Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Memory of an old friend

A friend and former fellow student at Northern Illinois University wrote to me today to remind me that it is the tenth anniversary of the death of one of the most directly influential figures in what we might somewhat grandly call my academic development: Professor Marvin S. Rosen.

Some background on him is provided by this old article from an NIU newsletter. NIU now offers a small undergraduate award in his honour.

As often happens, the one-sentence email brings back nearly a decade and a half of memories: the student house party on a snowy night in DeKalb during my freshman year where I first met him, his inspiring teaching style over four years of studies, long talks with him about history and life during countless dinners at his house, a tour through Bloomsbury in the late 1990s of his old haunts from the 1960s, and many more.

I was fortunate to find in him not only a generous, patient and challenging mentor but also a good friend.

And I know that I was far from alone in that.

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