by TAYLOR BRETHAUER & STEPHEN ZUBRYCKY, Editor & Editor-in-Chief
Brother Raymond Meagher, F.S.C., a former visiting assistant professor of education, died Tuesday morning at the age of 74, The Quadrangle confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
According to a phone interview with Dean of Education and Health Karen Nicholson, Ph.D., Meagher had not been feeling well for several days. He was brought to New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, in Inwood, Monday night, where he died early Tuesday morning.
Meagher began his career as a Christian Brother in 1966. Prior to joining Manhattan College as an adjunct professor in 1994, Meagher served as principal of St. Raymond’s High School in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.
Meagher was promoted to the full time faculty in 2002, and served as a visiting assistant professor of education until last May. In 2015, he was selected by the Christian Brothers Conference as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator.
Since 2006, Meagher had served as the counselor to the Mu Sigma chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the international honor society for education students.
As counselor, he went the extra mile to advance the mission of the organization. Manhattan’s chapter earned six consecutive KDP Achieving Chapter Excellence awards, according to a post on the college’s website.
“He was the spark behind Kappa Delta Pi,” Brother Robert Berger, F.S.C., said over the phone. “That society won so many awards because of their being so active.”
Berger cited KDP’s social justice trips to Italy and Ireland as two of Meagher’s signature accomplishments with the society.
Meagher is remembered by his colleagues as a spirited, tenacious and devoted educator.
“I would say that he was a very committed and dedicated educator who made a huge difference in the lives of students, and to the lives of those of us who knew and worked with him,” Nicholson said. “He loved what he did.”
“His life was dedicated to the School of Education and to the Christian Brothers,” Berger said.
Nicholson believes Meagher had a special knack for finding students’ strengths and bringing them to the forefront.
“He really saw each of [his students] as individuals, and encouraged them to get to know themselves and to know what gifts they had,” Nicholson said. “It was the sense of helping each person find what it was that was unique.”
“When he was teaching, he gave all of himself. He didn’t hide anything,” said Charles Zazzera, a former student of Meagher’s who graduated in May. “He wanted you to feel like he was another student in the class.”
Meagher’s unorthodox teaching style would regularly manifest itself outside on the quad, where Meagher’s students would engage in team building exercises, sometimes involving hula hoops or beach balls, and other times involving the recitation of the “Beauty Prayer.”
“[He wanted us to] get comfortable saying [we were] beautiful,” Zazzera said.
Meagher also embraced uplifting quotes and platitudes as an effective teaching tool, Zazzera said. Meagher always urged his students to, “raise the praise and minimize the criticize,” or to, “be a double fudge sundae instead of a plain vanilla.”
Another of Meagher’s favorite quotes comes from the American poet Maya Angelou, who once said that, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
A viewing will take place at the Christian Brothers Residence this Friday, July 21 from 4 P.M. to 8 p.m.
A second viewing will be held at the Chapel of De LaSalle and His Brothers at 9 a.m. this Saturday, July 22. A funeral mass will immediately follow at 10am.
CORRECTION (July 19, 12:10 p.m. EDT): An earlier version of this article listed the start of the funeral mass as 10 a.m. The mass will begin at 9:30 a.m.