“When one of my mentors at the University of Wisconsin heard that I had accepted a position here, he told me that he thought I’d be unhappy,” Bice told the audience in his Valediction Address May 17, 1980. “‘The University of Virginia,’ he said, ‘will never put up with your electrical devices, and you won’t be happy unless you are surrounded by them.’
“He was wrong. … I have been allowed to have them in my classroom, in my offices and even on this platform. Only once at the very start of my career here did I meet resistance.
“… I brought with me from Wisconsin my amateur radio station. I planned to use it to keep abreast of the research activities of my Wisconsin colleagues.
“I stayed during my first year at the Colonnade Club in Pavilion VII on the Lawn. The secretary of the club was Professor Allen Gwathmey. … When I asked if I could install a rotary beam antenna on top of Pavilion VII, he was nothing less than horrified! I was given a 10-minute lecture about Pavilion VII being the very first University building, and how Mr. Jefferson had planned every aspect of the Lawn, and of our sacred obligation to keep it as planned.
“I responded, ‘But Dr. Gwathmey, Mr. Jefferson would surely have had a rotary beam antenna. He did have a roof-mounted wind indicator at Monticello, you know.’
“Mr. Gwathmey looked heavenward, then said, ‘I suppose you are right. Go ahead and put up the antenna but only on the new section of the building, and it can stay only if no one complains.’
The antenna worked fine and it stayed in place for two years. Then its presence was detected by the Garden Club ladies, and I learned that there was an authority higher than Mr. Gwathmey’s. The antenna had to go.”
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