Jamie Bishop and Jocelyne Couture-Nowak will go on teaching, thanks to a scholarship fund established in their names by friends of the two professors who were among five faculty members killed Monday at Virginia Tech.
“What better way to honor them than to give them the chance to continue teaching even after they've gone on and can't be in the classroom, across from those they loved, their students,” Prof. Mary Paddock told NBC’s Peter Alexander on TODAY.
Paddock was a friend of Bishop, who taught German in the school’s close-knit Foreign Languages Department. She and Prof. Jessica Folkart, a friend of Couture-Nowak, painted an emotional picture of two vibrant and talented teachers who had brightened and enriched the lives of all who knew them.
“These two instructors were truly beloved and admired here at Virginia Tech,” said Alexander, reporting from the school’s Blacksburg, Va., campus.
“Jocelyne Couture-Nowak taught French. She loved the outdoors, dancing, and her native Canada. She was married — to another professor — and had three children.
“Jamie Bishop was also married. In addition to teaching German, he was a talented and dedicated artist.”
Folkart had difficulty talking of Couture-Nowak without crying. She had spent part of Wednesday night going through an album representing 17 years of her friend’s life.
“I admired the life she lived, I admired her love of gardening, I admired her love of nature, the hikes she took, her embracing of all her family — the extended, not just her own offspring,” Folkart said. “I love her zeal, her verve, her unbelievable smile.”
And, in the morning, when all in the department were bleary-eyed, her cheery “Bonjour!” was more sung than spoken.
“She is a force of life. When you need her, she's dazzling,” Folkart said, choked with emotion.
Paddock described Bishop as an incredibly giving person with a passion for painting, photography and music. He wore his hair long, and when he cut it he donated it to Locks of Love, a charity which provides natural hair wigs to disadvantaged children who suffer hair loss because of long-term medical issues.
“That's entirely typical of him,” she said. “I think if there was anything else he could have donated, he would have done that as well.”
Paddock started to say that Bishop was “a little crazy,” but corrected herself, saying “Crazy wouldn't be right, but he was very creative, he's an artist .... It was more than a passion for him. It was almost, I think, an ideology for him. I think it was a way to not just look at the world but make a difference in the world.”
The Jamie Bishop and Jocelyne Couture-Nowak Scholarships will be awarded annually to German and French majors at Virginia Tech.
Donations may be made payable to the Virginia Tech Foundation for the Jocelyne Couture-Nowak Scholarship (for French majors) or the Jamie Bishop Scholarship (for German Majors):
Virginia Tech Foundation
902 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA 24061