A very important and beloved person in my life died in her sleep yesterday. Dr. Vanda Rideout was:

  • a sharp elbow in my ribs to wake me up during film class in our undergrad;
  • a teacher who made sociology and communications theories and methods interesting — and that’s not as easy as you might think ;-);
  • a motivator who never resorted to the stick and could always point out the path, no matter how dim the light at the end of the tunnel;
  • an adviser who helped me navigate the often murky waters of academic bureaucracy and other mysteries;
  • a well-informed conversationalist with deep analysis, wonderful stories and a ready sense of humour;
  • the mentor who guided and trained me, and helped me find my direction by instilling me with a passion for research;
  • a generous host who frequently welcomed me to the hospitable home she shared with her husband Andy Reddick and the dogs;
  • a coach who always believed in my work and abilities, especially when I could not;
  • a lover and avid supporter of arts and culture;
  • a boss who kept the wolves from my door and taught me what it was like to be respected as a peer;
  • a guide who kept me “between the ditches” while I was working on my thesis;
  • a passionate advocate for graduate students, labour fairness, social equality, women’s rights and a number of other causes;
  • a wise woman who had a core of kindness.
And through it all, my friend. There’s a big hole in my heart, but fair dues: I am so much better for having known her.
We can honour her memory by donating blood or with financial gifts to the Canadian Cancer Society.