Members of the Madison and campus community began to mourn the loss of University of Wisconsin psychology professor Bryan Hendricks this week. Hendricks died Friday morning at the age of 66.
Hendricks, who worked in the UW psychology department for 12 years, died after an illness required his retirement, according to a UW statement.
According to the statement, Hendricks was recognized in 2012 by the Princeton Review as one of “The Best 300 Professors.”
Kelsea Kierstead, a former student of Hendricks, said in an email to The Badger Herald that Hendrick’s professional career was very extensive and impressive. She said Hendricks had qualities of innovation and the communication skills that seemed to lead him to success.
“What made me really appreciate Bryan was his dedication and outstanding achievements,” Kierstead said. “He went above and beyond expectations like no one could imagine. I only knew him in his old age, but he was still full of life in love.”
Kierstead said Hendricks shared some of the most memorable parts of his lifetime with the class, including stories of how he grew up in a small town and received his entire education in a one-room schoolhouse. She said his graduating class consisted of only three people.
It was experience, Kierstead said, that led to Hendricks’s interest in teaching since he witnessed the complete dedication the schoolhouse teachers had. She said Hendricks would compare his school experience to the times now. According to Kierstead, Hendricks said the schoolhouse teachers of his youth were responsible for every part of a child’s education.
Other memories included Hendricks’ stories about building an entire log cabin in Wausau that he referred to as his “little escape,” Kierstead said.
The pictures he showed detailing his life in class were “amazing,” Kierstead said.
“I only had one class with Bryan, but I am sure the student body would agree that he was the sweetest, most caring man and professor on this campus,” Kierstead said. “For starters, he highly encouraged office hours and would meet with students whenever necessary.”
On remembering his class, Kierstead said every one of Hendricks’ lectures were so carefully thought through to make sure the class was on the same page. She said he had “precious adages” to highlight important concepts that she found humorous, but she added, he succeeded in never letting her miss the point of the lecture.
UW spokesperson John Lucas said from the university’s perspective, Hendricks had so much energy in teaching and interacting with students.
“Bryan Hendricks seemed like he was an extremely thoughtful and energetic and student-focused instructor and I think students who took his class will recognize what a great loss he is to the university,” Lucas said.
Lucas said after UW first announced Hendricks’s death on Twitter, people expressed their condolences by responding back saying what a great experience they had with him.
UW professor of psychology and department chair Patricia Devine did not respond to requests for comment.