He’s a sportswriter, not a horticulturist, but Seth Gruen found himself in need of general course hours the second semester of his freshman year, so Horticulture 101 it was.
“I took the class for two reasons,” says Gruen, a national baseball columnist at Bleacher Report and host of the Big Ten Unfiltered podcast.
“One, it was the only class I had on Friday and began at 11 a.m. I thought the timing sufficient enough such that I could sleep in after going out on Thursday night and begin the weekend early when class concluded. After every class, a friend and I went to Za’s for lunch.
“Two, I knew of the professor, Bob Skirvin. He was assigned to my freshman orientation group and I found him hilarious.
“As far as academia is concerned, I remember little from that class except for the term ‘hedging,’ which refers to the squaring of bushes. I also remember the teaching assistant, Richard Mulwa, who was like Dr. Skirvin’s shadow. My friend and I found that funny. But nonetheless, it worked out for Richard, who is a professor of crop sciences at Egerton University in Kenya.
“The class was in Mumford Hall and I remember one Friday Dr. Skrivin put an ad for cranberry juice on the projector. Google ‘cranberry juice ad,’ and it’s the first thing that comes up. The ad is of two men waste deep in cranberries.
“So, Dr. Skirvin exclaimed ‘How is this ad appealing? Who wants someone’s genitalia in their cranberry juice.’ No one appreciates humor about bodily functions and/or parts more than a college male. So I naturally burst out laughing.
“I remember leaving class that day thinking about how much Dr. Skirvin clearly loves what he does. I knew whatever I did, I wanted to feel the same way about it.
“By the way, Dr. Skrivin still has the same job at the university.”