Howard Faulkner death, reception, celebration

Lisa Herdman

Howard Faulkner died Mar. 5, 2017 due to complications of kidney cancer. He first came to the Washburn University English Department in 1972. He was chair of the department from 2006-10, and was director of the Master of Liberal Studies program.

Faulkner wrote multiple books, two collections of Karl Menninger’s professional correspondence, one collection of letters to and from Menninger when he was a mental health advisor to the Ladies Home Journal in the 1930s and one collection of unpublished stories by Belinda Jelliffe, American Writer. He also wrote an introductory text on English grammar, and is published widely on American literature.

Mike Russell, director of scholarly creative Washburn Transformational Experiences and associate professor of psychology, gave an insight into his time knowing Faulkner.

“Whenever I think about Howard, the very first and clearly most powerful thing that comes to mind is his smile,” Russell said. “ It was the kind of smile that you knew was authentic and was conveyed in every aspect of his face. When he smiled, everything in the world seemed wonderful. It was almost as if his smile made the world a better place. He smiled and so you smiled.”

Russell said he met Faulkner through the Gen Ed Ad Hoc Committee, evaluating previous existing general education programs, considering alternatives, and proposing new ones. He has known him for over a decade.

At 5 p.m. Mar. 27 at the Bradbury Thompson Center, a memorial celebration will be available for Howard Faulkner.

Russell offered positivity towards students, and explained his feelings as a teacher that he believes Faulkner may have shared.

“While it is never easy to lose someone who made an impact on us, we hope [students] will take solace in the fact that [they] made our lives better,” Russell said. “[Students] helped us fulfill a part of us that could not be fulfilled in any other way or by anyone else. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of professors love what they do and having the opportunity to teach [students], talk and get to know [them], and to share our passion with [them] is a blessing. We are surrounded by countless students and we are grateful for the brief time our lives intersected. Students should know that [they] give meaning to our lives.”