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Once a Professor...

It’s been thirteen years since Peter stopped teaching computer science at Boston College. For ten years, he continued to teach at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement, often choosing a subject he knew little or nothing about because that way he would learn something new.

At his BC retirement party in 2005, I heard some things I didn’t know about how beloved he was as a professor. Seth and Jeremy were also mightily impressed by what they heard about their father.

Jim Gips, one of Peter’s (significantly younger) colleagues who had spoken at Peter’s retirement event, passed away quite suddenly two weeks ago. Since Jim and his family had bought our summer vacation home in 1980, we had a special tie to him and were sad to learn of his death.

A few days later Peter received the following email from a former student:


I don’t know if you remember me. I was your student at BC in the late 1970’s. I still think of you as my favorite professor.  I wanted to tell you that in light of Jim Gip’s passing. These things should be said before it’s too late. I hope you’re well!

Best regards
Tom V.”

An important lesson for all of us.


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Iris Smale

What a thoughtful email. We so often wait too long to say those things to people who impacted our lives. This is a good lesson.

Still the Lucky Few

A wonderful message, given so generously. It was unsolicited and unnecessary, but a very human and loving gesture.

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