Thoughts on My Professor: AKA Why I’m Crying Three Years Late

I’d like to share this moment that I’m crying. This may seem, at first, an odd moment. But for the person I write about, please read.

I recently updated my LinkedIn as a way to encourage myself to make steps towards new opportunities. The information hadn’t been updated in at least a year, more likely two. I still don’t even have a picture up yet. As I updated the dates on my jobs and moved my education information around, my eye caught something.

In my recommendations, there is a lone comment. A wonderful comment from my art adviser in college. I’d like to share it with you:

Bohne Rec

Now, I’ve known this comment exists. But coming upon it years later, I cry.

The spring after I graduated, Professor Bohne passed away from cancer. Half a year before he died, and half a year after I graduated, he made that note.

I didn’t know during my time in college, but Prof. Bohne was a very well known and respected artist.

I only knew him as the man who convinced me to go to a school counselor when I was having social trouble in my first year, exchanged Italy stories before and after my semester abroad (making sure all my classes would transfer, too), and encouraged me in the only 3D art class I took in my college career. Headphones weren’t allowed in the classroom, so his pick of a Toto album was our normal jam in that class.

He encouraged me after college, too. As seen with that note.

His ability to be fully present touched many people, and I think that’s what made him such a great artist. Why people loved and esteemed him. It’s that personable trait I think is why I never fully grasped how great he was on a larger scale than my college adviser.

Instead of a wake, a public gallery was set up with Prof. Bohne’s artwork. Mixed media of found objects and paint told stories that the watcher could interpret themselves. The reception had wine and hors d’oeuvres, all selected by him. His favorites. So many people showed up. There was a lot of crying. And a lot of laughing. Many clicks of the wine glasses. He had touched so many people in the art and college community. Many people, including the college president, shared stories about him.

I didn’t cry at the reception. I don’t think it was real yet.

He was 73 when he died. If you looked at him, you couldn’t have guess it. He was still teaching, too! None of us students knew that he had been in and out of his cancer for years.

I finally understood why he commented that my grandfather had tied so young at 68. Prof. Bohne was already pass that when my grandpa died in my junior year. That information returned to me like a lightning strike when I learned about his battle with cancer. He was still alive after so much. And he knew life could continue longer.

So I’m writing this post because I’m crying. It’s finally real. Three years later, a glance at my LinkedIn profile, and I’m bawling my eyes out. I’ve already gone through half a box of tissues as I’ve tried to find the right words to describe what I’m thinking and feeling. In reaction to a few words. A few kind, immeasurable words by a man I respected who thought way too highly of me.

I want to work until I embody the standard he saw in me.

Thank you, Professor Bohne.




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