April 4th 2007 Suzanne Klerks passed away. I met her in 2002 when she taught my first year writing course at UCFV. Near the end of the semester I asked for a one day extension on a paper. She responded by giving me a copy of the Little Brown Handbook and telling me I could have a week as long as there wasn’t a single comma splice in the entire paper, a problem I’d been having all semester. I point to that as the pivotal moment in my University experience.
Her guidance over the next few years was key to my progression. It was her who planted the idea of me working in Higher Education, though she originally was encouraging me to look into teaching in Higher Ed. It was her influence that led me to consider my career not as a teacher, but as an educator, something that has led me from high school teaching into Student Affairs with no regrets.
She helped me to broaden my worldview, helped me understand that pre-modern people weren’t all that different from us, and helped me to realize that sometimes it’s not the words that are funny but the situation and who’s saying them (It’s funny because they’re chickens).
It saddens me that she passed away just weeks before I graduated. I sometimes look back and wonder what she’d think of my path. I hope she’d be proud.