With such questions and more, our extraordinary and esteemed Prof. Dr. Bernd Richter shaped us former Konstanz business graduates.
The news of his death made Mary Olwal and me reflect, cry and be grateful to have been a part of him. He reached us emotionally. He set the bar high. I wish again and again that we were all only 10% as unprejudiced as he was.
I like to look back and count the people who reached my heart with their uniqueness.
It is the winter semester 1999.
There were only two foreigners in our Business Administration program. The quota was strictly fixed. That alone made us “special” and at the same time I found it scary.
I, unsure whether I would “come along”, entered the lecture hall and was greeted appreciatively and personally. I didn’t have to prove anything. Someone was there who appreciated me and stood by me from the first minute. And he addressed all of us, without exception, confidently, by name directly.
The fact that I came out of the first lecture so confidently was thanks to my former business professor and dean of the business administration program, Prof. Dr. Bernd Richter. I was able to experience again that it plays a big role how we perceive others. He won our hearts.
And he gave us foreign students the feeling:
🔸️I perceive you. I see the great personality and talent in you. You are part of us🔸️
Whether it was the deep conversations, as my friend Mary Olwal touchingly reports (see link below) or his way of making us bigger than we perceived ourselves or through his sincere listening:
He went beyond the diversity stories and the business administration content – they were formative moments.
We were allowed to question our thoughts, for example through valuable stories such as
“The man with the hammer”
Or with such formative questions as the red rose.
We were allowed to surpass ourselves, so Mary and I became the best foreign students.
We had no excuse.
In the moments of doubt, he showed us the other side. He also showed us what self-fulfilling prophecies do to us humans.
It was an honour for Mary Olwal and me to be accompanied by you.
May your extraordinary teaching methodology and foresight continue to touch people and take action. They managed to go beyond diversity without using these terms.
Through you I learned to stand by my story.
To pay tribute to my former valuable professor, I invite you to this question:
Is a red rose in complete darkness really red?