Modern day “Indiana Jones” visits alma mater

Amy Qiao, News Editor

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   As Michael B. Tóth ‘75 delivers his speech on the auditorium stage sporting his colorful cosmic printed socks, he shares an acronym for students to follow when faced with a problem: SOCKS (Situation, Options, Consequences, Keep cool, and Solve). 

 Tóth tries his best to apply this acronym, coined by airplane pilots, to his own work, and now, he encourages Trinity students to do the same. When Tóth is invited to work on a new project, whether it be translating palimpsests from St. Catherine’s Monastery or interpreting David Livingstone’s Diaries, he has to work with a team of scholars and apply this method. 

   “Take a pause and think SOCKS,” Tóth said. “…I always have to remind myself [that] as a leader or manager you can’t just criticize. You have to offer a solution or a path that could reach to a solution.”

   After working 28 years with the United States Government, Tóth retired and repurposed his father’s old company, R.B. Tóth Associates. Tóth travels around the world––visiting different museums and libraries–– to provide advanced imaging systems for studying cultural heritage. In the progression of the digital age, Tóth has learned to upload new found information into the cloud of the internet, a process he calls “digital humanities”. 

   “It allows open dialogue and open collaboration about the data so that you could get an interdisciplinary approach of scholars working on it,” Tóth said. “People understand the transparency of the scholarly process.”

   One of his upcoming projects in January will bring him to the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, where he will work alongside benedictine monk Columba Stewart in decoding a Syriac script written over in ancient Georgian text. 

   Although Tóth graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in history, he originally intended in pursuing science in college since he performed well in AP Biology. Tóth switched over to study humanities after realizing science wasn’t for him. However, his science experience from highschool has helped him act as the intermediary when working with teams of scholars from different interdisciplinary backgrounds. 

   “I give thanks to Trinity and what it instilled in me both in terms of community, but in science.” Tóth said. “This love and appreciation of science, for language, for communication, and the latin.”

   Before Tóth became President and CTO of R.B. Tóth Associates, he was actually Editor-in-Chief of Trinity’s newspaper at the time, the “Trinity Trumpeter”, which Tóth claims was the most “muckraking yellow journalism” team. 

   “We had no standards of journalistic excellence and finally the headmaster was getting so irritated with us [that] he cut our funding,” Tóth said. 

Michael B. Tóth
The compiled headlines of the “Trinity Trumpeter” from 1974 and 1975. After administration cut off the funding of the Newspaper, Tóth remodeled the bottom graphic, which pictures a priest plugging his ears.

   Dubbed the modern day “Indiana Jones” by Noel King from National Public Radio Morning Edition, Tóth has traveled to 54 countries and has culminated over 1,500,00 miles of traveling under United and American Airlines. Yet, no matter how far or wide he has traveled, he always identifies himself as a Trinity Saint. 

   “I am part of that Trinity community wherever I am in the world,” Tóth said. “I have pictures when I was in Southern Africa of a baboon sitting on the back of [my] 1967 Dodge Dart that I drove to Trinity. I’m in the middle of Kruger National Park and there is Trinity Prep decal on the back [of my car].”