A recent editorial highlighted the deaths of the late great actor Alan Rickman and iconic musician David Bowie. Last week, another death hit a little closer to home for me.
One of the most beloved professors to ever walk the halls of Adelphi University passed away in a tragic accident. Sculptor and artist Thomas McAnulty was struck by a motorcycle last week while crossing the street near his home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Upon hearing of this shocking news, as an Adelphi alum, I was not at all surprised to see the university and community pull together, starting with the formation of a Facebook group dedicated to Tom in less than a few hours. With hundreds of members already, the page continues to grow every day and is full of photos, memories, stories and condolences to Tom’s family and friends. That is making a mark on a community.
I met Tom when I spent a summer in Florence with him, art professor Jen Maloney, English professor Adam McKeown and about 22 of my peers. It was the trip of a lifetime and an honor to learn under Tom’s passionate tutelage every day, starting with a drawing of what our day would consist of and ending with a checklist making sure that we were all back safe and sound.
To know Tom McAnulty was to know kindness, love and laughter. You don’t have to be a celebrity to evoke those feelings in another.
I would say rest in peace, Tom, but I know you’re already dancing with the greats. I just hope heaven has an art studio big enough for you.
If this week has taught us anything, it should be that nothing is promised. You never know who you might lose so finish the silly argument, forgive, say “I love you” and try not to let the trivial things spoil all of the wonderful things about life. Be your best and brightest you. You never know who you might be inspiring.