Ian Pilarczyk has been Associate Director of Fletcher’s LLM program since before the first students even arrived. Sadly for us, he will be moving on to a new opportunity. Here, Ian tells us about his departure, with his signature (in the Admissions blog, anyway) use of poetry.
“On Saying Goodbye To My Office in Mugar 250” (with apologies to F.R. Scott)
Several weeks ago, I accepted a new position at Boston University School of Law. It will pose new opportunities and challenges and reunite me with my alma mater, but leaving Fletcher is also the definition of “bittersweet.” In an ideal world, the new job would have come after the current LLM class graduated in May, so that I could have seen them through the end of the school year, travelled with them to Talloires for our Capstone and celebrated with them at commencement — but we rarely have control over timing, and I knew this was an opportunity I wanted to pursue. This past Saturday, the LLM students held a dinner in my honor at one of my favorite restaurants, Elephant Walk in Cambridge. It was such a nice gesture, so generous yet typical of them — and emblematic of why it’s hard to say goodbye. I hope they know they will be missed.
For the past few weeks, I have been slowly vacating my office, packing box after box of books, removing the trappings and trophies of professional life off of shelves and walls. As Canadian poet F.R. Scott wrote about emptying his law school office, his “sanctuary” for many years:
They are carting away all my books and papers.
My pictures are stacked in an ugly pile in the corner.
There is murder in my cathedral.
As I pack up, I come across a clay figurine given to me by one of our students from Uzbekistan, myriad knick-knacks that coincidentally are replete with elephant motifs, and files full of notes from when I first started here. I realize that my filing system, as organized as I think it is, has an internal “logic” that will doubtlessly confound my successor: it’s a special challenge to leave things in a way will allow someone else to seamlessly start where you left off.
Miserable vandals, stuffing me into your cartons,
This is a functioning office, all things are in order,
Or in that better disorder born of long usage.
I alone can command it.
My successor arrived this week, which allowed us a few pleasant days to work together before I leave today. I am delighted that she is already a member of the Fletcher community: Susan Simone ’09, is a graduate of last year’s LLM class. She is a gifted lawyer and enthusiastic alumnus, and I am happy to call her a friend. In her capable hands, the program will doubtlessly continue to flourish and grow, and knowing I am passing the office keys along to her makes leaving a little easier.
… I stand again on new frontiers.
Forgive this moment of weakness, this backward perspective.
Old baggage, I wish you goodbye and good housing.
I strip for more climbing.
Goodbye, Fletcher. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your family these past two years.
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