Letter to the Editor: Remembering professor Fears’ dedication to teaching
Oh my heart hurts, I am so so sad.
The very first time I visited Dr. Fears, I was all atremble and even near tears, for it is a vulnerable task to earnestly confess one’s dream.
I entered his office hurriedly and began my declaration abruptly, afraid that old cowardice might overcome my resolve.
Speaking as one whose life is on the line (and in the truest sense it was) I said, “Hello sir, my name is Lauren Smith. Most people forget my name, but it is very important to me that you do not, because in you I see what I most desperately desire to become.”
In a less articulate outpouring of speech I continued on endeavoring to convey my essence. When at last I had finished my manifesto, Dr. Fears smiled knowingly and said, “So you love Wisdom too.”
In Dr. Fears I found an uncommon friend, sublime of soul, and an excellent guide, who altered the course of my life for the better.
I am studying what I love in graduate school at Yale today only because of the time and effort Dr. Fears spent encouraging, kindly correcting and actively supporting my reading, writing and thought.
Never did I guess I would be deprived of my professor so soon. I am deeply grateful for his life’s work, which ultimately was to set all hearts ablaze for Wisdom, to recall us — all human beings — back to our best selves, and to teach us how we may live free and well.
I owe so much to my beloved teacher’s memory and thus I send off his spirit with bereaved Crito’s promise in Plato’s “Phaedo” at the deaht of Socrates: “The debt will be paid.”
The debt will be paid so long as I and all those who knew him remember his resounding words and attempt to emulate the man who, “of all the men of his time was the wisest, the best and the most just.”
Lauren Smith, OU alumna