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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Faas

The Griffin says farewell to one of our own

The Canisius College Griffin was founded in 1933. Since then, many people have found their chosen family here. As I sit in our messy, chaotic office, I am thinking about one of our own, whom we lost this week. Eric DuVall ’04, age 39, passed away suddenly Saturday. Throughout his time at Canisius, DuVall was quick to jump into work on The Griffin.

As I have been sifting through the archives, I can barely keep up with the many roles DuVall served as. Here are a few: News editor, asst. News editor, managing editor, News reporter, and Opinion contributor. His freshman year, he found himself serving as the News Editor, before jumping down to assistant his sophomore year. This speaks to his exceptional writing and reporting abilities.

I, unfortunately, never got the chance to meet Eric, seeing as I was only 2 when he graduated college. However, Sports Layout Editor Adam Gorski had the privilege to work with him personally: “I only met Eric in person on a couple of occasions, but despite this, you just knew was a great person and an even better editor to work under,” Gorski said. “I’m so grateful for the advice and help he gave me over the years. The entire Western New York journalistic community lost one the best, and he will be dearly missed.”

When deciding how to honor DuVall, we decided that we wanted to reprint one of his articles that truly encapsulates a piece of his life’s work. As I was reading through his pieces, I felt that this one — from the April 30, 2004 edition — would be perfect.

The last hurrah

By. Eric DuVall

It’s no secret that for seniors this is, in large part, a time of contemplation: how can we characterize this thing called college?

I can tell you that for me it was a time of exponential personal growth. Appropriately, the old adage about April comes to mind: in like a lion, out like a lamb. I started out an immature, inexperienced kid with too much passion and not enough drive to make it work for me. I’m leaving slightly more mature and experienced, or at least mature enough to admit I’m nowhere near it. And as for the passion, I’m proud to say it’s still there, intense as ever. I guess the drive is where I've matured, or at least was forced to mature, through a combination of stress, deadlines and intriguing, thought-provoking exchanges of knowledge.

It’s my hope that everyone gets as much out of this as I have, if for no other reason that it’s a significant investment, both of time and resources. So I've compiled a list of things large and small that might help someone sometime at Canisius:

Number One. Save your old parking permits. The colors recycle back eventually and public safety almost never checks the expiration date. Hell, it costs $19,000 a year to go here, cheat the system. It’s well deserved.

Number Two. Talk in classes. There is an entire dimension to education that exists only between people during debate and discussion. It is one that you will never understand from reading. Shed your inhibitions: don’t be afraid that someone will think you too stupid or too smart. You’re really missing out if you don’t.

Number Three. This isn’t high school. It’s okay to like your professors. You won’t always, but if you do, it’s not a sin. Nobody will call you a suck-up ( at least not to your face, we’re far more civilized now). Besides that, when it comes down to it, they’re the ones who can help you the most. So, as the cliche goes, help them help you.

Number Four. Take some classes outside your realm of interest if you can. It can be enlightening to encounter up new areas of knowledge. If you’re a biology major, take an English class and vice versa. There’s a good chance it'll be a pain, but in the long run, at least you can say you did it.

Number Five. Burn the candle at both ends! Go out, have fun, procrastinate and then spend all night catching up on work. This is the only time you'll be able to get away with it. Eventually your body will make you go to bed early. Take advantage of the ability to go long hours without sleep now because soon enough 11 o’clock will be past your normal bedtime.

Number Six. Don’t sell your books back to the bookstore. Keep them or sell them online, you get more in return either way.

Number Seven. Join something. I joined The Griffin as a freshman and since then it has become a central part of my life. It has also been the impetus for tremendous personal and professional growth, as well as providing me with several great friends and mentors. We as a paper have devoted dozens of articles and hundreds of column inches to this topic during my time here, and just recently I figured out why: it’s because we love what we are doing and we want others to experience it, too. You don’t have to pick us as your organization of choice, though. There are dozens of clubs out there with interesting people who do interesting things.

So that’s my list. Being as this is my last op-ed column in a publication, I’ve tended to under one title or another for four years, I feel the need to thank two individuals without whom this paper would never be possible (or readable): our moderators, Mel Schroeder and Tom Joyce, both of the English department. I truly hope everyone has mentors as skilled and conscientious as these two men.

Thanks for reading.

When speaking about DuVall, Assistant Managing Editor of the Buffalo News and Canisius Adjunct Professor Bruce Andriatch said, “It was more than his work, which was nearly flawless, or his enthusiasm, which was contagious. College classrooms often have kids like that. The difference with Eric was his passion. I could feel how much he cared. He didn’t just want to get into journalism; he wanted to make a difference with HIS journalism. I looked at him every week and I could see the future. He gave me hope.”

Here at The Griffin, our thoughts are with DuVall’s friends and family. I have enjoyed sifting through all of his old articles and had a few laughs at some of the things he wrote about. From one News editor to another, I would like to thank Eric for all that he did for our little paper. It is because people like him that we are still printing. I found my people here because he and his Griffin colleagues kept it alive.

Eric DuVall, we salute you.


The editorial staff of The Griffin

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