‘He was a fearless leader with an oversized heart’

David Colton, 2013-14 Entertainment Editor

I was writing the last page of the last story in my notebook when I heard about Rodney’s passing. He was the best teacher I ever had and one of my greatest role models. I stopped writing at first, at a loss for words. But then I realized that he would have given me crap for not finishing, in the most encouraging and loving of ways. So I finished, and the rest spilled out on its own. I cannot put into words the impact this man had on my life, and I will never forget any of the countless lessons he taught me. The following is directly transcribed from the last page of that notebook.

I finish this story with tears in my eyes, as I have just learned of the tragic passing of Rodney Lowe, an incredible teacher, mentor and friend. Rodney is, among many things, the reason I went to journalism school and was the one of the first people to teach me what it truly meant to trust my instincts as a writer. He was a fearless leader with an oversized heart and more love than he could ever give out. I wish there were more words I could muster, but right now I find myself at a loss. I remember one time Rodney pulled me and a few other underclassmen aside after class one day and (easily) convinced us to stage a loud, public (and fake) mutiny against his famous weekly current events quiz. He had us rip the quiz in half in front of the whole class, everyone keeping a straight face as he pretended to be shocked and angry. He successfully kept everyone in disbelief for a few minutes before breaking the tense silence with his contagious room-filling laugh. That’s just one example – I could give you 30 more if I wasn’t still in shock. I’ll never forget our (often fully unprecedented) Friday parties, or his strict (but correct) editing style, or anything about him. I could never run out of pages to write about Rodney and the way he impacted everyone in his life. I could never run out of pages to write about Rodney’s impact on me. I always imagined him sitting on his couch, with his mother, content in their cozy Indiana home, watching me give some sort of acceptance speech – and he would be the first person I’d thank, just like I told him I would all those years ago. If I stick to what Rodney taught me, I just might still get the chance.