Jones that I was torn between declaring math or history as a major. He leaned back, probably under a halo of cigarette smoke, paused, and asked if I had considered architecture. If he were I, he would consider the new field of “urban architecture,” and in particular the program at the University of California-Berkeley.
Recently I’ve retired from a 40-year career in architecture and urban design, leaving my Berkeley practice of 50 to younger partners. At some milestone early on, I wrote to Al saying, “Thanks! That worked out. Now what should I do?” The letter didn’t get a response, but I always hoped it would at least prompt one of those sly, crooked smiles.