In Memoriam: Cameron Alumnus Patrick Copeland
Over winter break, Cameron University graduate, adjunct professor and library employee Patrick Michael Copeland passed away.
In the CU library, Patrick worked in the Senior Associate and Interlibrary Loan and Archives section. The primary focus of his job revolved around archiving many different things, such as issues of the Cameron Collegian.
Patrick also taught classes in the Department of English and Foreign Languages.
Library Circulation Supervisor Kai Williams said that the first day she met Patrick was when he applied for a student worker position in the library.
Williams said that when he came in for the interview, he was smiling and cheerful.
“The job interview itself may have lasted between six to ten minutes,” she said, “but we sat and talked for like forty-five minutes. It wasn’t even about the job, it was about other things like books and movies, and all the things we had in common.”
After the extended interview, Williams said she knew right away that Patrick was the applicant she would hire; he had all the necessary qualifications, along with a love for books and reading.
“What really got me was that I felt like I knew this guy my entire life,” she said, “even though I had just met him that morning.”
After Patrick started as a student worker in the library, he later gained a staff position, followed by becoming a Senior Library Associate.
Instruction and Assessment Librarian James Scholz said that most of the library staff would find an excuse to hang out with Patrick.
“He was funny,” he said, “and we all loved storytelling together.”
Senior Library Associate Bill Poole said that he would come into work an hour early just to hang out with Patrick.
“We’d talk about different things, have a lot of laughs,” he said. “He was a really fun guy, with a great sense of humor.”
Poole said that he would describe Patrick as a complex book, because he never talked about his family.
“It was the weirdest thing,” he said. “Each of his friends only got to read a chapter. I didn’t even know he had siblings until after he passed. He was a very mysterious person. A great person, no doubt, but very closed. Even though he was warm and friendly to everyone, he didn’t let everyone in all the way.”
Associate Professor and Access Services Librarian Wensheng Wang, who had been a supervisor in the library when Patrick applied as a student worker, said that Patrick was always a good worker.
“He always came in here punctually,” he said. “He seldom asked for leave.”
Whenever Patrick wasn’t at work, he could be seen hanging out with friends or playing Pokémon Go.
Williams said that Patrick would come into work playing the mobile game.
“He’d tell me what Pokémon’s he caught on the way to work,” she said, “and what gyms he mastered. Patrick said he was the gym master here at the library, and he dared anyone to challenge him.”
Wang said that he wishes there were Pokémon in the heavens, so that Patrick would go and catch them all.
Patrick’s death threw Williams, Poole, Wang and other Cameron employees through a loop; a loop they’re all still trying to process.
Poole said that Patrick was a close friend, like a lost brother, and that the library now feels like a puzzle piece is missing.
“Now, when I come to the library, I sometimes have to go into his office to collect some things, and it’s just not the same,” he said. “It feels empty.”
Williams said the library is different without Patrick being around anymore.
“He will be missed, dearly,” she said.