In memory of Prof. Otto Schober (died in January 2010)
From the corner of my eye I saw Prof. Schober who, surrounded by a ton of student essays, was still there marking papers. It was pitch dark. He looked desperate, and I said: „Hey Prof. Schober are you all right?“ He sighed and said: „If you only knew Dr. Profanter, if you only knew.“ I thought, at first, he was losing it over students‘ work; then I realized that he was in fact pale like a ghost, had lost at least 10 pounds and was just a shadow of himself. Well, I stopped and gave him a chance to come close and open his heart. The fact that he held my finger tightly (that I had jammed in the door in Rome) while telling me his story was at first overshadowed by my physical pain, but shortly after, nothing compared to the human suffering Prof. Schober shared with me. He was in deep shock over the sudden cerebral hemorrhage his son had suffered a couple of weeks ago…blood everywhere…intensive care…a vision of spending Christmas beside his bed in the hospital…, horrible really horrible images. Prof. Schober just stood there, stunned by the injustice of life.
The man was one of the most humble, dedicated professors I have met in my life. He went on to tell me that he would love to be serving the students‘ needs with the same dedication and passion as in the past, but that he run out of steam. He had a pure and good heart – and that’s pretty hard to preserve in our troubled world where power and prestige set the pace. I mean everybody whose third eye is not entirely blind could see it from very very far- a utterly good human soul. The students loved him very much; he was very bright and gifted, but would never let that be on the forefront of his communication. His gentle way of interaction would allow his words to be just soft enough not to hurt anybody when speaking God’s honest truth when students missed-the-boat totally. It is not easy for me to write about him in the past tense. I just found out that Prof. Schober has left us and moved on. I was deeply shocked to hear this news, and I don’t know much about what happened. I guess the sorrow and pain over his son’s destiny hurt his soul so badly he couldn’t take it any more.
I just wish that, where ever he is now, he knows that I am a big fan of his, that the tears running down my cheeks are of pure admiration for a great human being, a beautiful spirit and a tender soul. Prof. Schober thank you so much for making this university a much-better, more-humanistic place. I will miss you, and I hope that wherever you are now, you find peace and love, and that you know, you are remembered here with great respect. It was an honor for me to have met and known you. Thank you for being such a great example to all those around you. Thank you Prof. Schober for being a part of my life; you were a blessing.
Thank you and good luck on your next journey!