Saturday, August 31, 2013

Peter Markie's Purple Chalk

Opened the Fall edition of my Mizzou alumni magazine to the happy news that my old mentor and undergrad Philosophy Club sponsor Peter Markie has been honored with the coveted Purple Chalk Award. Congrats, Peter! (You guys still have a chalkboard? They carted our last one away this summer. But Purple Dry Erase Marker Award just doesn't have the same ring.) 

Wish we could meet up at Michael's Pub (the one we got booted from when one of us tried to prove himself "free" by doing something stupid with a beer mug) to celebrate. (Alas, it's long since gone to the dozer and reconstruction.)
As do all talented educators, Markie has a knack for reducing monumental concepts into digestible pieces. It’s one of the skills that earned him a Purple Chalk Award for outstanding teaching from the College of Arts and Science in March. In his 37th year at Mizzou, Markie has served as interim assistant provost, vice provost for undergraduate studies and philosophy department chair. But teaching students is what fuels his fire. "It’s not just grabbing their attention, but holding it and doing something with it,” Markie says. “There are days when you have people sucked into a philosophical problem, and their interest generates a back-and-forth discussion. That’s when I think I’ll do this forever. They’ll have to have six or eight guys come in with a coffin, say, ‘Markie, you’re done,’ drop me in it and carry me out.
I think Peter's probably had that experience a few times more than me, through the years (the back-and-forth experience, not the drop-and-carry), but I know just what he means. I feel the same way. Long may we rave.

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