Sunday, March 27, 2011

Student music, talking with parents, a sad goodbye to a colleague

Yesterday was a sad day for our College (more on that later) so I decided to head to downtown Burlington last night to Parima to take in the music of two of our students. Matt Wolfe ('11) had invited me to his show and told me that Adam Reczek ('11) would be joining him on stage for some guitar and some vocals. I am glad that I did. They are both talented young people and their music was excellent. My colleagues Paul Olson and Karen Popovich also joined us as we not only supported our students, but enjoyed some good music.

On April 2nd I will be traveling to Castleton College for the second of three presentations I do for VSAC - the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. I did one a week ago yesterday at SMC and spoke to 600 parents of high school juniors/sophomores about the transition from high school to college. College Pathways is just one of the many services that VSAC provides to students and families in Vermont and they are an amazing organization. The week after the that I will do the final one at Lyndon State. I present the reality about the transition that most parents are unaware of. This is the third year that I have presented these workshops and I hope that parents are better informed AND that they have more educated conversations with their son/daughter prior to the actual time that the leave for school. The feedback I get is very valuable so this year I provided the parents with Conversation Starters which are merely suggestions on how they can broach difficult topics with their sons/daughters.

Yesterday afternoon the College came together in our chapel to celebrate the life of Doug Green. Doug and his wife Prof. Donna Bozzone have taught at SMC since 1987 and they have both been an integral part of this community and their home community in Huntington, VT. Doug has been battling cancer for some time and he died a week ago leaving all of us saddened and at the same time, grateful - grateful that he WAS a part of our lives for so long and grateful that Doug and Donna understood that life is simply too short so we HAVE to make the most of every day. Donna's eulogy, delivered in her usual manner, had us all laughing as she recounted their friendship and their abiding love for each other AND their two wonderful daughters. Donna reminded us that we best remember people when they are gone through stories so she told of THEIR first date and then of their conversations leading up to his death as they knew that his time was short. She reminded us that "there are no guarantees of 70 or 80 years of life" and let us know that she and Doug fully understood that. Doug's impact on all of us is still palpable but his impact on his students is something that we can all take pride in. Declan McCabe, one of Doug's colleagues in the biology department set up a FaceBook page and the tributes that flooded that site speak of Doug's constant willingness to take HIS time for his students - it didn't matter what Doug was dealing with, if a student needed a minute or an hour of his time, he gave it.

A brilliant yet very unassuming man with a heart so big is gone BUT he will be remembered forever in the lives of those he leaves behind. Rest in Peace Doug............... Our thoughts and prayers, of course go out to Donna and their two daughters Samantha and Allison........

Take care, be well, and as always please keep this community AND all of the members of our armed forces and their families in YOUR thoughts and prayers.


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