Professor Cabot: A Tribute from Julia Mardeusz ’16

Professor Edward “Ned” Cabot, a founding member of the Trinity College Public Policy and Law Department and long-time professor, passed away on May 15, 2018. His impact was enormous and his loss has been and will continue to be deeply felt within the Public Policy and Law Community. The Policy Voice will be posting a series of tributes and reflections from faculty and alumni/alumnae throughout the coming year, of which this from Ms. Mardeusz is the third.

By Julia Mardeusz ’16                                                                                                    

Public Policy and Law Alumnae

If you’re reading Policy Voice, then you probably already know that Public Policy & Law is special, primarily due to Adrienne Fulco and Ned Cabot, two forces of nature on our faculty who did absolutely everything in their power to make this program into the innovative, academically rigorous and socially supportive community that it is today. They built one of the fastest-growing and most popular majors at Trinity from the ground up and made it so that we left class every day feeling compelled to participate meaningfully in public life and informed about policy, politics, and law in a time when these things are more opaque than ever. Their knowledge and encouragement have shaped so many students in a relatively short time.

Professor Cabot was not only an excellent teacher but an excellent role model as well, and he came into our lives at an age where we thought intensely and often about the type of people we’d become—not just the jobs we’d have and the cities we’d move to and the graduate schools we’d attend, but our character, both the qualities that others see in us and those that are evident only to ourselves. As young adults, we look not only to our parents and our peers for inspiration in this area, but to our teachers, and the best ones, like Professor Cabot, show us the best of these possibilities and guide us in how to emulate them. The people we meet at this age often have the most influence on us because we are the most receptive to the lessons of others and are looking for ways to be ourselves, whoever that may be.

As one of the few professors I know of who had students vying desperately to gain seats in his classes (all of whom received one), Professor Cabot impacted the lives of a great number of students. His words and actions imparted valuable lessons that changed all of us for the better. I’m sorry that future Trinity students won’t be able to hear these lessons directly from him, but I want to share the ones that made the most significant impression on me.

These are some of the lessons we learned from him. There won’t be a test but you may have to brief them later:

Think carefully but speak confidently. Collegiality and teamwork, in law and in life, lead to great things. Give people second chances, even though they may not deserve them. Assess others on how far they have come, not from where they began. Listen instead of interrupting. Keep a sense of humor at all times. Take delight in other people, and let them know when they challenge you or make you rethink your position. Engage with your community and help in any way that you can. Above all, be compassionate and kind.

Although we are a young group, I am proud to say I can see already that Professor Cabot’s former students have brought these lessons into their lives and will be better lawyers, businessmen and women, academics, politicians, and people for this reason.

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