Step into Dave Clemente’s outer office in Silverman Hall, and his appreciation of the Beatles is quite evident. So is his sense of humor.
On one wall, the Medical Imaging Sciences program director has placed framed album covers of “Abbey Road” and “A Hard Day’s Night” … but wait a minute, who’s this guy peering out of the photo next to Paul, John, George and Ringo? (Hint: it’s not “fifth Beatle” Pete Best.)
A few years ago when his office was being repainted, Dave happened to be at home going through his albums – yes, they’re vinyl — when he was struck by a whimsical-yet-practical idea.
He decided the Beatles album covers would look good on his outer office wall. But that still left the problem of that “horrible looking bolt” that juts out from the wall.
That’s when Dave hit upon the idea to use his high school graduation photo, in the style of “A Hard Day’s Night.” The top of his face is in one frame (covering the bolt) while the rest of his face is in a separate frame resting on top of a bookshelf underneath. Check it out here on video.
“It’s always funny to watch people come in,” Dave said. “When students come in they say, ‘Oh my gosh, is that you?’ It always makes me chuckle because it’s almost unrecognizable at this point.”
Dave’s contemporaries on the faculty are quite familiar with the Beatles, of course, but the appeal of good old rock ‘n’ roll spans the generations.
“Many younger students are very familiar with music from the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Dave said. “It’s gratifying to know they have an appreciation for some of the music that we like.”
The wall décor is about more than just music, however.
“I like to ask students about their world, about their music, what they do, their hobbies, sports, whatever they’re into,” Dave said. “This is just kind of a nice way to put a little bit of me out there – very little. It doesn’t have to be intrusive. If someone wants to ask me about it, they can ask me about it and we might start talking about music.
“They can know besides being their instructor and an educator here, that you are an average guy and you can really enjoy some of the same things they do,” Dave said. “It’s great for the students. I think we create an environment here at Upstate where students feel we’re a family, and they can feel very much at ease in approaching us… It’s a very human, approachable type environment that we create here, which actually facilitates learning very well.”
FIVE FACTS ABOUT DAVE CLEMENTE
- Has been on the Upstate faculty since 1996.
- Born and raised in the Southern Tier, earned degrees from SUNY Upstate, SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego.
- Is an experienced distance runner, including the Mountain Goat 10-miler and the Empire State Half-Marathon.
- Favorite Beatles song is “In My Life” from the Rubber Soul album. The vinyl album.
- Recently purchased a vintage 1960s stereo console to play his albums.
Editor’s note: This marks the first of an occasional series on faculty members’ working environments – call it “Upstate Office Space” – that offers insights into our faculty as educators and as human beings. To recommend a faculty member who has a cool office (or lab, or cubicle), e-mail “With Distinction” editor Jim McKeever at firstname.lastname@example.org.