I remember the excitement of walking to your classes during my time at Zayed University like yesterday. You were nothing like the other professors, you walked taller, laughed louder and taught us everything about media laws and journalism with no censorship.
Dr. Matt J Duffy, you will never be forgotten.
You taught me a lot.
You planted a seed of knowledge within me that is continuously growing and I often find myself going back to the roots of everything I learned about journalism and writing from you.
I, like many of your students feel lucky and grateful to have been under your guidance one day.
I will always be your student.
I knew so little about journalism before your classes. In fact, you were the reason I grew a passion for this field. You taught me the basics and continued to build on that. You pushed me to take part in many opportunities reminding me that grades didn’t really matter, experience does. So I enrolled in many programs, wrote more, tweeted more, and read more. You taught me to give voice to the voiceless, tell the truth and always, always ask questions. You taught me what integrity meant and to always give credit where it’s due. Many times, you read to us articles written by journalists from around the world on the UAE, you saw us roll our eyes, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not and told us that this is why the UAE needs Emirati journalists, to tell the other side of the story.
You praised me enough for me to save every email and tweet with encouraging words from you. Many of the assignments I wrote for your classes I kept, not because I ever got an A but because I cherished the amount of knowledge, practice and lessons I gained from them, from you.
You inspired me. You challenged my thoughts. You educated me. You were everything a teacher should be.
Rest in peace Sir.
Even after he left the UAE, Dr.Matt always replied to my emails. When I told him I was applying for a MA degree in the UK, he said “WOW” — “You’ll read some really good stuff” and agreed to write me a reference letter too. I used many of his published articles and books in my assignments during that year. I did read some really good stuff, he was right.
I say this often when talking about journalism, that one day, if I found myself on this career path again and found success, I would owe it to two people, Matt J Duffy and David W Bulla. Their teachings are imbedded within the principles of what I believe to be is good journalism.
In his last message to me,
Dr.Matt wrote “Surely our paths will cross again,”
I will never forget this man.
P.s If you were a former student of his, please leave a comment with a memory of Dr. Matt. I am sure it will bring comfort to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.