Friends, family, and colleagues of David G. McGuirk remember the professor of English literature and composition as a man who emitted a warm presence wherever he went and had a clear ability to bring out the best in others.
“What I really valued about my friendship with him is that he was one of the most gentle, loving people I knew at the college. He brought that with him everyday at work,” said Alejandro Salinas, a colleague in McGuirk’s department. “He’s just a very loving person and that kind of expressed itself in every way.”
For nearly ten years, McGuirk committed his life to working for Miami Dade College until he encountered a complication with the flu and passed away earlier this month on March 6.
He worked as an Associate Professor of English and Sociology at the InterAmerican Campus’ Department of Communication, Arts and Philosophy for three years, and previously worked at Kendall Campus. At both campuses he was heavily engaged in extracurricular activities as well.
“He’s the ultimate professional; hardworking, productive, his classes filled almost overnight,” said Michaela Tomova, Chairperson of the Department of Communication, Arts and Philosophy at the InterAmerican Campus. “The amount of work he could accomplish in a very short period of time, that was really an amazing quality”
McGuirk was a profound proponent of the MDC Ten Learning Outcomes that were implemented back in 2007 and always sought to introduce multiple disciplines or perspectives in his work inside or outside of the classroom. He brought his diverse academic background in sociology, linguistics, and English to this effort.
“He was great to work with because he was creative and insightful and really liked teaching and students,” said Patrick Nellis, College Training and Development District Director, who collaborated with McGuirk on several projects related to Learning Outcomes.
His commitment to education was also seen in his efforts with the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy (iCED). In 2012 he was appointed iCED Faculty Liaison at the InterAmerican Campus, where he worked with campus faculty on developing curriculum to address civic engagement and democracy learning.
He had a particular concern for environmental sustainability. That was reflected in his work with the Earth Ethics Institute. Last year he organized Earth Day at the InterAmerican Campus and chaired the Green Team Committee. He assisted faculty and staff develop co-curricular learning opportunities for students in sustainability and Earth Literacy. The Green Team facilitates campus dialogues on maintaining a ‘green’ campus environment.
The news of McGuirk’s passing shocked and saddened many. The week after, a grief counselor visited McGuirk’s department to offer advice and give faculty an opportunity to reflect and discuss.
“Our department is like a family because it is small,” said Irene Canel-Peterson, an InterAmerican Campus speech and public relations professor. “It has left a hole in so many of us.”
Besides his work at the college, McGuirk enjoyed photography; studied French, German and Old English language and literature; and loved his two dachshunds.
“This great colleague and friend should know that he has made us all proud,” read North Campus biology professor Sandra Schultz on the day of McGuirk’s viewing from a eulogy that was prepared by her and Isabel Rodriguez-Dehmer, College Prep faculty at the North Campus. “The world is most definitely a better place because of Dr. David McGuirk.”