Tuesday, August 30, 2016
David Lustick: UMass Lowell Colleague Passes Away
A day at the beginning of the Spring 2016 semester, and David seemed to be dragging as he walked down the hall to the elevator. Later that afternoon, he learned about the cancer that had taken up residence in his 53 year-old body. For the rest of the semester as he sought treatment, I found it hard to pass his empty office, and I avoided looking at his photograph near the number on his office door.
This morning, the cancer won. He is with us no longer. When I heard the news, I heard a rip in the fabric of the universe, as some vital essence spilled out.
David was a vivid presence in our midst--as a teacher, researcher, and staunch faculty advocate. His students were thrilled by his teaching. He never shied away from speaking up in faculty meetings or faculty senate if he felt an important issue was being ignored. Serving on a dissertation committee with him guaranteed you were going to be part of some good discussions.
He was absurdly visionary, determined, and humorous. He was in science education and I am a qualitative research geek--so we didn't get that many chances to overlap in our work. It's only when it's too late you realize what you missed doing and with whom you missed connecting.
In the last few years David conducted trailblazing work in the area of climate change education, which led to an invitation to present his project at a conference at the White House. He went with most of his family--and later at a faculty lunch shared hilarious descriptions of behind the scenes. I was thrilled to hear his videostreamed talk that day coming from the White House meeting room. It may be as close as I get to Presidential fame!!
We will mourn this loss in different ways. David--I will miss you. I will send my thoughts out to the universe, hoping your transmitter is on and can receive my message.