On Wednesday we celebrated 50 years of English at this university. We invited former colleagues, students and friends of the department to a dinner, interspersed with readings and reflections of the previous half-century. The food was good, the wine flowed, the hall was decorated beautifully and the freebies were lovely. The speakers were warm, witty and thoughtful. We looked to the future: a Chair in English was announced, as was a new cross-disciplinary initiative.
As we left, I hugged and thanked Tahnie Martin from the marketing and events department, who worked tirelessly for six months to make it all happen. Yesterday she was killed by a flying piece of debris during the storm that swept the country. Tahnie was bright, enthusiastic, irrepressibly optimistic, bursting with ideas and undaunted by the grumpiness and stress she got from me over the past few months – it's dreadful to think that we won't see her around campus. We're all shocked and saddened, but at least we got to express our thanks for everything she'd achieved.