Students and faculty gathered Thursday to say goodbye to longtime English professor George Jantzen.
Jantzen worked at DSU for over 21 years as an associate professor of English. He taught a variety of English and creative writing classes. In the last two years he also joined the University Faculty Review Committee.
Jantzen died by suicide on July 21 and per request of the family, there was no funeral. The memorial was put on by DSU’s English department.
The memorial lasted from 3-5 p.m. They served light snacks and had memory sharing from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Both faculty and students, current and former, took turns going up to the podium to talk about their favorite memories of Jantzen.
Former student Bronson Beatty, who now teaches at DSU as an adjunct, said: “Whether it was his passion project or whether it was just class 17 [beginning English], he would always give his students everything they deserved…He cared about us on an individual note and not just on a class-wide level. He believed in me, and he believed in his students.”
Leslie Twitchell, a senior English major from Washington, said Jantzen was always willing to take time to help students
“He was always willing to take time and to help us with whatever,” said Leslie Twitchell, a senior English major from Washington. “He was not intimidating after you got to know him…You expect him to be stuffy, but he isn’t…I miss him a lot.”
After sharing memories people began to collect around tables and continued talking about Jantzen in smaller groups.
Jim Haendiges, an associate professor of English, said although he didn’t know Jantzen well, it was clear he was a very kind man who cared about his students.
Haendiges said, “It’s one of those unique circumstances [in] which I think that his students really understood him better than [faculty members].”
Dean of Humanities Richard Featherstone, who served on the University Faculty Review Committee with Jantzen, had only nice things to say about the former professor.
“He was a person who was willing to be helpful, but he was also thoughtful,” Featherstone said. “He wasn’t one to just say, ‘Oh, just tell me what to do.’ He would say, ‘Oh, how can I help?’”
For students who were unable to attend but would still like to share fond memories or show their support to the family, they can visit serenitystg.com to post a message about Jantzen or send flowers.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. You can also visit the Health and Counseling Center located at 1037 E. 100 S.