Remembering Dr. Robert Terrell


By Jessica Irrera, CONTRIBUTOR
Those who leave this world are never truly gone, as they live on through the memories we shared with them. They may not be physically around any longer, but their impact will always remain.
Students, staff, and the Communication Department at California State University, East Bay are mourning the unfortunate loss of long-time professor Dr. Robert Terrell, but his memory continues on through the students and fellow faculty members that worked closely with Terrell.
Terrell worked as a professor of Communication and as a student advisor from 1991 to 2014. He inspired students to think outside of general social constructs and pushed them to be strong and active journalists.
Natalia Aldana, former Editor in Chief of The Pioneer newspaper and student of Robert Terrell claims that she still carries the lessons he taught her and that his influence helped her become the journalist she is today.
“We had a much more intimate relationship than a regular transactional relationship like most professors have with their students. We could always be funny and raw,” Aldana said. “He was my first introduction to journalism. Some of the articles I wrote [in his class] I still treasure because he trained me.”
One of Terrell’s most influential works during his time at CSUEB focused on poverty in America back in 2006. He created a photography piece that held photos of people experiencing homelessness and poverty in the Bay Area, which mirrored much of his work that highlighted poverty around the world. He extended this work to students at CSUEB because he recognized that it would resonate with our diverse student body and because he wanted to relay the message that poverty does not only affect those on the streets, according to the East Bay Times.
Grant Kien, a current professor of Communication and friend of Terrell, felt that his presence helped him become acclimated with life on campus and in their department.
“We worked really well together. He acted as a mentor for me, especially in navigating this institution. He is one of the few people that I had some kind of relationship with outside of the university, so we’d occasionally have lunch or get coffee,” Kien said. “I was really shocked and moved by the loss of him, he was a big figure. His absence was felt immediately after he left the department, and his absence from this world is deeply felt by those who knew him.”
These are just two of the many people who have been impacted by Terrell, and his influence has continued through his former students and fellow staff members.