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Ken Ward


Ken Ward Memorial Service
Nov. 17, 2005

address by Ben Malcolm, CNC Vice-President Academic


My name is Ben Malcolm and I’m here to say a few words in two capacities.

FIRST On behalf of the College, from the president through all the administration, faculty and staff, I want to express our deepest sympathies and extend condolences to Kathie and her sons and to other members of Ken’s family. We know that our sense of loss is great and we know that yours is so, so much more.

Perhaps more for those of outside the College, I can say that Ken was a chemist and instructor in Chemistry at CNC since 1989, and elsewhere in previous years.

I can’t overstate the contribution Ken made. He knew his job well: the subject and the experiences necessary to instruct, coax, tempt and encourage students to learn chemistry. He was a people person: caring, loyal, thoughtful, accessible to students. He showed a great interest, caring and understanding of the challenges that students faced in learning what was for many a difficult subject. Ken cared about people and it helped make him a great teacher. We know that there are many students and former students who were encouraged and supported and inspired by Ken to do further work in science and in chemistry and some of them are here today. When I meet former students, one of the things they always ask: “Is Ken still there?” “I remember the Chem labs.”

And so to Kathie and family: we’ll work with you in support and in finding some way to recognize our loss of Ken in a more formal and lasting way.

SECOND My other words are spoken as a member of our Chem Department and are about a friend and colleague who shared the adventure of teaching chemistry to those who on occasion may not have been as enthusiastic as we.
I worked closely with Ken for about 12 years and shared many common experiences in teaching our science. Chemistry is a wonderful subject and wonderful for me in that it requires one to be smart and practical at the same time. You have to know your stuff but you have to make it work too. And Ken was all of this and more. We do labs, and we want them to work and they do. Ken made sure they worked and our students benefited from that positive learning experience. However, not all of the ‘making it work’ extended to his cars, trucks and other modes of Ken’s travel. We’ll remember well the deep sigh and then the story about what part of which car fell off today.

We operated then and still do as a team. We’d meet once a week and talk about our students and our labs and of course the College Administration. Ken’s primary role was to teach labs and for others, theory, and there are always discussions about what is best for the lab and what is best for the theory part. We always valued the practical learning experience as much as the theory and that practical part was Ken’s forte. If we had differences of opinion we always worked them out and always presented a common front to students and to the admin, the suits that we needed to either baffle or impress to approve our requests for resources to continue what we always new was very important work And it was.

Probably the most exciting time for Ken, next to the arrival of Jamie 14 years ago was the start of our Analytical course; and apologies to those who don’t know what that is. I’ll not give details and I’ll spare you any explanation about the arrival of the fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer. Ken had always wanted us to teach Analytical and so when when we had the chance due to course transfer requirements at other institutions we did. It’s what he really liked and liked well at U of S before coming to CNC.

Ken took pride that our labs worked. No comment on other sciences but our labs worked and it is a tribute to Ken that they always did. He tirelessly improved and changed things if necessary till they did. But the analytical labs really, really worked well. In the past two years Ken took on the new challenge of teaching the theory as well as the practical part of the Analytical course and I’m sure he took great satisfaction in that.

But there are some things not so well known except to those of us who worked more closely with him. Not all know that Ken was talented in music and in visual art, painting in acrylic. Highly organized and neat; not an easy trait to spot under the mountain of detail, paper, and lab reports that go with his job.

Ken was a great guy, a wonderful person, the anchor, the heart of our department and we feel his loss deeply.


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