Today I learnt of the passing of one of my favourite university professors – Marvin Glass. He is the original and most clear image I hold of my first days at university, exactly 20 years ago. Standing at the front of the class, at the bottom of hill-d steps, hair a mess of black fuzz, Marvin scribbled on the chalkboard and I thought: I have a mad scientist for a professor, and what product does he use in his hair?
He took everything many of us believed about the world and turned it on its head. A fierce advocate of human rights, he carried as sharp an intellect as we should expect of academia. Marvin offered me a scholarship into the philosophy program which I declined for several reasons, choosing to instead take as many philosophy classes as possible even when completing my Master of Arts degree in an adjacent field. It was Marvin’s love of philosophy that I adopted at the age of 18, carry well into my adult years and which – inshallah – will run with me for the rest of my days.
I was watching a film when a character mentioned Marx, and I thought of you. Twenty years I have thought of you at such random moments, always with it a smile. News of your leaving this world has brought with it an unexpected sadness, Marvin. Undoubtedly, you will be missed even by those who were scared by you (yes, you were often quite scary because you never, ever, did you ever suffer fools lightly). Maybe especially by them as they are the ones whose minds you sharpened most.
On behalf of all of your students: Thank you for every single bit of it.