Today I learned that Vickie Smith, an English professor at ACU, passed away. She was diagnosed with cancer recently, something like a week or two ago. Many of you know that I spent a lot of years in that English department as an undergraduate major, a graduate student, and then as faculty, and though I never took a class with Vickie (I had credit for my first-year English courses, which is what she taught), I was blessed by her in many ways: her sense of humor, the way she lived out her faith, her passion and talent for teaching. She was a master at freshman composition and literature courses, and she was happy to share what she knew with those of us who were learning to teach. She showed me that a teacher can be demanding and rigorous and still be nurturing and beloved. She was a tremendous blessing all of us who knew her, and her absence, I know, will be keenly and frequently felt.

And now I’m missing my English Department family more than usual, and also thinking about what a blessing the whole department has been in my life. I don’t think I would have ever been brave enough to come here without the instruction and love and encouragement I found with them. They helped me to find my voice, indeed myself, as a student and scholar and writer and tutor and teacher and as a person.

It’s a bittersweet blessing that I count today.


5 thoughts on “Vickie

  1. Your beautiful words brought tears to my eyes. I feel your pain of bittersweet blessings deeply in my own experiences. I love you friend. Prayers to you and your beloved department.

  2. I took a class with Al Haley that she sat in on. I didn’t know she wasn’t another (non-traditional) student for awhile, but because of her insightful and intelligent comments in class, I wasn’t surprised when I learned that she was, in fact, a professor. I can’t claim to have known her very well personally, but we both arrived early for class each day, and I always enjoyed chatting with her before class.

    I’m very sorry to hear of her passing. 😦

  3. We’re missing our English department friends a lot today, too. One person commented that she lived life with “gusto.” That seems such an apt description of Vickie. She will be dearly missed.

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