Students give thanks to retired adviser


(Originally written and published in 9/2016)

On Dec. 15, 1947, a little boy was born in the small town of Parma, Ohio.

He grew to share his passion for writing and zest for life at Cleveland State University, the University of Toledo and Kent State University.

In 1987, he became the faculty adviser of a commendable yet frail newspaper, The Guilfordian. This boy, now a man, was Jeff Jeske.

“I can’t really imagine The Guilfordian without Jeff,” said former Guilfordian Social Justice Editor Joshua Ballard ‘13. “Even prior to my enrollment at Guilford it seems like Jeff was always strengthening and curating The Guilfordian into the paper we see today.”

With nurturing words and constructive feedback, Jeff touched the heart of every student under his guidance.

“I met Jeff the very first day of my first year at Guilford when I had Journalism,” said former Guilfordian Editor-in-Chief Allison DeBusk ‘16. “Without that class, I probably wouldn’t have been motivated to stay at Guilford longer than a year.

“I think I’m just lucky to know him and have learned from him.”

As a role model and friend, Jeske empowered students to change the world through their words.

“Jeff helped us realize that even as students, we can make a significant impact in our college community,” said senior and former Guilfordian Video Editor Carson Risser. “With Jeff steering the ship that is The Guilfordian, I think all of us who work for the newspaper have felt that we are doing something important.”

Students loved Jeff for his character and big heart. He worked at Guilford for over three decades.

“I think Jeff feels things more deeply than most people I’ve interacted with,” said former Guilfordian staff writer Eric Ginsburg ‘10. “It’s clear that he’s always truly listening to you and concerned with what you’re saying as well as the wellbeing of everyone around him.

“He’s almost monastic in his dedication to his students, friends and family.”

His dedication also created many strong connections with those in leadership roles at The Guilfordian.

“Every Editor-in-Chief that worked with Jeff had a different relationship with him,” said former Editor-in-Chief Justyn Melrose ‘15. “Back then, what I really needed was to feel trusted. It was Jeff’s support that really gave me the confidence to believe that not only was I cut out to maintain the paper, but also to make calls that would affect the paper’s future.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pay him back for his support.” Jeske was also the source of inspiration for many aspiring journalists.

“God, Jeff is why I’m a journalist today,” said Ginsburg. “He’s really the one who first trained me, who helped me land my first gig, who cheered me on and offered advice.” Students appreciate and admire Jeff’s ingenuity and inventiveness.

“Jeff was singlehandedly the most influential person for me at Guilford College,” said former Guilfordian senior writer James Sharpe ‘16. “I could always count on Jeff to propel me in the right direction and with a buoyant smile on his face.”

Although students were responsible for the newspaper, Jeff was always ready to jump in when needed.

“Through spending long hours in meetings with us, reviewing multiple drafts of writing and standing up for the paper more times than we were probably aware of, he was an unwavering foundation for members to lean on,” said former Guilfordian Social Justice and Diversity Coordinator Alexandra Haridopolos ‘15.

Jeske went beyond the capacity of a professor to being a catalyst for accomplishing goals.

“Being a part of The Guilfordian changed my life,” said former Guilfordian News Editor Valeria Sosa ‘15.

“It changed the way I viewed the world.It changed how I interact with others and how I understand language and writing.”

Due to his retirement from his advising position, Jeske leaves The Guilfordian with many awards, warm memories and motivation for what is to come.

Those who had the experience of having Jeske as their professor, adviser or simply their friend remain thankful for all he has done. But they will also miss his tantalizing prose and cheerful spirit.

“Without his class and influence, the way I work and approach challenges would be incredibly different than it is today,” said former Guilfordian Features Editor Aubrey King ‘16. “I owe him an immense debt of gratitude.”

For some students, words do not suffice.

“I don’t know how … to thank him for everything …, but maybe it is impossible to thank someone who’s completely changed your life for the better,” said Anthony Harrison ‘14.

“Jeff was one of my greatest mentors, and that’s something you can’t fully capture or describe, no matter how good you are with words.”

The 2016-2017 editorial board sends its love and best wishes to a great leader, mentor and family member. We thank you for all your 29 years of work, advice and laughter. You are leaving us with a “tough tarantula”.

“(Jeff) embodies the best parts of Guilford,” said Haridopolos.

“He is a Guilford Gem, if you will.”

Editor’s note: We have updated the article to reflect that Jeff Jeske did not retire from the English department at Guilford, only from his adviser position at the Guilfordian.