I couldn't resist adding a few [ ] for clarification
azdailysun.com | Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:10 am | (2) Comments
Luis Fernandez described his friend Joel Olson as a kaleidoscope.
Light shone through him, and from any angle he was beautiful.
Olson, a popular Northern Arizona University political science professor who died last month, left a deep impact on colleagues, students, loved ones, friends and admirers.
Fernandez, a criminology and criminal justice professor [Marxist], was one of the closest. He had an instant friendship with Olson, he told the hundreds of mourners who gathered at NAU Monday to remember the teacher, scholar, activist and family man.
Olson was his "compadre," his "intellectual twin." They were planning on writing a book together.
Fernandez was a graduate student when he met Olson, and he turned to him for help with his dissertation, how to get a job, how to teach [brainwash the innocent]. The men were inseparable and when Fernandez learned of Olson's death, he was emotionally paralyzed. Olson was his compass.
"I'm lost," Fernandez said "I'm literally lost."
Fernandez spoke with energy but deep sorrow in his voice. Others who spoke of Olson on Monday were also warm and passionate but visibly stirred or outright heartbroken.
Olson's death was unexpected. He gave a lecture at the University of Nottingham in England the evening of March 28 and died in Britain before returning to Spain [which is yet another falied socialist state], where he was spending the spring as a visiting faculty member at the University of Alicante.
Details on his death have not been released. He was about 45 years old.
The public memorial at NAU brought the more-than-400-seat Cline Library auditorium to capacity, and still more people watched the service live online.
INSPIRED HIS STUDENTS
Stephen Nuño, a fellow political science professor, said conversations were easy and fun to have because of Olson's varied interests. Most of all, he said, Olson was interested in people.
Nuño said that in tennis you want to play against somebody who's better than you, somebody who can beat you, so that you can grow. This is the same intellectually.
"And Joel constantly beat me," he said.
Olson was an associate professor at NAU with scholarly interests in political theory, race and ethnicity, and social movements [Marxism/Communism/Race Baiting]. His research focused on race and democracy, and fanaticism, or extremism. He had been at NAU since 2003.
He won the Outstanding Teaching Award for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2004-05. He was teaching courses on extremism and the West and contemporary Western political thought while in Spain through the University Studies Abroad Consortium.
Olson was active locally with grassroots groups like the Repeal Coalition -- an organization that seeks the repeal of laws that target immigrants and uses the slogan "Fight for freedom to live, love and work anywhere you please."
His students spoke of how he was a mentor.
Danielle Campanella, with whom he had a friendly repartee over the Jets (her team) versus the Steelers (his), said his "students had no choice but to be inspired."
Another former student said he was a Republican and that he wants to go into law enforcement, but he learned more from Olson than any other teacher.
"Thank you, professor," he said. "We'll take it from here."
'A BETTER PERSON'
His fellow activists [Anti-American Communist Revolutionaries and traitors] in the Repeal Coalition said he stood side-by-side with them, not in front of them. One led the crowd in a chant. She yelled "Joel!" and the crowd responded with "¡presente!" -- or "present."
His sister Wendy said Joel always stood up for the underdog, and as a little boy formed the "Secret Society Against Bullies" with a friend. He washed dishes as a teen to save up for his first truck. He was always into punk rock [read sociopath]; as a young man he wore long hair and tattered jeans.
She said she lived in his shadow and was glad to do so. In high school he was offered a full-ride scholarship to Arizona State University and a half-ride to Stanford [Great Gifts from the Capitalist Society he hated so much]. She said out of practicality and humility, he went with ASU.
His sister, like other speakers, spoke of how deeply committed he was to his wife and three young children.
More than one speaker also said what his colleague Nuño said, or similar: "I am a better person [Marxo-Fascist] because of Joel Olson. Goodbye, my friend."
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 556-2261.
Friends are collecting money on behalf of Joel Olson's wife and children. Donations can be made at Coconino Federal Credit Union. See www.facebook.com/RememberingJoelOlson for more information on the fund.