May 27, 2010

The End of the World, More or Less (More)

The letter we just got from Janie, Director of the LGBT Center, and Surrogate Mother to Us all:

Hello, Everyone!

I hope the beginning of your summer is going well wherever you have landed. We have students all over the world and also a sizeable group here at Duke for the summer. I am writing with some news that makes me both happy and sad.

I'll start with happy. Chris Purcell has accepted a position at the Berklee
College of Music as the Coordinator for Peer Advising. His new duties will include coordinating their Peer Advising Program (hiring, training, and supervising 85 peer advisors), doing outreach to first year students at risk, and collaborating in the delivery of their new student orientation program. His last day in the office at Duke will be June 18, 2010. I am happy because Chris is happy especially to be closer to his mom and, of course, for a promotion and increase in pay! I told the reference person who called me that I did not want to talk with her, and she should go away! She did not listen to me, however. This same news makes me sad because we are losing a great member of our team who has brought so much light to so many of you. I know you will want to join me in wishing Chris well and much happiness. We will be hosting a good-bye reception for Chris here at the Center on Thursday, June 17th from 3:00-5:00 pm, and I hope many of you will be able to attend. For all of you who are at some distance, I know Chris will want to hear from you as well.

I am moving forward to request permission to retain the position so that a search process may be started as soon as possible. If the request is approved, there will be student reps on the committee, and I hope many of you in the area will participate in the interviews and offer your feedback. I will keep you posted throughout the summer as we make progress. I also encourage any of you who have questions or ideas to e-mail me at While I am sad for the loss of Chris, as this door closes another one will open with new wonderful possibilities!

Stay tuned for details about our celebration of Chris. We want to make sure he leaves feeling the love!

My best,

* * *

I understand Janie's attempt at framing this as an OK thing. Chris is The Best and has consistently played an infinitely important role in all of our lives, so it is logical that we would want Him to be happy and have money. I'm sure that there are other qualified people out there (I am not sure there are other qualified people out there), and we have Chris' cell number, anyway. At the same time, Justin Clapp better be prepared because his is now our Resident Male That We Trust and Approach With Dire and/or Inappropriate Situations.

So yeah, I'm totally not going to overreact and make this into something hugely negative. But just know that I am WITHDRAWING FROM DUKE BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO GO THERE ANYMORE. THERE IS NO LIFE AFTER CHRIS PURCELL, PEOPLE.

Let's make this The Longest Comment Thread on how much we are in love with Chris. It should not only feature words (in caps lock) but also links to appropriate videos and images. I'll start.

In tribute:


  1. I cried.

    Now I'm in numb shock. I'm glad I was told in person though (so nee-ner nee-ner to all of you who left).

    So sad.

  2. We'll miss you, Chris! Lots of love!

  3. Edwin Alan ColemanMay 27, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    It's this part of life I just won't ever understand; why people must come and go; why all good things must come to an end; and why as soon as you get used to something, things must change.

    It might be easy for some people to just accept these facts and respond with "its so you can grow" or "so that you appreciate the good times more." All of that I know and accept to be true, but right now I can't help feeling as though I just lost a best friend, a mentor, a lifesaver, and a light in my life. As dramatic as it may sound, its true, and that's how I feel.

    Now, after the initial shock, I feel torn between wanting to be super happy for Chris and wanting to cry my heart out in hopes that it will be enough to make him stay. I know that we are suppose to suck it up and be the former, but right now I can't. I can't because when I think about how far I've come on my journey of self that started with Chris's personal story at CG, when I think about how Chris has been there for me every step of the way since then, when I think about the guidance and advice he has given me, and when I think about how much of an inspiration he has been to me, I can't help doing and feeling the latter instead.

    This isn't just about me. What is most remarkable about this man is that he has been all of that for me and probably 50 other students. My gratitude and how lucky I feel to have been blessed by such a person in my life goes without stating. But right now, I'm not going to pretend that I'm happy. Because I'm not. When the tears have dried, then I'll be happy. When that will be, I am unsure of, but until then I can't fake it.

    with Love,

  4. Words kinda fail me right now. So, I'm going to let these do the talking for me:

    I kinda had to tell myself this one:

    And of course, a little GaGa to top it off:

    So yeah. I think that pretty much sums up my feelings right now.

    Gonna miss you so much Chris :( <3

  5. Chris! I will MISS you. You're really awesome...and I think it says a lot that I can just meet you this spring and know that I'm going to miss you so much. I have a lot of faith in the awesome work that you'll continue to do wherever you are. =) But I'm already looking forward to when you come back and visit. :D

  6. Wow, Chris! I'm really going to miss you. You were always so friendly, welcoming, and kind. But I knew that you were also a firm leader and mentor. Thank you for everything and good luck at Berklee!

  7. I only knew you a little bit, but holy shit you were my favorite part of the center.... thanks for makin it so awesome chris :)

  8. I'm posting again because this is Chris' last week and I'm completely devastated.

    I'm going to take pictures of his empty, depressing office so that all of those who aren't here will have to suffer with us who ARE here.

    I'm kind of fearful of the person who has to take his place. I might rather not have anyone.


    hahahahahahahahahaha ur a sad, sad person.