OLIVER: Paying tribute to a friend and a mentor

When I arrived at college I didn’t think I needed to learn anything else. At the young age of 18, I was done learning. I was ready to get started with the “real world.”

I sat in my dorm, did a whole lot of nothing and basically floated through freshman year. One day, one of my professors took me into his office, and basically told me to get off of my butt and start doing what I came here for. It changed my life. I stopped slacking and started writing. Now I’m here. 

People come into your lives to change them. One person in particular changed a lot of lives on campus.

The Rev. John E. Naus, S.J. passed away Sunday night, and it almost seems like he touched each one of our lives.

How do you honor someone who has been such an integral part of so many people’s Marquette experience, and how do you explain how he became such an inspiration to the student body?

Sunday night when I was looking through Twitter and Facebook, I was amazed at the impact one man had on all of my friends’ lives.

Each one of them had a Father Naus story. They had lessons about what he taught and showed them and stories about how he changed their lives.

Father Naus was a truly unbelievable human being.

Ever since we were little, we went through history class learning about all these incredible people – Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks. But we never hear about the people like Father Naus.

We don’t hear about the people who talk to you when you’re sad, the people that try to change the life of everyone they meet, the people like Father Naus.

He helped change my life.

When I came here freshman year, I was a bit of a loner. I had my friends and I liked to hang out with them, but I didn’t know a lot of people in my major until the second semester.

One day I was in the AMU when Father Naus rolled by. I didn’t know who he was. I was sitting in the chairs by the bank worrying needlessly about an upcoming test I had when he came up to me and started a conversation.

We just sat there and talked for a few minutes and before he left, he told me to not worry.

Granted, I was still worried when I got back to studying, but I also knew that everything would turn out OK in the end.

People come into our lives to make a difference. I never used to think like that, but now that I’ve seen the impact one person can have I’ve changed my mind.

The biggest thing college has taught me is that you’ll never know how something like simply saying, “hello,” can change somebody’s life.

Everyone has heard a Father Naus story, because a lot of people were lucky enough to get to know him. He took the Marquette community, said, “hello,” and became friends with each one of us.

Rest in peace, Father Naus. You are a friend to many of us and an inspiration to all. Marquette will not be the same without you. Above all else: Father Naus, don’t worry, it’ll all be OK.