In 2001, I entered the MAPC Graduate Program at Clemson University. Dr. Summer Smith (now Taylor) was one of the many faculty on staff in the Department of English and the MAPC Program. She was a part of my graduate thesis committee and sat through my final oral examinations. When I was a student, I think I she and I were the same age…but I remember her unbelievable intelligence and technical writing knowledge she brought to my educational experience.
After graduating from the MAPC Program…I returned to the world of broadcast television. Dr. Taylor kept up with me and my career. She always wanted me to come back to Clemson and take part in many of the advisory boards. When Sarah and I moved back to Anderson, SC…she asked if I would be interested in teaching a class while pursuing my entrepreneurial endeavors. WOW, teaching on the collegiate level is a different beast….but she encouraged me. She pushed me to take on the challenge and gave me free reign to take that little business writing class and take it into an entrepreneurial direction. Dr. Taylor had tremendous faith in my abilities.
These last few months, Dr. Taylor has not been around. She has not even been on campus this semester. Dr. Taylor has fallen victim to a terrible disease…ARDS or Adult respiratory Distress Syndrome. It is the inflammation of the lungs prohibiting the exchange of gases. Dr. Taylor is very sick…and just recently, the doctors have not seen any brain activity within the last two weeks. She is currently in the ICU at Greenville Hospital System. This highly intelligent woman probably will not return to the walls of Clemson to do what she loved so much…to teach. Dr. Taylor was and is my teacher…she inspired and challenged me to teach on the collegiate level and I have not looked back since.
Just a few months ago, she was taking part in her everyday life…inspiring her students…inspiring future teachers. I am not sure what will come of her and her illness. I am not sure if she will recover? I am not sure if we will recover. She has been a staple in the Clemson community for so many years. She is a thought leader…and I am thankful that she inspired me to think…beyond!
If you would like to read more about Dr. Taylor and her condition, click here for her CaringBridge site.