It was 5 years ago today that former students of the late Dr. John Alfred Dennis, Jr., and the community of Saint Mary’s College of CA gathered for a memorial Mass at Saint Mary’s Chapel. Dr. John A. Dennis, Jr., affectionately known as Dr. D, was murdered by one of his former mentees on February 9, 2008 in Oakland, CA.
Former students of Dr. D. came from around the nation to pay respects to not only one of the greatest teachers to ever lived but one of the most amazing human beings.
Dr. D. was not just a professor but he was the father figure that many of us didn’t have or the father figure that we had hoped for. He never had children of his own but his students were his sons and daughters. Dr. D. was no ordinary professor. He was a man with a profound calling to educate men and women from all walks of life especially from humble beginnings.
Saint Mary’s College is a Lasallian institution where the Christian Brothers are inspired by the life of Saint John Baptist De La Salle, a priest and educational reformer who dedicated his life to teaching the poorest of the poor in France. St. John Baptist De La Salle is the patron saint of teachers. If there was anyone who emulated St. John Baptist De La Salle it was Dr. D. He was our version of De La Salle.
Dr. D was a man who wasn’t just satisfied with teaching at Saint Mary’s College but he also taught courses at City College of San Francisco, Edward Shans Adult School in East Oakland, and was a lay chaplain in the San Francisco jails where on the weekends he would do prison ministry. Dr. D. was studying to become a deacon in 2008.
There is so much more that I can write about the amazing individual that Dr. D was but words won’t do him any justice. He was truly a disciple of Christ. A man who lived out his calling of educating men and women. A man with a beautiful smile and dancing moves that would make you want to dance or just stare at him and laugh.
I invite those who had the honor of getting to know Dr. D. to share your stories of Dr. D. below.
I am adding these two videos of Earth, Wind and Fire and Heat Wave as I remember Dr. D “getting down” on the dance floor. Enjoy.
The following two videos are songs from my favorite artist, Victor Jara. I like to pay tribute to Dr. D with these two amazing songs.
I miss you Dr. D!!!
Love you, Dr. D!!
Here are previous blogs I wrote about Dr. D. Feel free to read them.