A Small Part of a Big Heart-Remembering Dr. Keating

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A Small Part of a Big Heart-Remembering Dr. Keating

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By Daniel McGinley

Many curious things live in the halls at Northeast Community College, yet on the second story of the Agriculture and Allied Health Building, in the east wing, there is a simple plaque dedicated to one extraordinary man. Dr. Patrick Keating, a beloved English and Art instructor, world traveler, and mentor, has a little piece of his heart on display.Although well preserved in photographs and paintings, these are only a small portion of who Keating was. Some of his writing can still be located in the Northeast Community College archives, and his friends and colleagues carry him on in their lives, and their work.

“He was always coming up with these crazy ideas, and people would just roll their eyes and say, ‘Oh, Pat!” Northeast Art Instructor Mike Lynch recalled in a recent interview. “They usually didn’t come true, but some did- to which he always said ‘I told you so,’ as if it happened all the time.”

Keating started as an English instructor at Northeast Community College teaching creative writing, composition, American literature, and speech, and occasionally submitted reviews of his travels to The Viewpoint, and The Norfolk Daily News. In early 1970, Keating was asked to teach an art class, and he took initiative and enrolled in summer classes in Minnesota to learn more about what he would be teaching. Keating fell in love with art. When he returned to teaching English, he continued to paint, and snap photographs of his travels.

A well rounded fan of the Humanities overall, Keating also enjoyed participating in local Theatre, trying new foods, and traveling every chance he could. “Because he traveled so much, and knew I’d be jealous, Pat would always come into my room after he booked his tickets and say ‘Guess what I just did?’ Then he would show me his tickets to Greece, or Asia, or somewhere.” Pam Saalfeld, the Associate Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, quipped in an earlier interview. Lynch says Keating was on the road to somewhere new every chance he could get and “Pat even took a new way to school every day. He was always trying to view things from every angle.”

Patrick Keating passed away in 2002 at the end of the school year. His legacy lives on in his writing, and in his art. He will forever be kept as an endearing part in the hearts of friends and colleagues.

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