In 1973, Donald Hanks made a tongue-in-cheek remark to a classroom of 60 students studying the history of philosophy. The scholarly joke was met with silence—until a booming laugh erupted from the last row. The culprit—or perhaps, accomplice—was a man, wearing a blue workman’s shirt, who stayed after class to chat with the professor.
Carl E. Muckley Sr. told Donald Hanks, now a UNO professor emeritus of philosophy, that he worked as a welder at Avondale Shipyards and made a reference to the “Standard Man.” “I had no idea who the Standard Man might be, but later learned that it was a reference to the working person, man or woman, who can examine his or her reflection in the mirror and approve of the image looking back, namely the solid person of integrity who goes to school, raises a family, and takes a well-earned place as part of the backbone of the nation,” says Hanks in an online tribute. The professor had no idea at the time that the welder with whom he was conversing was a millionaire many times over.