“Red Burns changed my life.”
Those words are popping up frequently on Twitter, Facebook, and all over the web today. Red passed away yesterday, leaving a great big hole in the hearts of those of us who were lucky enough to learn from her.
Red didn’t mince words. She knew how to make you see what you needed to see in yourself. We sometimes called her the Great Equalizer, because if you were feeling down, she’d be your greatest champion, and if you were high on your own success, she’d cut you down to earth fast. Mostly what she did well was to make you believe in yourself, and to convince you that you not only could change your world, but that you had a responsibility to do so. For her, I think the technology focus of ITP was just a vehicle to get her students to see their own strengths, and to realize what they care about in the larger world.
Red gave me a professional home along with a wonderful group of colleagues and helped me to realize my abilities and my values. Hopefully all of us who learned from her can carry on this legacy, and help others realize the same. Everything else we do is just wires and blinky lights.