Tom Poe was a mentor, friend, uncle and colleague. Friends and family gathered near Haag Hall earlier this month for a bench dedication in honor of the late communication studies professor.
Poe passed in 2016, which led his friends and colleagues to come together to recognize his contributions to the campus and honor him with a memorial bench.
Speakers at the event discussed how Poe connected with his colleagues and students.
Joan Dean, a curators’ distinguished teaching professor of the English department, said there were students who weren’t interested in post-structuralism theory, but once Poe showed Pinocchio in class, the students would understand the complexities of Foucault.
Family-friend Chris Biel added that Poe was the one to push for the campus to hire Steve Kraske, a communication studies professor, editorial board member at The Kansas City Star and host of KCUR’s Up To Date.
“[Kraske’s] a connector, not just on a personal level but also on a professional level,” said Piel. “He connects students to things they were passionate about or may not even know that they’re passionate about.”
Angela Elam, producer of KCUR’s New Letters on the Air, said Poe believed in human beings reaching out to others and would help your cause. She added his last wish was for his nephew, Jonathon Stalling, to have his opera performed.
“I miss him terribly,” Stalling said.
Poe’s bench bears his name and an inscription of a poem Stalling wrote, titled, “Love is always apropos.”
The dedication came to a beautiful close as the family came together and hugged, knowing he’s not forgotten.
Tom Poe’s memorial bench sits outside Haag Hall, across from friend Carol Koehler.