The editor’s desk—Farewell, Phil

Phil Richard

Hesston College Director of Communications Phil Richard passed away Sunday, June 7, after a three-year battle with cancer.

From his first weeks at Hesston College he was a mentor to me, coaching me to do what I knew was right, helping me find words to communicate hard, sometimes painful information if it needed to be said. He modeled honesty and integrity.

We walked together through times that challenged each of us in different ways. In his journey he showed me how to be vulnerable, how to accept assistance gracefully and to keep putting forth as much effort as he could. Phil’s diminished lung capacity made the walk from the parking lot to Alliman Center a marathon. But he fought on, coming to the office as recently as two weeks before his death. He planned this Centennial issue of Hesston College Today and had much of it in place. He also prepared a communication plan for the coming Centennial—stories and news to release, events to advertise, deadlines…

He was an excellent example of one who believed in and was guided by the power of prayer. He didn’t let a staff meeting pass without asking Nancy, our designer on staff, and me to share our burdens and pray for each other and I know that his prayers on my behalf didn’t end when the meeting ended.

Phil found joy in friends and family, a well-turned phrase or a pun, his ever-growing sports card collection. He was the voice of the Larks when HC started web casting home basketball games and he led the effort to transform this magazine to the beautiful publication you hold today.

I missed my opportunity to tell Phil how wonderful a supervisor he was, to thank him for his support and kindness, his generosity. Now I just miss him, as Hesston College misses him, in many, many ways.