Allan Bakke will say he has been working two years as an anesthesiologist in a southern Minnesota town best known for the Mayo Clinic.

But the conversation ends there. Bakke, who claimed reverse discrimination 15 years ago when his application for medical school was passed over in favor of minority applicants, has maintained silence over the case by refusing all requests for interviews. Even with his colleagues the subject is taboo."I just really don't want to do it at all," Bakke said to an interview request when reached by telephone at the Olmsted Medical Group in Rochester, where he went on staff Aug. 11, 1986.

According to the state Medical Examiners Board, the 48-year-old Minneapolis native earned his medical degree June 18, 1982, from the University of California Medical School at Davis. He served a four-year residency at the Mayo Clinic and was licensed to practice medicine in Minnesota in 1983. His file at the Medical Examiners Board is free of any disciplinary reports.

"It would have been unfortunate had he not been able to pursue his career," said Dr. Gary Oftedahl, medical director at the 45-doctor Olmsted clinic. "Like any of us he could be replaced, but it would have been unfortunate."

Oftedahl said Bakke doesn't socialize with his colleagues at the clinic and is known for his quiet demeanor.

"He does a good job making patients feel comfortable before they go into anesthesia," Oftedahl said. "He's conscientious."

Bakke once led a fight to keep a federal prison out of a Rochester neighborhood, said Dr. Gertrude Tyce, who worked with Bakke as a member of the Olmsted Citizens for a Better Community. The group's effort failed even though a non-binding referendum on whether the city should allow the prison drew a record number of voters who overwhelmingly opposed the prison.

Tyce said the referendum was Bakke's pet project.

"I think Allan is a great guy," she said. "He's a very straight-up guy. Right is right and wrong is wrong."

But like Oftedahl, Tyce noted that Bakke steadfastly avoids discussing the 10-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision that cleared his path into medical school.

The blue-eyed, blond-haired Bakke, who worked 11 years as a research engineer for NASA before studying to be a doctor, lives in a $210,000 house just outside the city limits with his wife, Judith, according to Olmstead County real estate records. The couple has at least two children, Oftedahl said.