Thomas C. Dent, PhD
Years at Gordon: 1969-1991
David Hall, class of 1977
I was so impressed with Dr. Dent's regard for us students. I was on vacation in Fort Myers when I heard that Dr. Dent lived in this town and that he was dying of cancer. I gave him a call. It was nearly twenty years after I graduated, and he was very weak and ill. He remembered exactly who I was, who I married, what I did in my career, and the last time he saw me at homecoming. He really did care... But then, they all do. I am so blessed to have been a student at Gordon.
Vicki (Johnson) Beauchemin, class of 1979
When I first thought of writing something about Dr. Dent so many stories came to mind that I couldn't even sort them out. He was so easy to play tricks on, and seemed to love them all--the crazier (more creative?) the better! I think my favorite memory was a particular trip to Cape Cod. We got to a red light and Dr. Dent yelled, "Chinese Firedrill!!" and jumped out of the van and ran around the van, while we all stayed right in our seats, laughing our heads off. On a more serious note, he was always approachable, and was somewhat of a father figure to me at a time when my own father had deserted our family.
David Smith, class of 1979
Dr. Dent. Advisor, friend, encourager. Field trips with you were THE BEST! Strolling through the woods one day and BA--you suddenly plopped on your round tummy--I thought you'd fallen! But as I drew near, you were scrabbling away dead leaves and exclaiming in your nigh-breathless way over a partridgeberry or mayflower that you wanted us to admire. He made us perform such thorough research on the origins of life--I've never been at a loss to explain what I believe, scientifically or scripturally. So, thank you for loving us enough to stretch us, intellectually and spiritually, and for sharing joy and comradeship with us.
Gretchen (Meyer) Vurbeff, class of 1989
I have always reflected back on Dr. Dent's comment in relationship to creation and evolution, which allowed me to piece together science and biblical facts without throwing out creation or evolution completely. I appreciated his willingness to express a daring opinion that parts of evolutionary thought can fit into the creation story. It works for me and I know I have had opportunity to share this with others who have had similar questions and thoughts. Thank you, Dr. Dent. We have an amazing God who created so much along the way and continues to create a sense of awe when I look at His creation!
Chad Hutcheson, class of 1993
Dr. Dent was always one of those professors that made you smile. His enthusiasm for looking at the little things was always encouraging. I remember as he was retiring, a group of students went for a walk through the woods behind campus. At one point, Dr. Dent dropped to his chest on the ground, and marveled at some plant that he saw. This enthusiasm for Botany, and creation in general is one of the reasons that the Biology Club, of which I was a part at the time of his retirement, planted planted the sugar maple tree in front of Emery Hall in his honor. (Dr. Dent did his doctoral dissertation on the sugar maple).