Professor, friend dies after heart complications

Dr. Pat Cassens 1939-2005

Dr. Pat Cassens 1939-2005

Nate Billings

During the summer, the department of mathematics lost one of its members.

Dr. Pat Cassens, professor of mathematics, died July 8 after heart complications.

Cassens colleagues will miss him.

“He was a friendly, outgoing guy,” said Alan Adkins, instructor of mathematics.

Adkins knew Cassens for 17 years. The two were friends outside of the classroom as well.

Adkins and his wife, Dr. Laura Adkins, assistant professor of mathematics, often ate with Cassens and his wife.

Alan and Laura said the one thing which stood out about Cassens was his care for the classroom.

“He really cared about his students,” Alan said. “He was very accessible.”

Laura saw this too in Cassens.

“He was compassionate for students,” she said. “He wanted every student to succeed.”

Cassens often had a bucket of candy on his desk available for students when they had questions.

On the second-floor hall of Reynolds Hall, next to Cassens office, a memorial wall was created.

Though it was torn down during the first week of the semester to be given to Cassens’ widow, it contained several messages from students.

Some of the messages were from Cassens himself.

Torn pages with, “May I help?” written on them were scattered on the board.

“He really cared,” Alan said.

Among the most memorable things about Cassens was his love of music.

“He had a very diverse musical interest,” Alan said.

“He was a big Metallica fan,” Laura said.

Cassens even attended a Metallica concert, but he also loved the opera.

Others remember his companionship.

“He was here every single day,” said Dr. Juan Vazquez, head of the mathematics department. “He loved to teach.”

Vazquez said Cassens stayed around late at night and early in the mornings if he couldn’t sleep.

“He used to work hard,” Vazquez said. “He was very dedicated.”

The news of his death came as a surprise to his friends.

“It was a shock,” Alan said.

Vazquez said the department took the news hard.

“Basically, everyone’s going to miss him,” Vazquez said.

The department is planning on planting a tree in Cassens’ honor during the fall.

Everyone is welcome to come to the planting. It will be announced closer to its determined time.

“I miss coming to my office and seeing him,” Vazquez said. “He was the first one to come to my office in the morning.”