The Lewis Alumni Centre was filled Friday afternoon with family, friends and co-workers of our late colleagues, Judy Mitchell and Len Foster. Some came from across campus, some from across the state, some from across the country. For those of you who couldn’t be there to share the warm occasion, here are some photos.
After noting Judy’s and Len’s accomplishments despite the hurdles faced by a woman, and by a black man, WSU President Elson Floyd emphasized that “both of them transcended race and gender. They were good people.” It was a sentiment confirmed by the many words that washed over us during those two hours. Here are a few of them.
Judy was energizing, uplifting, courageous, fun-loving, nocturnal and occasionally tardy. … She was most proud of the new faculty and staff; she hired 75 percent of them in her first 10 years. — Walt Gmelch
She had good instincts. She knew when to push, and knew when to back off. She was not afraid of big ideas. … Going to a basketball game with Judy was just an experience. She wasn’t bashful about telling players what to do and how to do it. And she knew what she was talking about. — Muriel Oaks
Judy, I’m in awe of the stamina you had to keep going and going and going. You had more frequent flier miles than anyone. — Lynda Paznokas
She was the dean of deans at WSU. … Sometimes she crossed her arms, furrowed her brow and would lean forward and say ‘Now, you do know…’ and I would know that I was toast. –– Warwick Bayly
Professionally, he was my greatest cheerleader. Personally, we were united by a love of good food. — Paula Groves Price
He cared about his students as if we were his own children. — Xyanthe Neider
Len never cooked. He didn’t know how to use a dishwasher … He was an enigma. He grew up in difficult times in the South, in poverty. I only learned that after he died. He loved my son. He was part of my family. — Steve Fisk
He was hard-working, well-respected. He was a mentor. He told us to make no excuses, strive for the best. He always bragged about us and he always found our strength. — Paul Pitre
Len Foster and Michael Jackson died in the same week. Len would have liked that. — Kelly Ward
At the end of the celebration, Interim Associate Dean Cori Mantle-Bromley announced that the College of Education has asked WSU to name the sky bridge between Cleveland Hall and the Education Addition in honor of Judy, and the Education Graduate Organization office in honor of Len. Then everyone joined in Judy’s favorite music, the WSU fight song.