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Laird's Last Lecture (and some bad news) - Grotto of The Lilac Mermaid

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March 21st, 2011

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03:31 pm - Laird's Last Lecture (and some bad news)
I'll get to the bad news first ... some/most of you know Alice, who was in Lit with me? She's been battling cancer for a while, and I found out this morning that she actually passed away yesterday. It's strange, but I wasn't surprised at all. She hadn't been online for months, which was so unusual for her, so I knew things had to be pretty bad. I'm going to try to attend the funeral if I can.

In happier news (ish), I got to attend Professor Laird's last lecture as a Humanities professor today.

I went to Hums first thing when I got to campus this morning, because I wanted to have plenty of time to sign the card. It was really lovely - it was a big card with a picture of the School of Athens, and inside it said something to the effect that 'our' Athens has a hole in it now. Except worded better than that.

I left the class I note-take for early to get to Hums, since it's on the other end of campus, but I got there in plenty of time. Tess, George, Joel, Chris and a few others were there, plus a lot of other grads and 4th years. It wasn't 'standing room only' like we had kind of hoped, but it was a good turnout. Laird walked in, took one look at all of us and kind of rolled his eyes. We all cracked up.

He then proceeded to play the song to begin the class: Smooth, by Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana. He may very well have played that for this lecture when we were in 2000, but I don't think so. I think I would have remembered that, just because it's such an un-Laird-like song. It was great.

Before beginning the lecture, he said, "We are joined today by some guests, who apparently haven't spent enough time in Purgatory". And that was it. The rest of his lecture proceeded as normal. I was looking over my notes from that class last night, to refresh my memory, and a lot of it he repeated basically word for word. He even used the same art and photos, including one of a guy from Hums trying to get some Italian girl to shun him like she was Beatrice. Kind of fantastic.

By far the best moment of the lecture, however, occurred when he was explaining that the first thing Beatrice does when she sees Dante is to criticize him for crying that Virgil's gone, basically saying, "I'll give you something to cry about!" Laird paused and then said, "What do you think Dante's thinking? What would you be thinking?". Pause. "B****, I just went through Hell for you!" The whole class died laughing, and a couple people gave him a standing ovation.

Because he's Laird, he finished the class precisely on time. But then we wouldn't let him leave. Everyone gave him a standing ovation that time, and then one of the fourth years got up and gave him the card and the gift. She also gave a little speech, basically saying that he has been our Virgil, and he deserves even more credit than he gets, but he won't accept it. Only at that point, once he was no longer in control of the lecture, did Laird get embarrassed. He went bright red.

After the lecture, Tess and I went up to office to chat with him for a bit. It was actually my first time there! We didn't stay too long, because he was eating his lunch, but it was nice to say hi to him in person. Whatever his reason for leaving, I think he's looking forward to getting back to actually teaching his specialty. Maybe he'll have some CUTV courses?

Even though today was a fun, positive thing, I still cannot fathom what Hums will be like without him. Even though I'm not there anymore, and have no reason to care, really, I hate the idea of things changing once I'm gone. I like to think that if I were to go back, things would be exactly as I left them, but they won't be, and that makes me terribly sad.

On a lighter note, I just thought I'd attach this ... for Formal, the 2nd years did a video called "Hums: It Gets Better". It's amazing.


(6 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:March 22nd, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear of Alice's passing. She was a remarkably strong young woman.
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Date:March 24th, 2011 11:04 am (UTC)
Sounds like a good time. I'm glad there were some alumni there! That video brings back some memories, too. Who is going to teach HUMS 2000 now??
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Date:March 24th, 2011 11:15 am (UTC)
I don't know. I think they might be bringing back whoever replaced Laird when he was on sabbatical in fourth year? But I have no idea who that is.

It's actually even worse than it sounds, because I think McIsaac is on sabbatical next year too.

P.S. I miss your writing on here. I've been reading back through some of my friends' journals, and I keep cracking up over stuff you wrote.
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Date:March 25th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. Well, I still have a blog. ;)
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Date:March 25th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
I thought you did, but then the link I thought I had for it doesn't work anymore. Care to send it to me again?
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Date:March 25th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)
I wish I could have been there! But you know that already.

I'm so sorry about Alice. :(

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