Friday, May 11, 2012

Honoring a Mentor

It has been a while since my last entry.  I feel the need to write something, and I have just a short note to share tonight.

Yesterday, I flew out to Detroit Metro and was picked up by a colleague at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.  After meetings at the School for a couple hours, I attended a dinner and symposium that honored my graduate school adviser and two other senior faculty who are all retiring from the program where I did my PhD work this year.

On Thursday, at the dinner, it was just a nice time.  Today, I had been asked to speak about something in my area of professional expertise.  So, of course, I talked about cost-effectiveness.  But I, as did many other speakers, took the opportunity to say something about my relationship with the three honorees.  I pointed out how good a mentor my adviser had been and how when a student thanks me for the time I give to him or to her, I always reflect back on what my adviser did for me.  I got a bit choked up as I realized just how important my adviser had been to me and how it is saddening to think that no more students will have the advantage of working with my adviser in the future.  I was very pleased to be able to honor my adviser in public.

At the Thursday dinner someone who spoke about another of the honorees had mentioned that he could not hope to pay back what he had gotten from his adviser.  I came to grips with that long ago.  And when I did, I decided that the only thing to do was to make sure that my professional conduct toward my advisees mimics my adviser's as closely as possible.  I hope to live up to that.  Many students have told me that I have.  I am fortunate to have such honest students.  I hope that people might join me to celebrate my retirement in a similar manner some day.  

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