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Tribute to My Friend, Paul Tschudi

I knew Paul Tschudi as a friend, mentor, and professor. Paul and I met when his office was located near my work cubicle in, what was then, the Department of Nursing at GW. He served as my mentor during my time in the GW Counseling program. I also took two classes on grief and loss with Paul as my professor.

Paul was loved by many. I learned early on that, when we were together, I might need to share Paul’s time and attention with others. During a chat with Paul in his office, or during a lunch out, people would invariably pop in to say hello to Paul or to join the chat.

This was because Paul had a special light that attracted others. He was the true embodiment of agapē, the unconditional and accepting love of others. You could feel that love in his presence. He was gentle and kind. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t have a wicked sense of humor too!

Paul told many interesting stories about his adventures in life. The story that I cherish most -- and that reveals a great deal about Paul’s character -- came from his days in Vietnam during the war.

Paul was a conscientious objector and medic who did not carry a weapon. I once asked Paul how he managed to survive without a weapon to protect himself. He told me that he survived because of his friendship with the Vietnamese people in the village. The villagers returned Paul’s friendship and kindness. They hid and protected him when necessary. They warned him of any imminent danger. I cherish that story. It is a story of love conquering hate.

It is a story of agapē at its best.

I will remember Paul – as my friend and a special soul who spread agapē and laughter to all who had the good fortune of knowing him!

Debra Churos Director, Part-Time Faculty Personnel Administration Faculty Personnel Office/Faculty Affairs The George Washington University

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