Thank You to the Professor Who Changed My Life

Dear Rick,

We seldom enough tell the people who have made in impact on own lives who much they mean to us so here's my shot.  When I started at UNH as a hospitality major never in a million years did I see myself going into finance.  After ending my dream of becoming an event planner, I switched to business administration thinking "well I guess the only concentration I might be remotely good at is finance."  Oh did introduction to finance teach me the opposite.  After that class I was ready to give up on my finance dreams, but then I was able to take a class with you.  The fall of my junior year I was lucky enough to take not just one, but two of your classes, financial policy and investment analysis.  You taught me that I really love finance and really don’t love investments as much - thanks to you I didn’t give up and gave finance another chance.

Without having those two classes with you in the fall of my junior year, I truly don’t know if I would have stuck with finance.  I would have never gone on to work as a finance intern at Novartis and find out I have a love for contracts.  That newfound love of contracts that would help guide me to my first job after graduation at Raytheon.  Without your guidance and wisdom, none of this would be possible.

I'm not sure what it was that made your classes so appealing.  Maybe it was the way you made the learning fun and told the most amazing stories of business you had done abroad.  Or maybe it was the way you held your students to a higher standard.  You understand the ups and downs of being a student but held us to, an achievable, higher standard.  In your eyes, we we're the stupid college students' professors can take us for but rather the stupid college students that are about to have your name attached to them so they better damn well learn something.  You took nothing from anyone.  But you did it with such grace and we respected that about you since you were one of the firsts to treat us like we were real adults and we wanted to return the favor.

You never took yourself too seriously and let yourself build connections with students.  You were a friend, a mentor, and a professor to all who took your class.  You were the friend that we all needed, especially senior year.  One who wouldn’t sugar coat anything but was still in our corner 100% of the time.  You were also an incredible mentor to all those you taught.  You gave us the ability to hear from so much of your past experience and learn from it and honestly I'm not sure everyone even understands how big that is yet.

I had the privilege of being able to squeeze right into your class this semester.  After a little bribing with Mint Milano's to switch sections so that Nat and I could take one last class together with our favorite professor.  There was no way I wasn’t going to end my time in Paul without a little more Rick Kilbride wisdom, even if it was a 5:10 - 8:30 pm class.  That's how much you mean to your students.  They are begging to get into your class, not because it fills the writing intensive requirement, but because of who you are and the impact you have made.  This for me was a Rick Kilbride hat trick.  Which means I had taken three classes with you.  For achieving this I was rewarded an incredible UNH hat and for those who were on their fourth class with you, Excedrin for migraines.  We see how much you care for your students and it is little things like that that mean something to us.

As Nat and I grabbed dinner before the last class we had with you, I said "Rick is going to make me cry tonight and I know it."  At the end of year semester Rick puts up an advice slide.  This slide is full of wisdom like you are your network and to live each day to its fullest. 

But this semester Rick, you outdid yourself.  Hearing your journey through life and your careers made me hopeful that I didn’t have to have all the answer.  But the best was the advice you ended with.  You told us that the worst in life was ahead of us but so was the best.  You went on a series of quotes along those lines, tough love, to tell us that it isn’t going to be easy but is sure as hell worth it.  Hearing this from someone I admire so much makes me feel like its all going to be okay.  So as much as I am upset that you made me emotional in class, I couldn’t have imagined leaving Paul without that advice from you.

Rick, thank you for being a friend, a mentor, and the greatest professor I had in Paul.  Thank you for introducing me to the real finance world and teaching me all the ambiguity that goes along with it.  Thank you for not holding my hand but rather forcing me to make my own informed decisions.  But most importantly, thank you for changing my life.  Without your guidance and tough love, I do not believe I would be where I am today.

 

Thank you for believing in me.

Best,

Valerie