As of late, many of my Loras College professors seem to be coming to the forefront of my mind. I guess it might be a sign that I’m getting older. Maybe it is the fact that in the past few months we have lost two of what I would call Loras legends, Dr. Jack Bamrick (’53) and Dr. Ken Kraus (’57). Whatever the case may be, it has given me reason to reflect on them and other Loras legends.
When I returned to Dubuque to begin my optometric practice, I arranged to play racquetball with Dr. Bamrick. As I was leaving our house, my wife suggested I go easy on Jack because I wouldn’t want to embarrass him. Well, the only person who was embarrassed was me. He cleaned my clock. I was frantically running around, and he just stood there placing shots in places that were almost impossible to reach. Needless to say, that outing didn’t last long. When I suggested that was the worst beating I had taken in a long time, he just smiled and said, “It’s all about positioning.”
That’s what these legends did for all of us. I believe their focus was to see that their students were getting themselves into the correct positions, whether that was for acceptance into graduate school or a specific career after college. These highly talented men and women accomplished these goals without any fanfare.
I would argue that, while it was true they did work to get us into these positions to win in our career world, what they also did was work to position us to be the type of people who reflect the Catholic values that they themselves embodied. They wanted their students to succeed in their careers, but, most importantly, to succeed as people with strong Catholic values. For this, I am forever grateful.
Monsignor James Barta (’52) challenged us in his homily at Dr. Kraus’s funeral that it is our duty to carry on the work of these legends. I think this is a multifaceted task. We have been fortunate to experience these Loras legends and be “positioned” by these outstanding men and women. Let’s take the time to let those who are still with us know how much we appreciate what they have done for us. Secondly, let’s make sure we help others to have the same opportunities with which we were blessed. Lastly, let us be the image of those legends in the way we choose to live our lives.
As sung by the band Against the Current, “Legends never die, they become a part of you.