Sept. 6 was a sad day for SSU; the news of Professor Terry Wright’s death quickly spread around campus leaving many deeply saddened to hear this alarming news. However, Wright will always be remembered at SSU for many reasons, and those who knew him will forever boast about his uplifting personality and the kind of professor, coworker, and friend that he was.
After Wright earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1970 he took his outstanding knowledge of geology to SSU, where he not only became one of the founding fathers of the geology department, but also a professor that would always be remembered by students and staff. He began teaching a variety of different geology courses throughout the entirety of his career. Wright was a specialist in structural geology and had extensive knowledge on earthquakes as well.
Although Wright’s lasting impression on many includes being exceptional in his field of study and profession, he is also known by many as a dear friend. Cathy Busby, a professor at University of California, Santa Barbra worked alongside Wright in the past, and better yet built a long lasting friendship along the way. Busby explained how Wright played a big brother role in her life by being extremely loyal and always keeping in close touch.
She also described Wright as a “king pin” that always organized large groups of people to go river rafting, camping, hiking and even to parties at his home in Forestville. According to Busby, Wright was also an advanced downhill skier, which is one of the reasons he bought a second home near Mammoth, which he always opened to his friends.
Always incorporating his friends into his everyday life was something that Wright perfected within his lifetime.
Story telling was just yet another one of Wright’s special qualities, “partly because he saw the humor in everything, but also because he was so good with his words,” said Busby. “He had more friends than anyone I had ever known, not only because he was so friendly but because he was so much fun, and he put a lot of energy into maintaining his friendships.”
The time Wright spent with his friends will never be lost or forgotten, the professor and colleague he was was extraordinary.
“Terry had a sparkle to him that made me always look forward to seeing him or talking to him on the phone. He was the glue that held a huge group of smart, fun, adventure-loving people together. He inspired me to enjoy life more fully,” said Busby.
Wright will continue to have a special place in many people’s hearts and will always be remembered as a fun loving, admirable friend. SSU will also continue to remember the exceptional professor he was and the light he brought inside of the classroom.
Although the sadness of his passing is present, the remembrance of the friend and professor he was will be cherished forever.