History marches on: an ode to Professor Keenan

Come spring, the University of Winnipeg will bid farewell to yet another veteran professor. After 36 years of teaching, professor Brian Keenan will give his last lecture as a representative of the U of W. Dr. Keenan, who aptly holds the position of student/major advisor for the philosophy department, maintains an interesting and authentic rapport with his students. Jesting and at times provocative, Keenan is recognized for his unique manner of eliciting responses from his students and his willingness to extend discussions beyond the classroom.

Despite the pressures of modernity, and with it, the technological advancements, Keenan has managed to inject his lectures with entertaining lessons using eccentric mannerisms and a piece of simple white chalk. His teaching style not only encourages students to actively engage the material, but to also partake in the art of self-criticism.

Keenan’s approach transcends the mere transmission of information. His interactive mode of lecturing facilitates the ever unfolding process of self examination and critical reflectivity. This dialogical practice seeks to erode the contradictions that often envelop students’ philosophical presuppositions, ultimately exposing the malaise of its partial underlying perspective.

For those of us who see the value in this eternal dance we call philosophy, Keenan acts as a guide to facilitate a clearer and accessible understanding of all its interpretations. Philosophy can be likened to a constant awakening, reconstituting itself as it moves through history.

I believe it was Keenan’s mission to draw our awareness to this process, allowing for an appreciation of the value embedded within. If this is so, I know Keenan has succeeded in at least one case. He has revitalized my academic career, deepened my quest for knowledge and called forth the audacity it takes to question the status quo. Inspiring me to investigate the boundaries of my own conceptual limitations, I graduate this year with a sense of richness not previously realized; a telos not previously envisioned. To Professor Keenan I give thanks, and to all the dedicated educators who share in his passion for wisdom.

– Tristan Dreilich, University of Winnipeg student

Published in Volume 63, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 26, 2009)