A week ago Sunday one of mentors passed away. Oliver Ludwig was my friend, teacher, mentor, brother, and advisor. He passed away after a three year long battle with cancer, and in true Doc fashion, kept it from most of us while he fought it. Only in his passing were we made aware of his condition.
I met Dr. Ludwig in sophomore year at Villanova, I was in his chemistry class. He had a unique way of teaching the class. Most teachers make you memorize stupid minutia in order to pass their tests. Doc (as he was affectionately known) had a different belief. All his tests and quizzes were open note and open book. His approach was practical. He wanted his students to learn and I felt he was quite effective. Most of the chemistry he taught me was review from my AP class, but there were some things that left a lasting impression.
He was the first teacher to explain the value of attending class. He had done the math figuring the yearly tuition rates, divided by the number of average credits a student takes, divided by the number of hours in class per semester, divided by the number of seconds in an hour, you end up with a cost per minute of a Villanova Education. You are paying for the teachers time, it is silly to skip class. I tried never to miss class if I could help it from that point on.
Another time he spend a few minutes at the end of class teaching us about surface tension by telling us a joke. He asked, how could get a pin to float on water. The answer is that you use a piece of cigarette paper and lay the pin on top of it, then float the paper on the water and the pin will stay on the surface of the water.
But I knew Doc as more than just a teacher. Doc was also for the faculty advisor for Sigma Nu, the fraternity that I ended joining in sophomore year. He was part of the reason I joined. I had originally looked at joining the greek life in the middle of freshman year, but it just didn’t fit. I looked at some of the bigger groups, but missed some of the smaller groups. Sophomore year comes around and I met this guy named Bill Clark. He introduced me to the guys and when I found out that Doc was the advisor I was even more interested.
Doc was selfless as both a teacher and an advisor. He went out of his way to do the right thing and be helpful to as many people as possible. He was kind and reasonable and a generally great individual. When I pledged the fraternity, I was given the pledge name “little Doc”, mostly because I was a science buff just like Doc, but I’d like to think that we had more in common than just our passion for the sciences.
I’m going to miss him, his constant emails about random mathematical jokes. His newsletter that published so that we as a brotherhood could stay in touch. His regime and rule at the fraternity get togethers. I will be forever grateful for the lessons he has taught me and the friends he has helped me meet.