By Sheila Cockey
Dashing, Amusing, Vivid, Inspiring, Dignified, Teacher, Guru, Insightful, Ebullient, SPAIN!
All descriptors of the one and only David T. Gies, these words do not begin to touch the man who has done so much with the language and culture of Spain, and for those who dedicate their lives to the study of all things related. His is human in the best sense of the word, caring about others, concerned for the good benefit of all, and a consummate friend. His sense of humor is obvious, even when he is serious.
Once our paths crossed, my path changed and became enriched. Fired by his example, I yearned for opportunities to improve my skills and knowledge, to grow beyond what I needed for my classroom. His work with the Center for the Liberal Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities provided me with opportunities to stretch and grow. Even though some of those projects are now over, I continue to be energized by his example and his enthusiasm.
Not one to be slowed down by something new, he embraced the possibilities of the world wide web and I will never forget his joy as he demonstrated the magic of his first iPhone. Incorporating technologies into his already rich and varied teaching, he keeps pace with changes and quickly adopts them. All of this enthusiasm came together to create ¡Cine con clase!, where he spearheaded the NEA project that produced a website of short clips of Spanish films for the free use of classroom teachers, supported by lesson plans and background information.
Exacting and challenging in the best sense of the words, those around him strive to be and do the best. He inspires true research, curiosity, and investigation, all with a dash of joy, excitement, and thrill at the result. Each of us who has had the honor to work and study with him have all reached far beyond where any of us expected.
And, I must not forget the really fun and playful side of David! He introduced me to the good wines, jamón, and cheeses of Spain, the joys of a croqueta, and the paradores of Spain. Sharing travel stories with him is a pleasure. There is always a lot of laughter that goes along with the serious stuff.
David, my sincerest appreciation for the work and the life you have dedicated to all of us. Godspeed as you move to a new chapter. Thank you for welcoming me to part of your life. I hope you have many trips planned for you and Janna and the grandkids!