I have two grandfathers. Of course, pretty much everyone has two grandfathers, but one of mine was a professor at John Brown University. This man’s name is Ralph Kennedy. My grandfather has already passed, but what hasn’t passed are memories of him.
He died when I was still relatively young, so I never knew him in his professorial days, but over the past month or so I started wondering what it would have been like to have known him as a professor. I imagine him speaking wildly about progress in the broadcasting world, or maybe sitting behind the On Air door at the radio station known as KUOA back in those days.
Grandpa Kennedy was a broadcasting professor, and he helped the program here at JBU form into what it is today. He taught long enough for his name to be forever on the bricks outside of the Cathedral, as well as in the hearts of the students that he taught.
Last weekend was Homecoming, and while I enjoy having a free lunch or two, what I was not expecting was all the people that remembered my grandfather. One gentleman and his wife talked with me and my sister for a while. I remember him saying this: “your grandfather always said ‘label your tapes before you record them!’ I always have since then!” It truly is the little words of wisdom that stick with us through the years.
As college students, we get so wrapped up in daily life that we rarely have time to interact with those around us that we don’t absolutely have to. I am guilty of this, and you are guilty of this. I realized that fact earlier this year, and since then I have attempted to have at least one conversation with somebody that I normally wouldn’t during the week. I am not only speaking of talking with students or professors; I am also referring to visitors at our university.
At Homecoming I spoke with many people who had come through the communication department. They told stories about old professors, joked about some classmates from “the good ole days,” and enjoyed each other’s fellowship. I realized again that these weren’t just people from the time of the dinosaurs; these were still people who live, dream and love every day.
Many of the people that visit are alumni or people looking into the school. If they are greeted by a student who is genuinely interested in them and how they are doing, their day will be made. Trust me on this. These older alumni come to relive old memories, sure, but they are also here to see who they left their university to. JBU, let’s make them proud.