Sister Nancy Hynes
When asked to write an article about Sr. Nancy Hynes, I hesitated. I paused, for just a moment, and thought, "How could I possibly capture all that Sr. Nancy was in one short article?" But I could not pass up the opportunity to share what she meant to me both as an educator and a mentor.
Sr. Nancy taught my symposium class. Imagine . . . my first day of college, my first college course, and here was this energetic, self-confident and quite demanding professor who informed our class, in no uncertain terms, that she expected our best work - every time. And she meant it. Sr. Nancy believed in every student's potential.
She expected thoughtfulness, attention to detail and genuine creativity. I admit that it was often difficult, and I complained (loudly and to anyone who would listen) that she was unfair and expected too much. But there is so much in my college career that I would not have accomplished - or even attempted - without Sr. Nancy's "subtle" push: the Honors Program, the National Catholic Honor Society 'Delta Epsilon Sigma', my Honors thesis (which she helped to edit), and numerous classes and seminars. Sr. Nancy always believed in my abilities and accomplishments, even when I was not ready to see them myself.
I admired Sr. Nancy's candor. True, her direct approach sometimes frightened me. But I strive daily to emulate her strength and courage. Even through her illness, she tackled life with fervor. Rarely does a challenge arise in my life when I don't stop to wonder how Sr. Nancy would approach it. Am I working up to my potential? Is this the best that I can do?
It saddens me that my children will not have the opportunity to be taught by Sr. Nancy. I am certain that she would have enjoyed their unquenchable curiosity and fire. In many ways, they remind me of her zest and drive. As I nurture their thoughtfulness and creativity, I am reminded of Sr. Nancy's teachings: expect the best from yourself, everyone and everything. We are all capable of accomplishing the extraordinary.
Katy Noonan Koll