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Last semester, my best friend Maria talked me into taking an American Literature course with her so we’d have more classes together. It was in that class that I had the privilege of meeting and learning from Dr. James Coleman, who taught at Carolina for almost thirty years. Yesterday, I found out that Dr. Coleman passed away a few weeks ago, and I’m honestly heartbroken. I had a really hard time last semester. I was constantly anxious, felt directionless, insecure, and unhealthy. Dr. Coleman’s class was a safe space, where I could either show up and just listen or show up and eagerly participate in earnest discussions about literature. But it was never just a literature class: we spoke deeply about religion, race, culture, and how some things were different in today’s world and some things would never change. He was hilariously funny—he once told us he ran a seven-minute mile and then suddenly pulled back his sleeve and flexed! It was after that moment that Maria and I decided we loved him and started going to his office before class (if I got there early enough) to just chat with him. The first time we visited, I noticed that he had several books on the shelf with his name on them.I was so impressed—I’m a transfer student from a community college, so learning from published authors is always a treat. We talked to him about what he was working on now and asked about his kids and hobbies. When we sat down for class that day, he shuffled through the book and then said, “Laura, Maria, look on page 3751,” with a big smile. When we found the page, his name was at the top. He wrote the introduction to the poem we were going to discuss, and he knew we’d get a kick out of seeing his name in the book. He was first and foremost one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Dr. Coleman could feel things at the same time he was thinking them through—something I’ve always struggled with. He was honest, kind, humble, impactful. He loved William Carlos Williams and would repeat “so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens” so often that Maria and I have it memorized for the rest of our lives, and I can hear his voice so clearly when I think of it. He wasn’t bothered when I brought Bug to class (in fact, he called her a “cute little doggy”), and he graded my work far, far more graciously than I deserved. Last month I picked up a postcard of “The Girl on the Swing” for him at the Wallace Collection in London, because last semester he had printed out photos of it to show us when we read William Carlos Williams’s “Portrait of a Lady.” I wish I had sent it to him sooner, because now I can’t. I’m so honored to have been in one of his classes at Carolina and so sad to think I won’t see him around Greenlaw when I return to Carolina next semester. He was a remarkable professor and person and I am changed for knowing him.