Editorial: The legacy of a great professor

North Wind Staff

Last week, the NMU communications and performing arts department lost a very special professor when Charles Ganzert, Ph.D. passed away unexpectedly while on sabbatical. Ganzert had made NMU his home for 23 years, and in doing so, made a strong impression on many students. Here at The North Wind, the majority of our staff has a strong bond with the CAPS department, as many of the classes in the multimedia journalism major are taught by CAPS professors. Whether it be through his courses on media law or advanced production, the odds are great that he had a hand in our success as journalists. While Ganzert passed unexpectedly, we believe he spent every day living life to the fullest, be it kayaking the coast of Lake Superior, hiking in the great outdoors or teaching in the classroom. To someone meeting him for the first time, his great, white beard and bespectacled gaze could be intimidating, but he was a genuinely nice person. His overall attitude was one of utmost compassion and dedication to his students, and he took the time to make sure no one left his class without having learned something. The North Wind offers its heartfelt condolences to his family. In closing, we end this editorial with a few short reflections from North Wind staff who, in their years at NMU, had the pleasure of taking a class with him.

Emma Finkbeiner: I had the privilege of taking a course with Dr. Ganzert just last semester. Though it was the only official class I experienced with him, he made more of an impact on me than just teaching me the ins and outs of
media law. Almost every day after class we would continue discussions about case law or he would ask me about recent news with PRSSA. He even offered me advice before a trip to Atlanta: be wary of directions that involve a “Peach Tree” street—every street is named Peach Tree, he told me. He was vastly intelligent with a quick wit. He was one of those professors who was genuinely interested in his students’ success both in and out of the classroom. I’ll be forever grateful for the short time I knew him. He was more than a professor; he was a true educator.

Ray Bressette: Dr. Ganzert was one of the most intelligent and well-rounded professors I have ever had at Northern Michigan University. His experience in the media field and knowledge of media law prepared me for the field just as much as any other individual I have encountered. He brought a level of seriousness to each classroom but presented each class in a laid-back atmosphere that inspired all students to show up with interest to learn. While some professors lose touch as years in their careers pass, Ganzert’s experience only strengthened and didn’t show weakness. His death is a true loss for the NMU community, and while it is unfortunate that future students will not have the opportunity to meet and learn from him, this university and his former students are stronger people for having that

Andy Frakes: I took Mass Media & Politics (BC480) with Dr. Ganzert and Dr. Nelson last year. They taught it jointly, and Dr. Ganzert let Dr. Nelson do a lot of the talking, but they shared an enthusiasm for the subject matter and for the interest we expressed in it. Like many great professors I’ve had the pleasure of learning from during my time at NMU, Professor Ganzert always had things to say that I knew I’d regret missing if I slept in instead of going to class. He was witty, he was sharp and he was savvy to the kinds of things we students might be interested in—the makings of a great teacher.