National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, Volume 9 (2013)


Copyright 2013 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


Charles Slavin is dead, dammit. (If you’re expecting a hagiography, you didn’t know Charlie.) It seems so unfair, to go at such a young age. Unfair to his family, unfair to his students, unfair to his colleagues, unfair to his friends. And certainly unfair to Charlie.

Most folks in NCHC “knew” Charlie from sightings at our national conferences. He was tough to miss—omnipresent and outspoken, bushy beard in full flow. What people saw was the public Charlie, either playing Mother Hen to his many students and basking in their accomplishments, or being the voice of contention in meetings and sessions. Were these the real Charlie? If you asked him, he’d look over his glasses at you with a sly smile and say, “Yeah.” He knew how most people saw him, and he got a kick out of it.

There was, of course, a lot of reality to the public Charlies. While we all care about our students, Charlie’s dedication to his students was way beyond most of us. To put it simply, everything he did in his honors work—everything— was about his students. He was determined to see that they got every opportunity, that they pushed themselves towards excellence, that they be encouraged when they stumbled, and that they be celebrated for their triumphs. He brought busloads of students to NCHC conferences because he believed it was important that they be exposed to a wider world of scholarship and that, in this forum, they come to realize what they were capable of. He didn’t just send his students on their own; he led them, he pushed them, he guided them. And I’m not speaking metaphorically. Charlie was hands-on.