Paul Attallah, one of my professors at Carleton and one of the best professors I ever had the privilege to learn from, has died too early at the age of 54.
It's a safe bet that I wouldn't be where I am today, academically speaking, if I hadn't taken his Intro to Communications course in first year. Without that, I probably would have switched majors to study only Political Science. As it is, I ended up doing a double major (both Comm. and PoliSci) with a minor in history. Zero electives, but worth the work.
Be warned that it turns out the study of communications isn't nearly as awesome as Prof. Attallah made it seem to me in first year. I hated the classes I had to take in 2nd year, and really only enjoyed 1 of them in 3rd year. Only in my final undergrad year did things really start to become enjoyable again.
I feel sad for his family, obviously, but even sadder for every class to come through Carleton's department of Communications from here on out. They'll never know what they were missing.