My return to town today was bittersweet. I came back from a week in Brazil at a conference event that was professionally very rewarding. While I was away, however, Dr. Zenobia Hikes passed away. I got back in town just in time to watch the live stream of the memorial service in her honor. Her departure from this world was much too soon.
I never had the honor to work with her, and that saddens me. To me, she was one of those professionals in your organizations that you just can't wait to share a room with. You just wanted to be around her, to share the glow of her presence, to hear her voice.
Her voice will live forever. She had such a strong, eloquent voice that it made you quiver in place by just saying "Good Morning." During the memorial after April 16th, it was the strength of her voice that impressed me the most. Her voice conveyed sorrow and bewilderment about the events that had just transpired while at the same time sharing with those listening the strength that was needed to move forward. Back then, just listening to her voice I gained strength to face the upcoming days at VT. Her voice convey energy, not just her energy, but energy to be shared by all who listened.
Today I feel deeply saddened about her early departure. Deeply saddened that I did not get to work with her and learn what it takes to be a successful minority in a white sea that is the upper administration in academia. Saddened that I was out of town when she passed away and I couldn't share my emotions with colleagues on campus. Saddened that our campus and community is once again together because of the unexpected departure of loved ones.
But her voice will live forever. Zenobia, we will never forget you. Que descances en paz.
Posted on 10/31/2008