Shortly after the announcement that La Sierra University’s board chairman Ricardo Graham called for the resignation of Lenny Darnell, Jeff Kaatz, Jim Beach and Gary Bradley, a Facebook page appeared providing a powerful outpouring of support and encouragement for Dr. Bradley, who has served on La Sierra’s biology faculty since 1972, according to the university’s website.
In addition to the Facebook support page with messages from colleagues, students, friends and community members, Dr. Bradley has received scores of Facebook friend requests on a daily basis since news of the dismissals broke.
Ivan Rybkin, a graduating pre-med honor student at LSU, created the page “I am thankful to Dr. G. Bradley for...” as a tribute to his professor, mentor and friend. Rybkin first met Dr. Bradley in General Biology as a freshman at La Sierra University. Being an international student from Russia, learning science in English did not come easily. Rbykin found Dr. Bradley welcoming and more than accommodating.
“Once in a while I would drop by his office to clarify a few things and, to my great amazement, he always made me feel welcome and made sure that I knew that there were no stupid questions." Bradley’s openness came as a surprise to Rybkin.
“His attitude was new to me because there is a strong sense of segregation between students and teachers in Russian educational institutions. After a while I became so fond of him that I would stop by his office just to have a conversation. I loved talking to him about science, Russian-American politics and, most importantly, faith.”
Rybkin recounts unnumbered hours with Bradley in the classroom, at Bradley’s home, and later, in the office trying to make peace with the idea of a medical career.
“I had doubts about going into the medical field and considered other healthcare options. It was he who helped me realize that medicine was my true calling.”
“He truly took me under his mighty wing and cared for me like he would for his own children. No matter how busy Dr. Bradley's schedule was, he always had the time to listen to me, respected my opinion and encouraged me to press on.
“So, here I am--a matriculated pre-med, graduating with magna cum laude (and a bunch of colorful cords) from my first Christian institution, being a part of the Honors program and a proud member of La Sierra University.”
Rybkin feels Bradley deserves to be remembered as one of La Sierra’s greatest professors.
“He is truly a great geneticist, biologist, mathematician (you should see him multiply decimals in his head! Oh, and he took calculus...for fun!), statistician, mentor and friend.”
Dr. Bradley's resignation changes nothing for me,” Rybkin says. “I still regard him as my mentor and role model. Nothing will change the tremendous positive impact that Dr. Bradley had on my life! This is why I started this Facebook page. I wanted to offer him a much needed support - something that he has been doing for me for the past four years. It was the least I could do.”
Rybkin’s Facebook tribute to Dr. Bradley has grown quickly with nearly three hundred members and hundreds of comments of support and thanks. The following are samples of the many appreciative remarks.
As a retired professor of education at LSU who has seen (and evaluated) many teachers and their teaching styles, I thank you for your excellence in teaching and your dedication to always helping students. What a gift! -Janet Mallery
If there were a "Mount Rushmore" of La Sierra teachers carved into the very face of two-bit, the only argument would be over positions two, three, and four. Many wonderful teachers have participated in nurturing student vision over the decades; I warrant that NONE have enjoyed impact equal to what Dr. Gary Bradley inspired in those lucky enough to know him. Gary, thank you for serving as teacher and later as colleague, and always as mentor and friend. -Andrew Howe
Dr.Bradley has been a great teacher, parent, and friend. I enjoyed talking to him before leaving to my mission trip and enjoyed reading all his encouraging messages during my mission trip. He's one of those teachers that a person can hardly forget! -Germeen Yousry
Gary was my teacher. Gary was my colleague. Gary is my friend. I've seen how powerfully he's touched so many people's lives over so many years--as an effective educator and advocate of inclusion, tolerance, and truth. He's made a profound difference in the collective life of La Sierra University and I pray that his contributions to La Sierra's story will be able to continue. -Gary Chartier
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3219