From The Bonner Network
I will write a letter, I'm at a loss for words at present. Needless to say, Pat was amazing to work with. He never seemed to lose energy. He was like the energizer bunny for civic engagement. He could inspire students with beautiful speeches that helped connect students to issues and connect them to the bigger picture. His passing is a loss to TCNJ, toTrenton, and to the field of Civic Engagement.
Heather Camp, TCNJ
As a funder at CNCS, I had an opportunity to fund a service-learning program at Middlesex County College. I can remember visiting with Pat and strategizing on ways to expand and deepen his program. He was truly committed to his institution and outside community. I can distinctly remember his authenticity around community engagement. He wanted to empower both residents and students.
Pat was a man of deep conviction who was passionate about community service, and meaningful engagement. He believed people could have an impact and make a difference. There are so many things that he accomplished and people whose lives he touched...his life was a gift. I am grateful to have known him, worked with him and to have served with him.
I spent 2 years working closely with Pat and the other 3 co-authors on our book on community-based research. He was clearly way ahead of his time in his vision for how colleges and universities could be involved in social justice and creating a better world. He also had a great sense of humor, particularly when he was talking about baseball!
As a TCNJ Bonner Scholar, I would constantly hear stories about how Pat did this great thing at X, or that his speeches during orientation were legendary and you couldn't miss them, or that he was just a great person. Throughout my years as a Bonner, I came to admire Pat as the epitome of service, as a mentor, a leader, and a friend. I am still in disbelief that this has happened, and I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how you must be feeling, but I hope you know how much he has influenced me to be a better person and do the right thing, as well as the many other people he has influenced by being a friend or a service leader in the Trenton community.
Pat was an incredible servant leader for social justice and student empowerment. I have known Pat through the Bonner and national service movement since 1998. He has inspired me through his passion, skill and dedication to making the world a bettter place one student and one community at a time.
Hunter Phillips Goodman
Professor Pat Donohue was a very important influence in my life, and in the lives of many. In class, he used the Socratic method to encourage intellectual thinking and witty debate to teach us critical thinking. I adored his class, and spent many afternoons bantering with prof, back and forth, about philosophy and politics. Professor Donohue helped me deal with the heart break of my parents divorce, and he channeled my pain into serving those less fortunate in the community. By serving, the healing process began.
He encouraged me to be a leader and only devote myself to work that I was truly passionate about. In my first year at Rutgers, Prof applied on my behalf to the Center for American Women and Politics Honors Program at Eagleton, and provided a full scholarship, so that I could attend the summer program. He believed in me. In this world, it is so difficult and rare to meet someone who truly believes in you. I thank you prof for believing in me, and for giving me the courage to become a leader. God Bless your family during this difficult time. May we meet again to smile like old friends and discuss Plato's Republic. Yours Truly, With Love.
Heesun C. Andes
I'm so grateful for the impact Pat had on my life and the lives of colleagues and students in the Bonner network and beyond. He challenged all of us to fight for social justice, to have great hope in the midst of very difficult circumstances and to love our neighbors.
Pat & I first indirectly connected at NJ Bonner Leader Program meetings in 2002, when he would travel with the group from Middlesex County College (when I was still an undergraduate). Our Bonner Program director at Rider at the time (Erin E McGrath) had previously worked with Pat, so there was always a natural connection for our two programs to work together. When I had the privilege of serving as the Bonner Program Director (and also grad assistant) for the program at Rider, I was able to call Pat a colleague. He had also recently started his job at TCNJ around the same time & this allowed for us to have even more partnerships not just with our respective Bonner programs, but within the city of Trenton, a city Pat very much believed in & was creating positive community changes for & with its members. At larger national meetings & conferences Pat would, probably without even knowing it, inspire me as a young professional..showing a tireless spirit of service & community building, a kind soul who was able to share his vision & gather fellow change makers along the way. Under Pat's leadership, each person believed in his/her ability to make change happen. Pat - you have made an impact on this world. It IS a better place because of you. Those fortunate enough to have worked with you directly or indirectly, some for a semester, perhaps others for what seems like a lifetime, we are all more inspired, more confident & better able to share love & hope with others. You are missed beyond words by so many people, but we will continue to work on making this world the place you envisioned. Thank you for being a mentor to me along my journey of becoming a professional in the field of civic engagement in higher education. Pat was a familiar face at the COOL conference (now IMPACT conference) that I had attended as a student in '03, '04 & '05 and now 10 years later, I am serving in the role of co-chair for planning the conference. I have no doubt that although Pat & I had never worked directly together on a specific project, he was absolutely a mentor for me as a young professional & I often thought of him when I needed some motivation to take on projects that seemed too big. We would sometimes chat 1-1 or in a small group at Bonner meetings & I will forever treasure my memories of our brief time together.
Mare (Somaine) Ernesto
May you find comfort in the love and memories you share of him. Pat was a great man with a lot of wisdom to share. I consider myself very lucky to have been influenced by him during my years as a Bonner and Bonner Director.
After my research was over, I stayed in touch with Pat as a colleague, a mentor, a role-model, and a friend. When I was in NJ, I would try to stop into the Bonner Center, or get a coffee or beer with Pat. Even though he was incredibly busy, he would try to make time, or we would keep in touch now and then via text or email. Pat was an incredible inspiration to me, and had a great influence on my decision to pursue a career in civic engagement and higher education. I go to work each day as the director of a college civic engagement office hoping to make the kind of impact on students, faculty, and in my community that Pat did.
Pat was a hero in so many ways. His professional impact on my working life was considerable but his impact on my personal life goes far deeper. Selfless and generous beyond belief, I feel privilidged to have known him.
Although I was a student at TCNJ, I did not meet Pat until after college when I completed a 1700 hour AmeriCorps position at TASK and lived with a bunch of TCNJ Bonner alums. Pat was always welcoming to me and was such an inspiration to complete service and do what we can to change the lives of others.
I always looked at Pat's work and tried to figure out how to steal his ideas and incorporate them into the work we have been doing at Washburn in Topeka KS. His intelligent insight on how to motivate students and create new ways of solving some very old problems always impressed me. I will miss him greatly both as a leader and as a friend.
This is what I had written to him for his farewell/retirement from TCNJ party on June 30th:
Our world is very small, you know. I know that you were a mentor to Erin McGrath, who was a mentor to me and a major force in getting me to start my AmeriCorps term at TASK. So, in essence, all the work that I have done at TASK over the past decade and a half can be traced back to you. And the substantial growth that the TCNJ Bonner Program has gone through is directly linked to you. It's more than just numbers and words. It's action. At TASK, we can see the result of all your efforts in all the hard work accomplished by the Bonner students. It's tangible. You have a lot to be proud of. And I look forward to seeing where you go and what you do next. Thank you for playing a part to set my life on course. And on behalf of all the folks who you don't see every day but whose lives are impacted by your work in a very real way every day (I see hundreds of them outside my office daily) -- Thank You, With eternal gratitude.
As a newcomer to the Bonner network 5 years ago, I attended my first national Directors' meetings and Summer Leadership Institutes full of questions and concerns. Pat was incredibly generous in sharing his time and his experience with me, answering questions small and big, year after year. And I will always remember his sweetness and kindness - making me feel like a trusted colleague from the first day we met. I will forever be grateful for knowing, learning from, and being inspired by him.
Pat truly shaped my college and post-college life. I would not be where I am today without his guidance and inspiration. I have too many memories and wishes to fit in this box, but I look forward to sharing all of those memories with you.
I direct the SHC Italy Center in Bologna, Italy. We have been blessed with a number of TCNJ Bonner students in recent years. Pat's imprint and passion for change and justice work is evident as his students arrive here in Italy and immediately become engaged in our community working with those living on the margins. For a young American to arrive and work with immigrants here in Italy represents enormous challenges and Pat's students always come with a degree of humility, sincere commitment to justice work and a belief that they will change the world - ALL TRAITS THAT PAT MODELED FOR ALL OF US - myself included. A great man and his legacy will continue across the Atlantic here in Italy. - Director, SHC Italy Center.
Pat was an amazing role model. As I was transitioning from Trenton high school to TCNJ, I was guided by many other Bonners but Pat was my rock. I think this was true for every Bonner at TCNJ. There was a point in my college career that I wanted to quit college because I was overwhelmed and didn't think I could handle it any longer. I had to go to the Bonner center for some reason so what happened next was not planned at all. I was not asking for help I was just going to quit or take a year off or just do something to leave TCNJ as soon as possible. I walked into the Bonner Center and completed my task but before I left I thought I should say hi to Pat. I walked into his office and he said, "Hey Super Kat!" I thought to myself why the heck does he call me super Kat! I'm about to quit college.. Nothing super about that. He asked me how was I doing, and at that moment I just broke down and cried and told him everything. I am sure he wasn't expecting that as I was "Super Kat" and I don't think anyone knew I was going through this battle. The conversation I had with Pat that day was a pivotal moment for my career. I am grateful I had a person like Pat around me to inspire me to stay and fight the good fight.
I worked with Pat through the NJ Bonner Network while I was running the Bonner program at Rider University from about 2005-2009. He was probably one of the first people I met with to learn more and hear the work he was doing at TCNJ and in the area. I always greatly enjoyed seeing him at various service projects for our students collectively in NJ and at conferences across the country. He spoke with great passion for all that he did and you could see it in his eyes...very inspiring. I am currently a stay at home mom and a volunteer/ advocate now, in my own local community in NJ. I have three small children. It is a joy to tell/ teach my kids about great people like Pat, making a difference in our state and beyond. I think back fondly to my "Bonner days" on a regular basis. Pat will always be remembered and greatly missed.
Pat found a way for Marissa Davis to stay in America reps when her service site ran out of money. Marissa provided the building blocks for my professional outlook a few short years later as my supervisor. Though I didn't interact with Pat on a daily basis, I was always struck by his commitment to being a part of the communities he served professionally. Carrying on his ideals means shocking the mainstream mentality in my current role a bit-staying in the real (gritty) neighborhoods, hiring interns from community colleges, working with professors to design meaningful projects that support the disability community, and insisting that outreach is about vulnerable communities having a voice and active agency; these are all values that I developed in a training ground nurtured by Pat's passion.