A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 16, 2012
“Old deans never die—they just lose their faculties”

"Old deans/principals never die—they just lose their faculties” is jocular one-line saying containing a pun on the word “faculty.” Harvard Law School Dean Erwin N. Griswold (1904-1994) observed in 1961 that many of his Harvard law professors were leaving to take positions in President John F. Kennedy’s administration. “Good deans never die— they just lose their faculties,” Griswold was quoted as saying in January 1961. Versions of the joke (usually “good deans” is replaced with “old deans") quickly became popular.

A similar education joke is “Old teachers never retire—they just lose their class.”


Wikipedia: Erwin Griswold
Erwin Nathaniel Griswold (July 14, 1904 – November 19, 1994) was an appellate attorney who argued many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Griswold served as Solicitor General of the United States (1967–1973) under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. He also served as Dean of Harvard Law School for 21 years.

Google News Archive
27 January 1961, St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, pg. 1, col. 2:
Jokes About Losing
Staff to Kennedy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—Harvard Law School Dean Edwin (sic) N. Griswold has a new verse to an old song.

Commenting to the Kentucky and Louisville Bar associations Thursday that 10 per cent of his staff has joined President Kennedy’s administration, Griswold quipped:

“Good deans never die— they just lose their faculties.”

Google News Archive
20 June 1961, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, pg. 1, right masthead:
TODAY’S CHUCKLE
Dean of Harvard Law School, who has lost many men to the Kennedy administration: “Deans never die; they just lose their faculties.”

21 September 1961, The Evening Standard (Uniontown, PA), Earl Wilson entertainment column, pg. 3, cols. 2-3:
Special college joke for this time of year: “Old deans never die—they just lose their faculties.”

Google Books
September 1967, The Rotarian, pg. 8, col. 3:
Old school board members never die, they just lose their faculties.

Google Books
696 Silly School Jokes & Riddles
By Joseph Rosenbloom
New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
2003
Pg. 104:
Old principals never die, they just lose their faculties.
Old teachers never retire, they just lose their class.

Google Books
Business Wit & Wisdom
By Richard S. Zera
Washington, DC: Beard Books’
2005
Pg. 63:
Old Principals never die...they just lose their faculties.

Google Books
A Man Walks Into a Bar 3:
The Ultimate Collection of Jokes and One-Liners

By Jonathan Swan
London: Ebury press(Random House)
2010
Pg. 136:
Old teachers never die. They just lose their class.
Old professors never die. They just lose their faculties.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Friday, November 16, 2012 • Permalink