Every year, the Editor-in-Chief collaborates with other staff members to write a fresh take on the legacy that Dr. Saltman left behind through his passion for teaching and zest for life. You can look back through the previous volume archives to see how we honored him in each one. Here are our most recent dedications. By sharing these stories, we honor his memory and help it to live on for future generations.
Volume 9 and 10 Tributes: Read online.
Volume 8 Tribute to Dr. Saltman
By Leila Haghighat & Nishita Shah
Office hours can either be an undergraduate’s most awkward or most rewarding college experience. For his part, though, Paul Saltman never failed to make students feel more welcome than during his open office hours in Bonner Hall.
Picture yourself as his biochemistry student in the ‘90s. Studying the pathways of β-oxidation and glycolysis always seems to pale in comparison to blasting the tunes of boy bands and the Spice Girls on your boombox. So, aft er bombing his midterm, you decide to pull yourself up by your overalls, get proactive about your education and head on over to Dr. Saltman’s office. Only, the problem is you’re straight up intimidated. You’ve never spoken to someone 6’5” in stature before, and the fi rst time you came late to lecture at 8:01 a.m., he called you out for it.
But, as soon as you step onto the soft Flokati carpet of Dr. Saltman’s office, you immediately warm up to him. He sits with his back to the window and his face toward you, ever so attentive to your concerns about class and life in general. The M&Ms and gummy bears on his desk are yours for the taking, and, within seconds, office hours with Dr. Saltman become your new favorite pastime.
Despite the inviting aura that the candy and soft carpet gave off , Saltman was not one to coddle students who did not understand the basic rules of respect. A morning person, Saltman always taught his classes at 8 a.m., a class time that prompted most students to repeatedly hit their alarm’s snooze button as it went off . He believed heavily in having mutual respect in teacher-student relationships, and he understood his duty to teach students all he could while respecting them as equals. At the same time, however, students had to show him an equal amount of respect.
Dr. Gabriele Wienhausen, Associate Dean of Education in the Biological Sciences, remembers the time and energy Saltman invested in his students’ education. Having worked alongside him when she fi rst started at UCSD, Wienhausen recalls how amazing of a mentor Saltman was. He never turned students away from office hours and, most importantly, provided the guidance that college students needed when trying to decide on a career path.
A huge advocate for undergraduate research, Saltman also touched the lives of many individuals who were not sitting in his lectures or working with him as colleagues. Dr. Hooman Rashidi, Assistant Professor of Pathology at the UCSD School of Medicine, met Saltman as an undergraduate when he worked in a lab near Saltman’s office. A bioinformatics major at the time, Rashidi was unsure of what path to take for graduate school. Later, as Rashidi’s graduate advisor, Saltman provided the guidance necessary for Rashidi to decide on his future. “He was the perfect mentor—realistic and supportive,” said Rashidi about Saltman’s infl uence on his decision to pursue medicine.
As anecdotes from those close to him make it clear, wherever Saltman went, he eff ected change. He opened doors for undergraduates to take their education outside of the classroom as TAs and researchers, and he inspired other faculty members to do the same. Th at dedication to undergraduates and positive impression upon their lives are parts of his legacy that Saltman Quarterly tries to preserve. When asked what Saltman’s reaction towards the Saltman Quarterly would be, Wienhausen responded, “Paul would brag about Saltman Quarterly because students did it. It exemplifi es his vision and expectations for students here. He would be tickled to death if he read it today, because he always talked about students being able to do amazing things.”
Undergraduates are doing amazing things here at UCSD, and it's largely due to the amazing legacy Saltman left behind.