I was going to publish this yesterday but didn’t manage to finish it so I will now. Yesterday was the day UND said goodbye to a great professor and mentor. Dr. Stephen Rendahl was one of my all-time favorite professors and to this day I still can’t believe he’s gone, I still remember sitting in his classes from two-three years ago now. I wish I could go back and take in one more class knowing it would probably be the last time I ever saw him in person. I know I took his classes for granted at the time.. but I don’t regret taking them. I learned so much about writing and he helped me get through my internship despite having tight deadlines to meet. I’ll never forget one of the e-mails he sent me about it, I still have it in my inbox and probably always will…It said:
“Happy to hear things are going so well. Yours is the kind of internship experiences we want our students to have. Keep in touch.”
I still remember reading this and I had the biggest grin on my face. In college you make connections with certain teachers that can last a lifetime and this was one of those connections for me. I didn’t know him super well but he was always kind, generous and understanding. He made sure all of his students felt comfortable in his class and if something came up, he would work with you to get your work done.
College can be a really hard time for students when teachers aren’t willing to work with kids or even go the extra mile such as answering e-mail questions or offering extra time outside of class for kids to come and ask questions. Rendahl never hesitated to offer help, he always made sure students knew they weren’t alone. He was a tough grader but he knew how to push students to be the best they could be. Communications can be a tough subject to understand as well when you write papers on different subjects in the topic and dig deep into the topic but with Rendahl teaching, despite how confused you could be, he was always there to help.
It’s always hard to find the right words to say when something like this happens but since I am unable to make it to the tribute in Grand Forks, I wanted to say a little something about how great of a teacher he was for me and he will always be missed. I’m so glad I was able to have him as a teacher, even for a short time. Thank you Dr. Rendahl for all you did to help me pursue my degree and you will never be forgotten. I owe part of my degree to him and some lessons that I will always carry with me. So one more thank you to a great teacher and great person, you will be greatly missed at UND and the community of students you taught. Thank you.