This is unreal.
I just received an email that a professor from my alma mater, the Savannah College of Art & Design is dying of brain cancer. The email states that they’re not publicizing this information yet, so I won’t reveal his name. He was an original professor at the college and “beloved” doesn’t begin to describe the man. I know that up until two years ago, he was still working at the college. I took 3 classes with him, always a fight to get in to since they filled up quickly. I close my eyes now and I can still hear his voice in my head, nearly 20 years later. He made me think about art and the world in a way that had never been opened to me before. Amazing, brilliant man. Wicked sense of humor. The last time I was in Savannah was in 2000 and I’m grateful now that I ran into him and we talked for a bit.
The news in itself is devastating. The unreal part is that I had four favorite professors at SCAD. These are the professors that I used to look to as mentors and friends. This man I just heard about, Dan Fantauzzi (chair of the Graphic Design department), Jim Bostwick (Graphic Design professor) and Jim Alley (Computer Arts professor…the man who introduced me to my very first Macintosh).
Dan Fantauzzi died of cancer. Jim Bostwick died of cancer. Jim Alley died of cancer. And now this. The first three were within a few years of each other. These are just the professors I knew!! In 2003, it was revealed that 9 of 13 of the original faculty who worked in the first SCAD building (Preston Hall, now known as Poetter Hall) were sick or dead. In 2003 there was an investigation to see if there was an environmental reason. Back then, SCAD didn’t build anything from scratch. They took old buildings and restored them. Preston Hall was an old armory.
Repeated inspections, including ones by federal investigators, failed to find a link between air quality in Poetter Hall and the illnesses. But experts’ evaluations often leave as many questions as answers about indoor air quality and illness. That happened with Poetter Hall.
I’ve often thought of visiting Savannah again. But then I realize that there isn’t a single person at the school that I would want to make a trip to meet up with. They’re all dead or dying.