Thursday, October 23, 2008
As a contributing editor to this blog and a colleague of Stephanie, I want to share some personal thoughts and memories of a truly amazing person, legal writing professor, teacher and friend. First, let me express my heartfelt thanks to my fellow blog editors - Mark, Coleen, Sue and Nancy for so graciously and thoughtfully keeping this blog silent today in honor of Stephanie's memory.
Stephanie's passing came as a shock to everyone who worked with her at NSU Law School. Stephanie had waged on ongoing battle with melanoma for several years. When she was first diagnosed five years ago, the doctors operated and thought they got it all. Unfortunately, it came back this past spring and the doctors operated once more. Again, they thought they got it all. Following the surgery, Stephanie stoically underwent an experimental treatment during late spring and into the summer which the doctors hoped would put the cancer into permament remission. But after the start of the fall semester, doctors discovered that the melanoma had returned yet again. Stephanie took a leave of absence from teaching several weeks ago to try another experimental treatment we all hoped would finally put the cancer into permament remission. Last week she began a series of self-injections to prepare herself for this new regiment of treatment which began yesterday. It was during her first hospital stay to begin the new treatment that she suddenly stopped breathing and passed away shortly thereafter. She was only 36.
We are still in shock at this sudden loss of such a brave and loved colleague and friend. Stephanie was a real pistol - a former prosecutor and a real tough cookie whose laugh carried down the hall and who loved her students more than anything. During last year's graduation ceremony, more students asked to be hooded by Stephanie than any other member of the faculty, by far. That tells you a lot right there.
Stephanie was one of the strongest, most determined people I've ever met. She didn't take crap from anyone. Yet she was sensitive in all the best ways - kind, thoughtful and considerate of others' feelings. She was so positive and enthustiastic about life, teaching, her students and her school that it made the rest of us feel like Woody Allen in comparison.
She's a great person and no one can ever take her place. If you'd like, please share your own thoughts and memories about Stephanie in the comments box below.
While I'm normally the scholarship dude, tonight I'm just very sad and empty.