It is pretty amazing when you encounter an individual in life that makes an impact on you. Parents, family, and friends aside, I'm talking about those who you have brief interactions with but still leave their impression upon you. Individuals that you find yourself telling stories about and using as a role model. Individuals that you might not really think would leave a lasting impression on you. For me, teachers fall into this category for me.
You and I can share the names of grade school, high school and camp counselor teachers that fall into this category. I can think of one teacher I enjoyed a great deal as an undergraduate but who wasn't a role model like others.
Recently one of my absolute favorite Professors from UW Business School passed away, yet another individual who lost the battle with cancer. Karma Hadjimichalakis was my Professor for Macro Economics for the course work to complete my MBA. Macro Economics in itself can be dry and a bit boring, but Professor Karma (as I called her) was a great instructor. I think I learned more in that class than I ever hoped for. I still have a good grasp of the material. I really enjoyed the class and that is saying a lot when you consider that I was completely drowning in the course work. I felt I was so over my head that I was pretty depressed. Luckily for me I had a very good French classmate that kept my spirits up and helped me with the math.
Professor Karma also was very positive. When I talked to her 1:1 she was very reassuring and her explanations were very helpful. I looked forward to her classes. I even attended a few seminars from her post degree.
One of her classic responses to any question was "It depends" and then she would proceed to explain the affects of the actions on the economy and all would become clear. She used that line so much that we started answering each other with "it depends" when discussing things.
The UW Community has lost a great teacher. I hope that she is recognized as a role model for others professors. I'll always be very glad that she was one of my professors.
Here is a nice summary of her career to read.