Letter to the editor: Remembering Ganzert

Patricia Cianciolo

Dear Editor,

Our lives were sailing on an incredible wind.  Both of us had been on faculty at NMU for 23 years and were deeply committed to our students, teaching, colleagues and the university.

I had had a rewarding sabbatical in fall 2013, and my husband, Dr. Chuck Ganzert, CAPS department, was on sabbatical during winter 2016.

He had traveled to India to interview and record traditional Carnatic musicians with the goal of producing a high quality radio piece to be aired on NPR. Chuck felt strongly that this effort would go a long way in making traditional Hindu music more accessible to an American audience.

Then – life abruptly changed.

Chuck suffered a massive stroke while attending the Popular Culture Association conference in Seattle, Washington – where he died on March 31, 2016.

In some ways, it was a strange gift he was not teaching last semester because his students would have been directly confronted with the loss of a great educator and teacher.

My own students taking classes that semester witnessed their professor deal with a major life transitioning event, one that was totally unexpected, shocking and unfolded in a surreal kind of way.

These students were amazingly supportive, understanding, flexible and compassionate.  This same caring and concern was shown to me by colleagues, staff, administrators, recent and former students, and the broader Marquette community.

That support continues every day and I am humbled by it.

In the past five months I have reflected a great deal on the value of living and working in an exceptional community.  NMU and Marquette are truly special places to live and learn in.

As the new 2016-17 academic year begins, I am reminded that the decision Chuck and I made 24 years ago to take jobs at NMU and live in Marquette has been a remarkable journey.  If you are new to the university or returning for another year of study, I hope that your experience here is as rich and rewarding as ours has been.

-Patricia Cianciolo,
professor, social work
department.