Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Great Woman

I had many great professors at GCC throughout my years there, but Barb Akin held a special place in my heart. She was my adviser, and I admired and respected her greatly. I went to her ordination (instead of the Homecoming parade), I learned many great lessons from her (not the least of which was the art of skimming a book for salient points w/o reading every word), and I enjoyed her lectures immensely. Even her tests, when given, were admirable - always really and truly testing to see what you learned, not to try to trip you up on something you might have missed.

Just the other day I was talking about Barb, and telling someone, I forget who, how she'd kept me from taking certain "easy A" classes because she had higher expectations for me. She was brassy, strong, brilliantly smart and fun to hang out with. I remember her smoking in class, cussing sometimes, too (which at GCC was shocking!), and basically being her amazing self. She was like a cross between Prof. McGonagall and Mae West, and, although we didn't keep in touch, I did love her.

I look forward to learning from you again someday, Barb, on the other side.

in my email today:
Retired Faculty Member Dr. M. Barbara Akin Passes Away August 14, 2009


Dear Catherine,

We are sorry to report that retired faculty member Dr. M. Barbara Akin passed away on Friday, August 14, 2009 at her home.

Dr. Akin taught at Grove City College from 1970 to 1999 and chaired the history department during that time. She had also served as vicar of the Church of the Epiphany Episcopal in Grove City from 1985 through her retirement in 2008.

The funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, August 19, at the Church of the Epiphany Episcopal, 870 Liberty Street Extension, with Bishop Sean Rowe ’97 officiating.

The College offers sincere condolences to Dr. Akin's family, friends and her former students.


LynneF said...

I never had Dr. Akin for a class, but everyone I know who did admired her.

Jim Brochowski said...

What a great tribute. Thank you for sharing with us. Dr. Akin sounds like an amazing lady.

Elizabeth Hamilton said...

I just learned of Dr. Akin's death yesterday and thought I'd see whether I could find reflections or more information online. She was without a doubt the most influential teacher and role model I had at Grove City. I am grateful to have known her. I would never have found your thoughtful and interesting blog without her--she'll always be teaching us to look, won't she!

Cathy--is this Fith?--what a great blog. Thanks for your thoughts. All best to you, Elizabeth H. from the class of 87.

Cat said...

Yes, this is fith! How are you doing Elizabeth? Where are you now?

Cat said...

Elizabeth, if you read this again, my direct mail is caterwaul1 at gmail dot com.

Ellen said...

I was in Wolf Creek Yarns in Grove City in August (a side trip from dropping my middle daughter off for her freshman year!) when I ran into Mrs. Sparks and she told me about Dr. Akin. Dr. Akin was a great teacher and I'll never forget what she showed me about the world of history.