In a time when much of what we read in the news about university professors makes us cringe, it is reassuring and inspiring to read an essay like this one (free subscription required) in the Catholic magazine Commonweal. The writer, Stephen Martin, is a personal friend and former student who crafts a wonderful encomium to a literature professor, Wallace Fowlie, under whom he studied in his undergrad days at Duke and the influence this man, now deceased, had on his life. It's a portrait of what a university professor should be.
I was especially struck by a powerful passage Steve quotes from one of Fowlie's many books:
"The reading and teaching of Dante always restored for me the Catholic sense of history: everything a man does in his life moves him toward his true end in God, or moves him away from it. Everything is ultimately redeemed or lost. Hell and paradise are eternal places and eternal concepts."
Steve's essay is a must read, especially for students and teachers, and, indeed, for anyone who would like to inspire young people.RLC