[Excerpt] At the conclusion of Cornell’s spring semester in 2007, Briggs ended his 47 years of college teaching. As he retired, Cornell honored him with emeritus status. Since then, he has occasionally given public talks and written articles on the need for immigration reform. He says his work still draws motivation from a principle he left with his students at the end of the last lecture in each of his classes over his entire career: “The mode through which the impossible comes to pass is effort.”
That quote from Justice Oliver Wendell Homes was passed on to Briggs by Michigan State University professor Charles Killingsworth. In his long, remarkable career, Briggs has honored Holmes, Killingsworth, and his profession by passing it on — in word and deed — to countless others.