My Mark Hansell story began with the 1a class of my first day at Carleton. We were co-teaching Chinese 101 for the first time, so I observed Mark’s class on Mondays.
I could not believe what I saw.
Mark brought a bunch of toys into the classroom, and greeted each student with a handshake, along with a saying “ni hao” (hello). Most students in 101 had no prior knowledge of Chinese, so they did not know what he really meant. Yet, they quickly figured out and were able to repeat the phrase and greet each other. Then, Mark crawled like a baby, trying to grab toys on the floor, to demonstrate the phrase “wo yao” (I want). Without uttering a single word in English, students already learned four Chinese words within the first five minutes of the class.
It was eye opening.
In the years that followed, I have seen Mark “perform” various roles, in and outside of class, ranging from a frightened skunk to musicians to shy students. I have been always struck by his keen observation on a wide variety of matters, strong ability to imitate, and good senses of humor. I think he may very well be the most interesting man in the world.
I will miss so much the time I spent with Mark over the past six years. Mark has been a great mentor and colleague who never hesitates to extend support to me whenever needed. His dedication to work, integrity, and generosity of spirit are the most valuable asset to all of us.