Rodney's Latest Interactions
Posted on: Feb 04, 2015 at 2:33 AM
Posted on: Mar 03, 2014 at 11:03 AM
I, Rod Burgoyne, turned 80 years old last month. I feel just the same as I always did----until I stand up. Despite the gym with a trainer at least three times a week, age is doing its work. A stent saved half of my heart last year, and luck saved my brain from a case of encephalomyelitis the year before that. I am still here. I can’t complain. I have had and have a wonderful life.
For over forty-five years I have been a professor at The University of Southern California. For ten years I was the Medical Director of the Department of Mental Health for Los Angeles County. All that time I had a part time private practice of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. These activities required lectures and conferences in many places, and along with following my wife Toni around the world in her position as Chair of the Western Hemisphere and member of the International Board of the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts of the World, produced a great deal of travel.
Almost twenty years ago I began to retire in small pieces, but I still teach one full day a week training senior residents in psychiatry at UCLA. I love to teach and will continue it as long as my students think I have something to say and my gradual loss of memory is sufficiently overlooked. I do miss my private practice, as the clientele I had were the people who ran things and thus gave me insider knowledge about politics, education, government, business, finance and the film industry. I admit I enjoyed knowing things that others did not and could not know.
Since “retiring”, Toni and I have continued to travel; only now it is just for us and for longer periods. For example, we just returned from a cruise around New Zealand, Tasmania and the southwest part of Australia. Last year we were in Mexico, Ecuador, the Galapagos, northern California, Croatia, Italy, British Columbia, and New York City.
My first wife, Marian, and I were married when I was 19 and she was 18 and the only student younger than me at Utah State. We had four children who have done well and have all graduated from the University of Southern California where we got a break on their tuition, and three of them have graduate degrees in medicine, international business finance, and electrical engineering. But I must brag about our grandchildren. Our Granddaughter has a DVM with honors from the University of California, Davis, and our grandson is a Magna graduate from Harvard in aeronautical engineering. He is soon to finish his PhD from Cal Tech, and is doing some of his research at Oxford, in Zurich, and with NASA in Virginia.
Marian and I raised our children in a small California town much like a southwest version of Montpelier. We had a good life there. We had a home with a pool, cars, an airplane, and memberships in the important community groups. I had a very large practice of general medicine which included my delivering over one thousand babies in eight years. Navy pilots and their families were our main friends, including some who were lost in Viet Nam. It was during this time I began to question some of my beliefs.
I notice that most of you other alumni who have written your profiles have described your LDS church activities. I could do that, too, because all of the time until I was in my thirties I held a variety of positions of service and authority in the church. And, for a couple of summers when I was in medical school and then when I was practicing medicine I fulfilled a part time “home mission”. I converted six individuals from three different families. They were educated, successful people. I found it easy to do. I was disturbed by how easy. That, and the fact that there was need for psychiatric care in my family, were two of the reasons I became so interested in how the human mind works. That, then, started me on my journey into my specialization in psychiatry.
Marian died after 27 years of our marriage. I was extremely fortunate to then marry Toni, and we will celebrate 33 years in May. She has been the most successful step mother I have ever known.
For a rural area, our Montpelier school system was spectacularly good. We had dedicated teachers who knew what they taught. They liked us and were like us. We left our schooling believing we could compete with anybody and were confident and able to grab opportunities if we wanted to do so. I can, and I am certain you also can, look back and realize there were particular teachers and events that helped mold us into who we became. I shall always be grateful for those underpinnings.