Rest In Peace Dr. Steely

I had just woken from an early afternoon nap.

I reached, instinctively, for my laptop, to see what I had missed on Twitter during my deep REMing.

I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.

The flood of memories hit me like a ton of bricks. As did a wave of sadness.

I felt like I was still dreaming.

I clicked on the news story anyway.

My mind raced back in time to the fall of 2003.

I was in a photojournalism class during my senior year at NKU.

The final assignment was simple: create a “magazine” featuring three people: a classmate, a NKU student (other than classmate) and any person of our choosing.

Without hesitation, I knew who I would feature as my last subject: Dr. Frank Steely.

I had taken Dr. Steely’s history class a couple of semesters earlier and I always had a soft spot for the old Southern gentleman. We had become fast kindred spirits sharing random talks and stories. Somehow, I felt obliged to pay homage to the man who, literally, built the institution that I would be graduating from within a few months.

I remember calling him and figuring out the best time to learn more about his life and document it all.

I remember it like it was just yesterday. Not seven years ago.

It was a wonderful afternoon seeing him in his home-away-from-home at his office at NKU’s Steely Library. And it was an even more wonderful evening when he invited me back to his home to have some tea, visit with his wife and reminisce over his old photographs that I’d later use for my feature.

I got an A for my magazine, but after pulling it out from my old school files this afternoon and thumbing through the only hard copy I have (that I had to scan for this post), I realized that I gained a lot more that afternoon I spent with Dr. Steely…an experience I will never forget and cherish forever.

I hate that all I have of our time together is this final draft, riddled with editing/grammatical errors/typos. The whole piece seems so amateurish. The pictures I took aren’t artistic, the layout’s garish, my writing could be better. But I guess it is what it is. Despite my efforts in ruining the piece, Dr. Steely’s spirit still shines through.

Thank you Dr. Steely for your vision, passion and faith in Northern Kentucky University. Because of your perseverance and dedication to higher education, this Indian girl born in the Caribbean was able to graduate college and pursue her dreams in print journalism and radio & TV.

Thank you for making my dream, and the dreams of many others, become a reality.

May you rest in peace, at God’s side.


“The one thing I am most proud of…is my NKU presidency. I just loved it. Academics is my whole life…I really don’t know anything else.”

– Dr. Frank Steely, 2003

The PDF of the entire article can be found here: Frank Steely: The Man Behind the Academia

Visitation for Dr. Steely will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at the First Baptist Church of Cold Spring with the service following. A graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Hazel Cemetery in Hazel.

~ by Maureen on November 29, 2010.

One Response to “Rest In Peace Dr. Steely”

  1. This was very touching…what a wonderful tribute to such a great man that has indirectly touched me (graduated from NKU). I am sorry for the loss that our whole community is now faced with. I hope that I can build my life in such a way to love and give to others as he did!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: