Robeson, UNCP better off because of Bourquin

To the Editor,

Robeson County has suffered a tremendous loss in the passing of Dr. Steven Bourquin. Bourquin’s name may not be familiar to everyone because he shunned the limelight. He had humble beginnings and was a first-generation college graduate. He told me many times that he could imagine no higher calling than being a professor at UNCP, where he also served as chairperson of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

He was right. Bourquin was no ordinary math professor. Dozens of students told me how they struggled with math, or were even terrified of math, and Dr. Bourquin was the first person to make the subject clear. Today, many of those students wouldn’t be local nurses, teachers, and physician’s assistants without his gift for teaching.

In 2016 Dr. Bourquin’s excellence was recognized with the UNC Board of Governor’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest award that can be bestowed on a UNCP professor. Bourquin was gifted in so many ways. How many people are elected to their high school sports hall of fame in a football-crazy town, have nearly 2,000 Facebook friends because he was so likeable, and earn a doctorate?

Bourquin was devoted to UNCP and its students in every way. He was instrumental in returning football to the university and a generous contributor to UNCP. His wife, Stephanie, also brought class, elegance, and grace to UNCP events.

Steven had a tremendous impact on my life. His personality was larger than life and he filled every room with his presence. His laugh was contagious and he found a way to bring everyone together. We are all better off because he devoted his career and life to this community.

Eric Dent

Ft. Myers, Fla.