The recent passing of Dr. Robert Lewis Cord will no doubt set off reflections and memories for many Northeastern alumni, former colleagues, and friends. Professor Cord’s legacy will be defined by his impact upon and everlasting connection to his students, small and large alike, and the university he called home for over three decades.
I am but one of a multitude of students who had the opportunity and privilege to be instructed, guided, and provoked by Professor Cord. Through the Honors program, I was one of a select few who can claim the blessing that is having been mentored and supported by Professor Cord. Dr. Cord’s direct manner and demand for involvement by his students, no matter the subject matter or the position you presented, was a trait most often associated with his classroom instruction. I can attest that it was the same tone and tenor as my Honors thesis faculty advisor, and more importantly, as a friend and confidant for many years following my graduation from Northeastern University.
At the intersection of fate and destiny, there was a day in September 1992 when a fledging first-year student searching the postings of the political science department was greeted by a professor seeking a work-study research assistance. For the next four years I would work alongside Dr. Cord, and in doing so, came to respect his ethic, integrity, forthright manner, and critical eye. As a professional, I have few days when I do not have an opportunity to utilize some skill or understanding impressed upon me by Dr. Cord. And if ever forgotten, a call to Dr. Cord would surely offer a quick refresher.
Dr. Cord’s impact was also felt by many undergraduate students, who knowingly or unknowingly, were the recipient of financial aid from a fund established by Dr. Cord for students to purchase books and supplies. I was one such beneficiary. When speaking of smaller events that leave lasting impressions, receiving such aid would be one of the lasting memories of my time at Northeastern University. In fact, I once had the opportunity to offer an undergraduate student a similar benefit, and I can only hope it offered the same relief and support to that student.
During my time at and after Northeastern, Dr. Cord became, and remained, one of my biggest supporters, confidants, and friends. Dr. Cord was a nationally recognized Constitutional scholar with a depth of knowledge that I can never match, however, to me, he was Robert Cord. His assistance, empathy, and guidance to a young man was never matched by any appreciation I could provide in return. Dr. Robert Lewis Cord will be never forgotten by this appreciative student, who is no doubt one of many.