On May 28, 2000, at the wedding of former online editor Seth Krostich to Amy Fetterman, Ray came in the men?s restroom three times to check on me as I was loudly and uncontrollably vomiting. Three times! Once would have been enough for anyone, because it wasn?t pretty. But that?s just the type of guy Ray is. He?s the kind of guy who will repeatedly check on you when you?re vomiting, then smile a big smile and give you a hug, and then point out in front of everyone that you got some on your shoes.
Students who work at the CT have a reputation for being hard and salty like New York winters. CT editors proudly and loudly bear the cross of being the University?s Only Student-Run Newspaper, and they are all too eager to tell anyone who will listen how many hours of their precious lives they have spent toiling in the bowels of Wilson Commons. This righteous indignation may be the only heirloom that has withstood generations of turnover and changing attitudes.
These CT editors want and need your sympathy. But the truth is, even the best of them don?t deserve it. Because they know that the privilege of occupying that office and the opportunity to create what they create is its own reward. They may produce a decent newspaper, but the friendships built within those walls are more permanent, more powerful than any words in any volume. And even the modest tribute on this page fails to convey the sincerity of affection for Ray MacConnell.
Even the most committed student journalists turn in their press passes after five years. Ray has hunched over his drawing table for a quarter-century, in an office best described as a closet within that basement CT editors whine about. He is as much a part of the CT office as the miscellaneous stains and left-wing graffiti on the wall. He is one reason why you?ll find editors in the CT office even when they?re not worried about deadlines and page layouts. Ray is everyone?s favorite goofy, old, sexually ambiguous, advice-spouting, nosy next-door neighbor with a heart of gold and the chains to match.
He has been at our weddings; he has met our parents; he has taken us to lunch and baked the cookies for dessert. And now he?s been with us for 25 years, without a single complaint about spending the majority of his precious life in the bowels of Wilson Commons. CT editors can readily brandish their heirloom of self-sacrifice, but nobody asks why Ray has chosen to stick around so long.
It would be nice to think that he?s stayed because he loves us, all of us, his students. But it would be enough if he simply knew that we loved him too.