Another week will bring yet another visitation at the Chapel of Mercy on the MMU campus. Sister Judith Meyers, a very sweet lady who was both a terror in her electric wheelchair and a guiding spirit to many of us on the hill recently joined Catherine McAuley in the great beyond. And now, this weekend, there has been yet another passing that will bring more somber moments to the hill.
The man, the legend, the ultimate Mustang Fan, retired business professor Dale Harrison has slipped away from us.
Dale was one of those rare faculty members who seemed equally beloved by students and by his colleagues. He always had a pleasant word, and his face bore a cherubic smile pretty much forever. He spoke with me a few times about his past career as a high school teacher, a career that included advising a student publication. He empathized with my work with the MMU Times.
Dale had a distinctive voice that sounded a bit like a happy cartoon character. That voice was often heard in the MMU cafeteria, which he continued to lunch in often even after retiring several years ago.
After he retired, a business student graduation award—for management students, I think—was named in his honor.
When I first started teaching at MMU, my office was in the bat cave on the fifth floor of Warde Hall. By year two, I was on the first floor, just around the corner from Dale. His was a friendly presence in our little faculty pod. Somehow, it seemed fitting that his office was 101 Warde Hall, as if it were where MMU began.
I inherited his office after Basile Hall opened in 2003. It is a grand two-room suite. So if he has any unfinished business on this Earth and haunts a place, I suppose I might be located well to hear from him again.
Honestly, I wouldn’t mind. That cartoon voice would be very pleasant coming from a ghost. And as a spook, Dale surely would be much like he was in life—a ghost for whom the word “sweet” would have been invented.
Dale, I’m sorry to hear that I won’t hear your voice at MMU again. I’m sure all the teams that you followed so closely will be saddened at the passing of their greatest fan. Between you and Sister Judith, there is some sadness this semester on the hill. You’ll both be missed. And while I liked seeing all the old crowd at Sister Judith’s visitation, seeing them again at yours will be another bittersweet gathering that is too soon.
I’ll be thinking of you, both of you. But often, just because I am in his space, I will particularly recall the friendly Mustang fan whose office I inherited. Dale, in many ways, I can’t begin to fill the void that you left.