Tonight's evening in celebration of Barry Qualls was an amazing event. Barry - as some of you will know - is retiring after 45 years as a teacher and administrator at Rutgers, and I can't imagine that I will ever go to another retirement event at which someone who is so deeply and deservedly loved and respected is so eloquently, rapturously feted and applauded. It was terrific to hear former and current colleagues and students speak of all that Barry's given them - given all of us - by way of his enthusiasm, his curiosity, his mentorship. What I don't think that anyone said - in as many words - is that he's a man of such integrity that he leads by a kind of ethical example. He's not someone one would ever wish to disappoint. I was so lucky to be a part of Rutgers for ten years that overlapped with Barry's inspiring presence there, and to have witnessed our students feel the benefits of his wide-reaching reforms in undergraduate education (and yes, what he did for General Education set standards that other institutions, as well as my own current one, would do well to heed). It's not easy to find the words to sum up how moving and affirming the evening was - affirming in part because Barry has created his own kind of inclusive community - because in part, this affirmation came from the fact that everyone was saying different things, and they all added up to the whole that one admires and loves.
I wish these photos did the event justice, but I was so very much more concerned to be there, present, in the moment.