I noted the memorial for Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu *75 (On the Campus, March issue). I was an art history major in the early ’90s, and I remember very fondly my six-person Japanese art class with Professor Shimizu. While the subject turned out to be less engaging (I had trouble distinguishing between all the Buddhas), Professor Shimizu was among my most delightful instructors. On a very supportive and helpful faculty, he stood out for his genuine kindness, true joy in mentorship, and delight in authentic interpersonal interaction.
I fondly remember the day he tried to teach us the basics of Japanese calligraphy. “Breathe in, breathe out,” he would say as he gently guided our shaking, newbie hands.
I remember marveling at how much fun he was having, with no disparaging comments on our rudimentary efforts. Instead, he seemed to perceive, as we did because of him, that our attempt was valuable because we were exploring together, no matter the results. These thoughts still warm my heart, over 25 years later.
Rest in peace, Professor Shimizu. Your delightful smile and graceful presence are still with us. I feel very honored to have experienced your wonderful spirit. And for anyone who interacts with impressionable minds, never doubt that your kindness and warmth can have as great an impact as the information you provide. I still struggle to tell those Buddhas apart, but I will never forget Professor S.