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Monday, January 25, 2010

Emmanuel College: A Brief Moment in History

Emmanuel College, a budding institution of high learning in the heart of Boston, hasn't had too many events that have shaped modern American history. I suppose the closest, in physical proximity anyway, that Emmanuel has come was the Stewart-Gardner Museum heist of 1990, biggest heist in U.S. history.

In the early 1970s, a professor with his doctorate in psychology from Tufts University, taught here at Emmanuel College. His name was Dick Berggren, a professional motorist who began his career in 1967 and notched 26 victories on the track until he retired in 1981. His last race was cut short after his car rode up a dirt bank and crashed, causing over 200 spectators to scatter.

Berggren taught for nine years at Emmanuel, and his last day was most historical indeed. Upon walking out to his driveway in the morning, he noticed that the only available vehicle he had to take to work was his truck, which still had his race car attached to the back. He did not have enough time to unhitch the car, so he drove it to the faculty parking lot at Emmanuel. The car was covered and mud, and covered in racing decals and advertisements, like most race cars are. Apparently, this didn't sit well with the school president at the time. She called Berggren into her office, explained that he needed to remove the car, and he promptly quit.

"I knew right then and there that my academic career and my racing didn't go together anymore," said Berggren. "I felt I could always go back to academia."

The real reason that this is so important to our nation's history, is because this decision by Berggren allowed him to star as himself in the classic film, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

If that wasn't his ultimate goal to begin with, then Dick Berggren must've been one lucky bastard.

1 comment:

  1. Fyi, we hosted a Presidential Primary debate back in the 80's sometime...