YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Wednesday afternoon at Youngstown State, a memorial service was held for Dr. Michael Jerryson, a professor who died earlier this summer. He joined the YSU faculty in 2013. His time at YSU was short, but his impact was significant.
“He was not afraid to confront the authorities, the administration, you all know about that,” said Mark Juergensmeyer.
That was how Eulogist Mark Juergensmeyer Wednesday afternoon introduced Dr. Michael Jerryson to the 40 people at his memorial service.
Jerryson was a YSU Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies who died July 9 after a three-year battle with ALS.
“Michael was a wonderful co-conspirator on campus, always pushing all of us to do the right thing, to push us to take these dangerous, risky steps to make campus better,” said Jacob Labendz, Professor of Jewish Studies.
Dr. Alan Tomhave told how Jerryson called for a no-confidence vote against the provost, despite Jerryson being a non-tenured professor — but how he also was known for his homemade apple brandy.
“And speaking of that brandy that Michael made, I have a bottle in my refrigerator at home that I just refuse to touch because I know, when that’s gone, there’s no more,” said Linda Glover, former YSU employee.
Professionally, Jerryson was one of the world’s foremost experts in Buddhism. Associate Political Science Professor Alan Fuller told how.
“At one point in time, we hated each other,” Fuller said.
And how Jerryson suggested they put on civility forums.
“To show students how we can disagree respectively with each other and still try to find common ground,” Fuller said.
When Jerryson died, he and Fuller were friends.
A cello was also part of the ceremony as were the students.
“Thank you, Dr. Jerryson for all you did for us students here at YSU. So many of us owe you an unrepayable debt. We will all miss you,” said Emily Dawes, a student.
“I really don’t think YSU truly appreciated just how extraodinarily fortunate they were to have someone of his caliber and his intellect,” said Dr. Dian Parlardy, YSU Professor of English and World Languages.
She also said that Jerryson didn’t have a cell phone — hard to believe in these days — but she said he was still incredibly present.