In Memory of Alan Curtis Hall
The poet William Butler Yeats wrote that “education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” Alan Hall not only believed that; he lived it. He joined Gateway in 1989 as an assistant professor of information technology and electronics, but his love of history compelled him to go back to school to earn a master of arts degree. He then returned to Gateway as a history professor. His passion for life and learning led him to co-found Gateway’s Study Abroad program in 2008, and he accompanied students to France for the program’s inaugural trip. His accomplishments at were many.
They were cut short all too soon with his death in an accident in the
summer of 2009. Just as Alan Hall was dedicated to inspiring his students to become their best selves, we dedicate this Night of Excellence to the memory of an outstanding teacher. One of Gateway’s own student-poets has written a tribute to Alan, and we share it with you here.
HALLWAYS by Bonnie Speeg
Pssst, out there in the Hall,
Is that you… Alan?
For an instant I thought I saw you.
Maybe it was the standard Dockers and plaid shirt;
Suggesting your presence but with someone else inside.
And yet a most subtle offering, unfulfilled because of winter now.
The underside of summer; your turning point.
The sweet, green grass of that hot day of your ultimate lesson,
has been rendered sparse, tired, and without color.
Until the day of your parting, you were a messenger for all millennium;
steering us from your classroom helm, fusing the Old World into the New.
Civilizations and human episodes
Fell one on top of another beneath your words.
A tutorial compass; navigating seas of ages past.
No one could mistake your passion for human history for anything but your highest calling.
The entire French Revolution exploded into reality with you.
A student recovered her father in Pacific seas of combat;
Your lessons a visceral study of human turmoil thought unreachable.
In accord with your nature,
You didn’t mention a trip to Belgium.
Instead, photos of Flanders Field
marked your recreated visit in our classroom.
Your faith trickled out with the light of Power Point images.
On the classroom wall images of Flanders Field, and its sea of luminous crosses, swept toward a green horizon into eternity.
You gifted us with images of a lost humanity at rest.
A place you would become one with, far too soon.
Our last assignment is to remember.