Searching for Dr. Shelmidine
We could fill a year’s worth of this magazine’s pages with
stories of professors who change lives. Here’s one.
by C. Mark Smith ’61
t has been almost 50 years since I last saw or spoke to Lyle Stanton Shelmidine, but he has been in
my thoughts—almost continuously—since then. He was my faculty advisor, my mentor, and my
friend. Whenever I see or listen to news of some unfolding crisis in the Middle East, I remember
that it was Shelmidine who first explained its root causes to me and gave it meaning.
I was his reader in his world history survey course during the 1959–60 school year, following Walter
Lowrie ’58 in the position after the lapse of a school term. In fact, Lowrie would have been the logical
person to write this article. He was a Shelmidine student, friend, protégé, and faculty colleague who then
went on to his own illustrious teaching career at Puget Sound. Walter and I talked about working togeth-
er on this article before his all-too-early death in May 2010 left the project in my hands.
Shelmidine’s many trips to the Middle East in the 1930s and while in the military
during World War II made him a respected expert on the region.