My dad is retiring today. He has worked, and over-worked, at the University of Arizona since we moved to Tucson in 1992. This Friday, he will give out diplomas at his last program graduation. He’s leaving the Masters in Development Practice program on a high note.
I could use this moment to say nasty things about some of the dummies who never appreciated him, but the internet doesn’t need more mean things on it. (Besides, I’ve already hatched a master plan with one of his old students to go fart on all the desks of stupid people when I’m back in Tucson.)
I would rather talk about how lucky the University was to have him. I am biased, clearly, but my dad was able to reach out and support so many students over the years. He wasn’t paid for a lot of the work he did during his time at the U of A. My dad served as an unofficial counselor to students and faculty alike. He has helped people get through everything from break ups to visa applications. I remember him spending hours in front of the computer, writing hundreds of letters of recommendation for students. He stuck his neck out for those he believed in when nobody else would and he brought inspiration and motivation to students that didn’t feel they had anything to give.
He also pissed a lot of people off. (We’re related.) He challenged the system, worked tirelessly for what he believed in, and refused to accept lazy, complacent thinking. He encouraged students to go outside of practical careers and to do things they really cared about. There were a few angry parents who wanted doctors and bankers, and were NOT pleased when their babies moved to random developing countries to save the world. I think this makes him better.
My Dad is one of the kindest, most supportive, thoughtful, hilarious and intelligent people in the universe. He cares immensely about the students that have come through his classrooms, and because of that, has an amazing network of people all over the world who love and respect him. There have been a lot of great things written about him recently, but I think our wonderful friend Wendy said it best:
“You’ve motivated and encouraged countless people in your career to reach beyond their perceived limits, to try new experiences, and to give a shit.”
Dad, I am so so proud of you and so happy for you. I am thrilled that you get to spend more time on the things that you love; road trips with mom, making fun of Barron, and running Flame Tree. I can’t wait to celebrate with you, but until then, Cheers, Dad. We are all so lucky to have you.
I love you!
May 16, 2015 at 12:37 am
Wayne is a remarkable person and leader. It’s clear how wonderful he is by the incredible, talented and amazing daughter he has, Caitlin Decker. Your blog is a great read for; style, heartfelt messages, quick wit and true heart. I’m so proud to know you and call you a lifetime friend.
May 16, 2015 at 4:04 am
As just one of the many people that benefited from Dr.Decker/your dad’s enthusiasm, patience, and thoughtfulness, I wholeheartedly applaud this post 🙂 I know he’ll still be getting things done in his semi-retirement phase!