Of all the professors I interacted with during my four years of college, you were my favorite. There are loads of reasons why. You were committed to your work, and you labored to help your students see the beauty and truth of literature. There was always a joy about you, a lightness. Obviously you had your daily challenges and frustrations–everyone does; but you didn’t let that show. You showed up to class every day with a smile on your face and a kind word for all of us. And honestly, what impacted me the most was that I could tell that you sincerely liked your students. It didn’t feel faked or forced. You have a good heart, and you share that with everyone who has the blessing of being under your instruction.
I appreciated your patience with me, even when my consistent struggle with punctuality could have been a point of tension. You offered encouragement, perspective, and sometimes much-needed push-back. And during one of our last conversations, you said some very kind things to me, things that have stuck with me ever since.
I learned so many things from you in those four years–and not just the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales in middle English (a surprising bit of which I can still recite, by the way). You taught me to listen, to empathize, to consider other perspectives. You taught me–all of us–that art saves lives, that art and story matters, and that those things are worth fighting for.
Thank you for all your lessons and your good advice. You were a blessing to me.
–Dave Mitchell (Class of 2002)