I have been thinking a lot about Les Anderson lately. To describe Les as a former professor would not be untrue, however it would be like describing President Obama as a black guy. Sure, it's true, but that's a simpleton's description. Just as Obama is more than "a black guy," Les is more than "a former professor." As a matter of fact, before I ever had one of his classes, Les mentored me and encouraged me. He was a teacher, a colleague, a role model, a family man, a professional communicator, a journalist, a writer, an editor... a friend. I don't know how best to describe him, but I know that in a very short time, he made a very big impact on my life.
Les died just before Thanksgiving in 2011 and I miss him. I am even more sad that so many other students will never know him. As I make the move to NYC, I think about what Les would have to say about the idea of going all-in with a pair of jacks. I wish he were still here to give me feedback... a red line through a bad idea or an encouraging smile for a good one.
Watching the Shockers in the NCAA Tournament has also made me think of Les. How proud would he be? He was the kind of guy that really enjoyed seeing others succeed. You see, I can't help but think of the awesome feeling of accomplishment that the guys on that team must be feeling right now. They have made it to the Final Four... and I'm pretty sure they know they can go farther. They now know that anything is possible. They now know that hard work truly does pay off. They now know that they are far better than what they, or anyone else, believed. These are the lessons I learned from Les Anderson, Amy DeVault and others at Wichita State University. This is what it means to be a Shocker.