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Dr. Mel Presents President's Lecture

 

Dr. Mel Goldstein, the constantly smiling, wise-cracking television meteorologist, may be one of the most recognized people in Connecticut.

Luckily for Western Connecticut State University, he is an institution on campus, too.

Dr. Mel, as he is known by many, was a professor at Western long before he stood in front of a television camera, and he created the weather center, the first of its kind on a college campus in New England.

He retired from WCSU in 1986 after 27 years of teaching and became the chief meteorologist at WTNH-TV, where he continues to work. Dr. Mel maintained his ties with the university, though, and returned this spring to present the annual President’s Lecture to a full house in the Science Building.

Dr. Mel focused his talk on his early years, when he lived on the coast of Massachusetts and watched storms developed over the ocean. He dedicated the lecture to his mother, who had died that week at 93. She cultivated a happy atmosphere in their house, where laughter was the norm.

Sometimes, the love of laughter and weather came together.

“In 1954 I was waiting for my dad to get home and Hurricane Carol came along,” the meteorologist said. “Mom and I watched the roof of our house fly off – and we were still laughing. We asked ourselves: Do you think Dad will be able to get home?

“The next year, 1955, we had two storms, Hurricane Connie and Diane. I’m down in the basement with my grandfather and we were bailing out the basement. We didn’t know if the ocean was coming in or it was rain. Granddad gave it the taste test.” He demonstrated the dipping of his finger into the water. “Nope, it’s not the ocean! Pretty soon, the fire department came to evacuate us.”

And here he laughed heartily.

Dr. Mel said that weather, with all its unpredictability and occasional devastation, taught him to keep an even temperament.

“In the face of so many things that happen to us in our lives, it’s taught me to not be brought down by, oh, I don’t know, things like multiple myeloma,” said Dr. Mel, who was diagnosed in 1996 with incurable cancer. “I didn’t know what multiple myeloma was so I looked it up and it said the average survival rate is 33 months. I said, ‘Well, it’s better than three.’”

His wife Arlene and daughter Laura attended the lecture, and he gave them credit for his outlook, along with his mother.

“I’ve been fortunate with a wonderful family,” Dr. Mel said. “I’ve been fortunate with wonderful colleagues. I’ve had wonderful cancer care. How could I not smile?“

And I’ll tell you,” he added, “I’m not going to stop.”

 

 

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