Monday, June 16, 2008

I first met Brian in the fall of 2003, during my freshmen year at CCSU, in my “Writing and Research” class. Brian spoke enthusiastically and eloquently about the endless and exciting possibilities we, the students, were going to face in life. His tone was so positive and his manner so incredibly convincing that even I found myself believing that a substantial portion of his message was indeed true.

As anyone knowing Brian would reasonably expect, the course was of superior quality and the students walked out of it as individuals better equipped to ask important questions, as better writers, and as better thinkers. After the course had been over, it looked to me that Brian was simply going to stay in my memory as an excellent teacher, someone who, in a relatively short time, left a permanent impression on me by teaching me new skills and by positively influencing my outlook on life.

One rainy evening in 2005, Brian and I bumped into each other in front of a library and we quickly engaged in a delightful conversation, at the end of which we were determined to stay in touch and collaborate academically. And we did. After that seemingly incidental meeting, we enjoyed plenty of fascinating discourse, discussing a wide variety of subjects: medical ethics, lives of famous mathematicians, languages, history, chemistry, travel and sports, just to name a few.

When my days were gloomy, Brian used his enthusiasm and wit to make them brighter and he always succeeded in doing so. In one of our conversations, Brian said, “There are ways to get past a bad result, as long as energy can be kept up.” Brian continued to fill his students, myself included, with this energy even as his own energy levels became depleted when reality had to interject the human dimension of cancer and its negative possibilities. Brian never ceased to impart strength, encouragement, and faith in his students. His legacy will continue through our own hard work and commitment to learning, and most importantly, keeping that critical component, the energy, as high as possible so that we can continue to make Brian, our beloved teacher, mentor, and friend, proud.

-- Anna Gawkowska

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