Reflections in memory of Professor Patrick Pisarik
“My first collegiate class ever was Professor Pisarik’s public speaking. I was intimidated from the new challenge of starting college, and of the then intimidating professor that I would soon learn to respect and adore. It wasn’t until my first speech in public speaking that my intimidation turned into admiration for Professor Pisarik.
I hadn’t gotten my speech topic approved because I had to miss the last class because of a doctor’s visit. I gave my speech last the next class period and I had chosen to give a speech on how to pick the perfect watermelon. It was a topic I actually enjoyed learning about with my sister the summer before, but I realized that it could be taken as a some what frivolous or goof-off topic. After I gave my speech, I sat down at my seat and Professor Pisarik dismissed the class but told me that he wanted to see me after everyone left. Oh no, what had I done. The first week and my freshman self was convinced I was going to be kicked out of the class. He looked at me and he could sense the fear. “Aidan” he said seriously, “I just wanted to let you know, that you did a great job on your speech”. He smirked at me while I realized I wasn’t in trouble at all. I had never felt more relieved in my life. He then asked if he could show the recording to some of his peers who he thought would like to hear the speech. Relieved and with a huge smile on my face I told Professor Pisarik that I thought I was in trouble for my topic selection and that I would gladly allow him to show it to whomever he would like as long as I wasn’t in trouble. We both had a good laugh and for me, it was one of the first moments where I was given a sense of confidence that I could make it in college. Every freshman has doubts going into school and it is overwhelming to say the least. Professor Pisarik didn’t have to keep me after to let me know my speech wasn’t terrible, but that small act let me know I was going to be alright.
I had him each of the past three years for multiple classes, and we would often bring up the watermelon speech. It always brought a smile to my face when he would walk into the media lab, always finding time to ask about school, my day, watermelon, or really anything to start a conversation. He grew into one of my favorite professors that I have ever had.
I was lucky enough to get to see Professor Pisarik outside of a school setting as well. He and professor Schaefer took a group of us to a media conference, and I got to ride in Professor Pisarik’s van. Jamming out to all sorts of wacky tunes, some that he picked and some that others picked was a treat. His wit and humor were on full display throughout the weekend conference. It made taking his classes over the next two years a blast because of the relationship that we had built.
He was one of the best. Every time I eat watermelon I think of him and public speaking class. He will be missed by so many.
I saw professor Pasarik just last week and it still doesn’t feel real. Praying for his family and friends in this tough time.”
– Aidan Wojciehowski, senior
“Pat was a friendly and inquisitive person. When passing him on the sidewalk or in the hallway, he always had a “hello” and asked about how things were going in my area. I recall at a campus gathering engaging in a conversation about the disposition of ethical decision making. He used an example of student behavior in a residence hall which was affirming to the work in Student Development.
Interesting enough, it seemed without fail, I would run into him while in Iowa City. Whether grabbing a coffee downtown, browsing a bookstore or walking the mall with my family, I would run into Pat. One time, as my daughters were trying on shoes, I had a tap on my shoulder and turned around to find Pat standing there. He asked if I was willing to buy him a new pair of shoes.
Pat was warm and cared about students. He will be missed.”
-Dr. Art Sunleaf, dean of students
“Professor Pisarik was a very generous man, both with his time and with his gifts. He was particularly generous when it came to sharing the fruits of his labor. Quite literally, in fact. He would frequently bring in gifts of tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables grown at his home, and they were wonderful. Another memory I’ll have of him is his music. Having an office across the hall from him I could hear the pop tunes from the sixties and seventies that he loved. Occasionally he could be heard singing along, creating a joyful noise that couldn’t help but make you feel good. Pat Pisarik will truly be missed.”
– Paul Kohl, media studies professor
“Professor Pisarik was absolutely one of a kind. For nearly 25 years, his students knew that he put their interests at the forefront of everything he did. He was such a tremendously spirited man with a positive outlook on everything in life. Pat was generous to all and comfortable with everyone.
Outside the classroom, Professor Pisarik was the moderator of The Lorian for many years. His former editors and reporters continually stopped by to see him every year.
Pat was a great friend and colleague and he will be sorely missed by many.”
– Craig Schaefer, media studies professor
“Always patient and always kind, Professor Patrick Pisarik will be missed and remembered for years to come.”
– Bailey Hussey, senior
“Professor Pisarik truly was a great teacher and kindhearted man. He always kept class entertaining. He will be missed by all of his past students without a doubt.”
– Nia Stompanato, senior
“He was a great professor and was my first professor for J-Term. He will be great missed, and his family will be in my thoughts and prayers.”
– Kaitlyn LaGrange, junior
“Pat had a gentle quietness, but also a delightful sense of humor that would sneak out and delight you; you only had to enter his office to know this.”
– Dr. Kevin Koch, English professor
“Professor Pat always prioritized students above coursework. I’m so grateful I was able to know such a caring person.”
– Brooke Boddicker, junior
For the full article about Professor Pisarik including service times and dates, please follow the link.