Michael Baynes loved traditions—and one of his favorites was reading the Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You'll Go!, to graduates of the associate degree programs.
A Life of Joy and Service
In loving memory of Michael Baynes.
Michael Baynes, associate director of student life on the Minneapolis campus and an adjunct professor at St. Catherine University, died in a tragic accident on July 6, 2012. A teacher, mentor and vital, vibrant colleague, Baynes was memorialized by Dean of Student Affairs Curt Galloway at a funeral Mass in New Richland, Minnesota, on July 13. The following is an excerpt of Galloway's remarks.
I am deeply honored to have been asked to speak about Mike. I also feel woefully inadequate to the task of trying to portray how much Mike meant to all of us at St. Kate's, and how much we will miss him.
Mike came to St. Kate's in January 1998 on what we all thought was a temporary basis. Mike seemed destined for bigger positions, but it wasn't long before he fell in love with St. Catherine, and St. Catherine fell in love with Mike Baynes.
I don't remember the first time I met Michael, but I seem to have known him forever. MB, as many of us called him, was the original worldwide web. He drew people together in remarkable ways and was the central point of relationship for so many of us.
Mike was an intensely loyal and true friend, and he worked hard — though he made it seem effortless — to maintain old relationships while inviting new ones into his life. His ability to remember faces, names and events is legendary. If I ever wanted to know how someone from our common past was doing, I simply went to Mike to find out.
Those of you who were Mike's students (and perhaps we all fall into that category) already know how deeply, how profoundly, he cared for your development and your experience. He was eager to know you not just as students, but as individuals with unlimited potential and whole lives ahead of you. Mike was both an important member of the Student Affairs staff and a gifted classroom instructor. He saw the potential in each of you — in each of us. And he believed in us, often beyond the level that we believed in ourselves.
His coworkers knew Mike as a colleague of high integrity, unbridled energy and limitless creativity. He challenged us to step beyond our self-imposed boundaries and to put the person before the process. He was full of joy and fully engaged in life.
Mike often addressed us by both our first and last names, or pronounced our names in his own special way. I will truly miss hearing Mike come into my office, asking joyfully, "Is today the best day of your life, Mr. Galway?" (not Galloway) with a man-satchel strapped over his shoulder, wearing his patterned tennis shoes, shorts and T-shirt under a suit vest.
I experienced Mike's empathy and willingness to provide support when my mom died unexpectedly about nine years ago. Mike appeared quite unexpectedly at my home. He had brought a jasmine plant in remembrance of my mom.
Jasmine plants flower several times a year and fill your home with a strong, beautiful fragrance. Mike wanted me to remember my mom each time that plant bloomed. But as I got to know Mike better over the years, I more fully understood that his desire for me to remember my mother was a reflection of the deep, enduring and unfailing love he had for his own mother, Joanie.
No doubt each of us has a jasmine plant that MB has given us, whether it's a physical gift, a lesson learned, a humorous comment or a now-precious moment spent in each other's company. Water it, look after it, and enjoy its beauty and fragrance for years to come.