In Loving Memory

When we first met, Fran and I spent three hours sharing stories and towards the end of our chat, she said, “Maybe I should take the program instead of being a Mentor”.  And in a way, she was both a student and a mentor.  

Before Fran left the TRP student partner presentations on the Thursday before her passing, she announced “That’s a great project.  If you need a partner, I’m interested”.  She was always interested and generous with her time.  She was always willing to help and to engage with students and projects that would help others. That was the kind of woman she was, curious, humble, kind and always there to help.

When we first met, Fran and I spent three hours sharing stories and towards the end of our chat, she said, “Maybe I should take the program instead of being a Mentor”.  And in a way, she was both a student and a mentor.  She attended every presentation, classes and socials, she sat during her summer mentor hours talking with every student who was looking for advice or guidance—about their projects, careers or personal lives.

Fran had to fight to get to where she was, it wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always pleasant.  When she was applying for her Ph.D., Fran told me during our very first conversation, her supervisor refused to support her.  He told her that investing in her education was a waste of time and effort, that she would just end up meeting some guy and having kids, that she would never become an academic.  Maybe that’s what made her so kind and giving, and so devoted to students and mentorship—she even apologized (more than once) for planned vacations that conflicted with her mentorship activities.

Fran did get accepted into her Ph.D., and she did meet ‘some guy’ and she did have kids, but she also became a professor, a researcher, an academic and a role model.  And she became part of our community, a mentor and a friend.

Thank you for all your kindness and devotion.  I’m sorry we didn’t have more time together, Fran.  Let’s grab that coffee next time we meet.

Joseph