I believe Giants roam the earth. In fact, I have proof positive. I have met a couple – on college campuses, no less.
Father Ted Hesburgh is one of them. President Emeritus of Notre Dame, he is humble and larger than life in person.
The other is a guy named Vic Powell. A true Wabash legend.
Both of those Giants are in their 90s. One is no longer physically with us.
We lost Vic Powell today – October 6, 2011. We knew it was coming. As you can imagine, it wasn’t Vic’s mind and soul that gave way. It was simply time for him to join Brigance in the heavenly debate club.
I often reflect that the people who have had a profound impact on my life are the ones who challenge me, through thought and action, to be more like them. To be better. To be more understanding. More compassionate. More committed. More spiritual. More of everything.
It’s one thing to encourage another person to be good. It’s another to be so good, in so many ways, that those around you get caught up in it…feed off of it…get stoked by it.
Father Ted and Professor Vic – two such men.
I took several classes at Wabash from Vic. I can’t remember any of them. No outlines, no tests, no assignments, no titles. But those things just aren’t important. I remember two things vividly. I remember standing up in front of my classmates and attempting to communicate. And I remember Vic’s presence and his ability to effortlessly do what he was trying to get us to do. Vic could certainly communicate…in a magical way. What you always saw was a great delivery – an instant connection to those around him. What you had to look hard for was the intense research and preparation.
I have often thought that when the inevitable happens, and Vic and Father Ted make that trip to heaven, that I would be lucky enough to somehow not know – maybe sleep through the day or something. Wake up and they’re declared saints. Cowardly, I know. It’s like avoiding a root canal or a checkride.
Will there still be a special place called Wabash after Vic? Sure. Take comfort in the fact that there are about ten “junior Vics” on campus. But you know…it just won’t be quite the same…and it shouldn’t be.
Giants do roam the earth…and we lost one today.