Prof. notes - Charles (Buz) Myers Jr. P'09


Buz on campus

I like to tell people it’s a Biblical name from Genesis 22, but that’s not why I have the nickname. My parents gave it to me—I’m a junior and my father was “Bus” so I am “Buz.” There’s no significance to the one “z.”

On the meaning of life

Emeritus Prof. Carey A. Moore taught a course on death and dying for 25 years, and when he retired he made me promise to continue teaching it. The thesis of my Death and the Meaning of Life course, now a First-Year Seminar, is that you can’t understand the meaning of life if you haven’t confronted the reality of your own death. Death is in everything around us, but we rarely talk about it— we are a death-denying society. I am interested in getting students to wrestle with the reality of death.

On gratitude

I was once asked what I would say to students if it were my last lecture. What I would say is, “Thank you.” Every class has its own character; the excitement of my students is contagious, and they challenge me to think more deeply and be more engaged.

I was on my way to class 10 or 15 years ago when I got a phone call from a former student, Martha Griswold Quijano ’93. She had been through brain surgery and endured a great deal of pain. She said that during that time she thought about my lecture on how much pain Jesus must have endured during his crucifixion (pictured, a first century Roman nail) and she called to thank me.

I was so touched by the story and to hear what impact I’d had on her, then heartbroken when I learned that she died in 2015. Martha was a remarkable person. Students don’t know the impact they have on the people who teach them.

Prof. Charles (Buz) Myers Jr. P’09 held the Edwin T. Johnson and Cynthia Shearer Johnson Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities Chair and served as chair of the Department of Religious Studies. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, Myers teaches and preaches in local churches and regional and national conferences. He has received awards for his work in prison ministry.