2016 Archives

SMU professor, former student reunite at Mount Everest base camp

It’s a small Everest, after all

July 13, 2016

Ama Dablam Mountain
In front of Ama Dablam mountain

DALLAS (SMU)Psychology Professor Susan Hornstein has taught more than 7,000 students over the course of her 14 years at SMU, so she’s used to running into former pupils around town.

What she isn’t used to is running into them at base camp on Mount Everest, but that’s exactly what happened May 21 when Hornstein was spotted by former student Aliza Greenberg during a Himalayan trek with two friends

“It was cold. I had my hat and my glasses on – I don’t know how she recognized me,” Hornstein says. “My two friends were talking with her father and when I walked up, Aliza turned to me and said ‘Hornstein?’ I was so amazed she recognized me.”

Standing in the middle of a small village of colored tents in the shadow of the world’s most famous mountain, the student and her former professor caught up.

“I asked how she was doing, what she’d done since graduation – she’d just earned a masters in holocaust studies and she said she was going to the Northeast for her Ph.D.,” Hornstein says. “I met her father, who she was traveling with, and then we took a picture together.”

It was the first time they’d crossed paths since Greenberg took Hornstein’s Introduction to Psychology class in 2011. Hornstein has developed a bit of a reputation for the class, as she frequently uses pictures from her travels to drive home particular points about each week’s lecture.

“Oh, this picture will absolutely make the presentation this fall,” Hornstein says. “It was a surreal experience and it goes to show how small the world really is.”

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SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

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