Thank You, Dr. Patillo, For Everything
For those of you that haven't heard, former SFA President Dr. Baker Patillo passed away over the weekend.
It seems that all of my iconic SFA Lumberjack memories included him. There was freshman orientation, the "Big Dip" ring ceremony, and of course, graduation. But, those are all events that people expect the university president to be a part of. And while those college memories are in fact awesome memories, it's the other memories that I can remember of him that stand out most in my mind.
I'm talking about memories such as running into him on campus while he was walking his dog, and him taking the opportunity to ask how my day was, and how everything was going with me.
Or, more recently, a memory from an SFA basketball game. I was attending the game with my wife. We were court-side, and during halftime Dr. Patillo came over and started a conversation with us. It wasn't anything super spectacular, but he was asking about how everything was going for us since graduating from SFA, what work was like, how married life was, etc. (*Side note: My wife and I are both SFA alumni, so that was the tie-in there*). That conversation, as simple as it may have been, will stick with me. Why? Because he genuinely cared for his students, both current and former, as well as his faculty, staff, and community.
I didn't know the man on a very personal level, but I do know that he cared, and that under his supervision of SFA, I received an education that allows me to hold a position that I enjoy, in my chosen career field. And for that, I'm grateful.
So, I say all that to say this: Thank you, Dr. Patillo. You will be missed, but you've left behind a legacy that will continue to grow and thrive, thanks to your dedication and investment into all of our lives.