I believe too much in invincibility, but death comes anyway. Sometimes it is inescapable. Sometimes it is unexpected. Always it hurts.
His name was Rodney.
It hurts to see a man so full of love taken away. A man who had impacted my alma mater for three and a half decades, resolving conflict, bringing people together, listening to everyone who came into his office, establishing a space for us students in the Office of Multicultural Development (OMD), caring for students and especially those of color.
He was only in his fifties, but cancer doesn’t care.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought my future children might know and be blessed by him, this man who so profoundly shaped my life through the OMD. The classes and generations to come, what will they do without him to guide and support and influence and stand up for them?
Rodney Sisco, husband, father, mentor.
He was a gentle man, well over six and a half feet with a huge heart to match. He gave great hugs, and despite his busy schedule, he worked to create times to meet with me in his office when I asked. He had an open jar of candy on his center table and photos of his two sons and his wife covering his desk along with a few geeky trinkets. He was warm and welcoming. He was someone we could trust.
He was a gentle man.
Rodney Sisco, Director of the Office of Multicultural Development.
His skill set was expansive. He was one of a handful of people on campus certified in conflict resolution. He directed the OMD from a small corner office to the central space it is now and worked for the benefit of students, showing what a black man can achieve even at a PWI. He was intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, engaging, patient, gracious, and visionary. We needed him.
He mediated for the whole campus, interacted with most students of color who attended Wheaton College (IL), and spoke life into all the individuals he met. Over the years, he must have impacted many thousands of people. I know I would not be the woman I am today without his influence.
In the few days since Rodney has passed on to be with The Lord (he died on 30 December 2018), I have seen testimony upon testimony about his life and the positive impacts he left. We will remember him well. I pray his legacy will encourage thousands more to come.
To those of you who would like to be taught by him even in his passing and learn more about his life, here are three of the chapels at which he spoke:
- this one from 2015 titled “Who is My Neighbor? Learning through Humility”
- another from 2014 called “Our Identity: We Are All That’s Right in a World Gone Very Wrong” during Black History Month
- and another one on diversity at Wheaton in 2012, before my time there, titled “In the Light: Martin Luther King and the Call of the Christ-Centered Community.”