My professor passed away

It’s with sadness that I report that Professor Glavin, the professor I mentioned in my last post who was sick with cancer, passed away yesterday on May 7, 2010. He was 67 and had been a magazine professor at Syracuse University for 37 years. Under his cynical grumbles he had a big heart, especially when it came to his students. They were his world. And, in fact, he donated a great deal of his estate to the school and a fund that allows interns to afford internships.

I found out the news yesterday at work and decided to take a walk. Lucky for me, Central Park is two blocks away. I called Mark to tell him. Or, really, just to hear his voice.

“I hope he’s in a better place,” I said, which felt cliche but seemed right.

“Better than Syracuse?” Mark joked, a nod to the snow capital of the universe known for gray skies and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

“Does such a place even exist?” I teased.

We shared a laugh, and that felt like the kind of tribute Glavin would have liked. In the email announcing his passing, this sentiment stuck with me: “The best way to remember and honor him will be to live your lives, love your work, and write fiercely and passionately about the topics that matter most to you.” I feel thankful that I found a new job which will allow me to do this.

I wrote Glavin a letter two weeks ago in hopes that a distraction might do him good. Not wanting to get too sappy, I instead relayed a story to him about a college experience that made an impact on me. In my first class with Glavin, we had to write a big research paper on a magazine of our choice. I chose Modern Drummer and traveled to New Jersey to meet the founder and editor-in-chief of the publication, Ron Spagnardi. He was a lovely gentleman who inspired me to continue pursuing journalism as my career. I told Glavin that I’m thankful to him and Ron for being mentors throughout my career.

What I didn’t tell Glavin was that Ron passed away several years ago of cancer. My hope now is that they might get to meet, shake hands, and shoot the shit for a bit.

Mark Ramel