In Memory of Gil Bane
Kodiak College celebrates the life and legacy of Professor Emeritus, Dr. Gil Bane.
“His thirty-year teaching career inspired countless students, including current faculty members at Kodiak College,” said UAA Chancellor, Sean Parnell. “His contributions extended beyond the classroom, serving as advisor for student government, Phi Theta Kappa and leading study abroad programs at a time when they were not widely available.”
Gil Bane drew much inspiration from his travels, and said that some of his most memorable experiences with students were, “…on elephant treks in Thailand, holding a young panda in China, feeding steak to a Bengal tiger in Thailand, lassoing an Alligator in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, trekking with Llamas in Peru, and photographing fishes on coral reefs.”
Academic Counselor, Barb Brown recalls, “I have many memories of Gil stopping by Student Services with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies (made in the Science Lab on campus) and sharing stories of his latest adventures in China, South America, or one of many other far-flung locations throughout the world. Whenever I would remark about his fascinating travels he would invite me to join him on his next trip. Once upon a time, Kodiak College students could earn credit for these "study abroad" experiences and the knowledge, insight, and memories made on these journeys enriched their lives immeasurably. Gil always had a smile on his face and he was endlessly interested in learning and living life to the fullest. I hope I can live out my retirement as he did, by continuing to grow and being a student of world culture.”
Even in retirement, Gil Bane continued to visit campus, bringing his famous cookies to share. He continued leading trips to China with Kodiak community members. He volunteered with Whale Fest Kodiak, and generously shared “his expert knowledge and love for ocean critters,” says fellow WhaleFest volunteer, Cheryl Nugent. “A kinder soul has never existed. He was an epic storyteller and fierce protector of marine mammals and sharks.”
Former student, Suzanne Buie, took biology classes from Gil Bane that changed her life. She says he would always come to class wearing a bow tie, and always brought candy bars for students before exams.
“I consider him my life-long mentor and the most influential professor that I have had even throughout my Doctoral program,” she says. “His enthusiasm for the subject matter was unmatched. He was so excited to describe a frog, dissect a shark, or explain how a blastula is formed. His enthusiasm and love for his students was infectious. He wrote my letter of recommendation which I believe I still have. Without Dr. Bane, I may not have gone on to be a Doctor of Physical Therapy and own Arctic Physical Therapy Services Inc. I certainly would not be a professor at Kodiak College. He asked me in 2005 if I could “fill-in” for one year. It has now been 18 years later and I strive every day to be half the educator and human being that he was.
I cannot express in words what a beautiful and giving man Dr. Bane was. I have never seen a professor so excited to share knowledge with his students and support them in a friendly, non-stressful environment.”
Dr. Bane welcomed the community to watch and learn from shark dissections on the Kodiak College campus whenever a fisherman would bring him one. Those events often sparked students’ interest in the fields of fisheries and biology, Bane said.
In a 2018 video interview for UAA’s Amazing Stories series, Gil Bane said, “My pride in working in Kodiak is with the students. They were excellent students. The students made me the happiest when I was there.”