SMCC Mourns Loss of Beloved Physics Professor Jesse Mase

By The Beacon Editorial Staff

Jesse MaseOn April 20, news circulated across the Southern Maine Community College’s all-employees email informing the community that Jesse Mase, a beloved Mathematics & Physics faculty member had passed away on Wednesday, April 19.

Within minutes after the email hit the computers of faculty, staff and administration, SMCC community members started to share their remembrances of Jesse and the role he played in their lives. Many of those who responded spoke of creating a memorial in Jesse’s name. Some spoke of creating a rose garden, others thought naming a room in his honor would serve his memory well, and some thought a bench in his honor would carry his spirit into the future.

The Beacon reached out to some of the staff and faculty who responded to the email, asking for permission to share their thoughts regarding the impact Jesse made here at SMCC and on them. Here are a few.

“I’ll keep this short and sweet. Jesse had the rare talent of spotting potential in individuals who would otherwise be passed over. I am one of those individuals. He believed in me, hired me, and I owe my career to Jesse. I would not be here had it not been for Jesse.
Fair winds and following seas to a beautiful soul.”
Kevin Kimball, USN – retired
Professor
Physics, Astronomy and Cosmology

Jesse Mase 1
Photo by Makala Thibodeau.

“Jesse was also part of the group that in 1995 received an NEH humanities grant (thanks to Bill Sutton and Judy Sullivan). We convened daily for three weeks in the CA dining room. In one session Jesse explained a bit of Einstein to us. I remember being captivated by his presentation. That was why when years later he invited anyone who felt like it to drop by his physics class and hear him discuss relativity, I grabbed a seat in the Hildreth auditorium. I think Walter Chop appeared for that class too. Of course, Walter and I were both undergraduate English majors, and as Odilia and Amy both noted, Jesse was not an intimidating teacher for non-physicists despite his exceptional credentials and intellectual prowess.

Jesse was a great guy. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.”
Kevin Sweeney
Chair
English Department

“A wonderful person! And I also had him on FB — I would always love the photos he posted of his own roses. I shared many a meal with him​ from back in the day of the “cafeteria,” as well as the Culinary Arts Friday buffets. He invited me to join with several members of the math department for those culinary meals – I always joked with him that I was an honorary member of the math department and I didn’t have to teach math! This morning a Veteran came in and spoke with me about his messaging back and forth with Jesse just this week on Physics. A huge loss for us…..”

Amy Lainoff, MA
Advisor
Veterans Affairs

“That’s so sad. Jesse was a wonderful teacher. He had a special way of teaching that made students feel safe. Safe to ask questions, safe to admit not knowing or understanding something without feeling unintelligent. He would always say, ‘you can learn math/Algebra’. He was the professor of choice for any student who was apprehensive about math or physics. Students would drive in at off hours or completely rearrange their schedules to take a class with him.
“He posted the most beautiful photos on FB. I will really miss that. Rest in Peace my friend; with the knowledge that you made a huge difference in a lot of students’ lives and life at SMCC.”

Sadly,
Odilia Silveira-Harmon
TRIO Success Coach

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