It’s lovely to see all of you here today. My name is Payal Dalal, and I’m a resident assistant here in Toyon. And on behalf of everyone who has lived and who currently lives in Toyon I’d like to spend a few moments remembering the man who told us to slow down, adjust our bearings, and enjoy the breeze in our sails.
We will miss Rolf’s lessons, be they engineering or life. He was first and foremost a teacher. He loved his students with infinite kindness and patience, and defended his residents with reason and passion. Rolf taught us to drive stickshift, to build model yachts, to draw stick figures, to unlock the magic of Brain Gym, to map minds. He helped us balance our priorities and find rationality amidst chaos. He captured our imaginations with stories of boat races, garage sales, artistic inventions. He inspired us to believe in the possibilities, not the final product.
We will miss Rolf’s enthusiasm. Rolf, at his 28th special dinner, imagined himself to be the Wizard of Oz, and draped himself in a curtain, and attached a persistent Toto to his heel. He outdid most of his residents, and played along with the craziness inherent in Toyon’s special dinners. We remember Rolf’s cheer, as he made eggs in the terrace every morning. Rolf always smiled brightly as he walked to the eating clubs for lunch on sunny days, and every day he biked through the quad in the afternoon with a contagious happiness and spirit. We had long conversations about the Norwegian pronunciation of names, and we laughed at his secret closet of boats on the second floor. Rolf patiently encouraged us to build a human pyramid on the beach, and freely offered to be part of the base. Rolf relentlessly protected our right to through campus parties, and bought the dorm every kind of available chocolate during finals week.
We will miss Rolf’s creativity. Rolf spent endless hours assembling photo collages and model yachts. He exhibited his art, and sailed his creations. He loved improvisational dance, the dramatics of architecture, the beauty of body movement, and the merging of disciplines. He did not see boundaries, and he did not care for limits. He saw beauty and possibility in everything, and in all of us.
We will miss Rolf’s endless affection. Rolf loved residential education, and he loved Toyon. His concern for us was unquestionable, and his dedication unwavering. We remember his joy at seeing us succeed, and his empathy and support when we failed. We remember his constant protective watch over the dorm, and his humor and calm in times of pandemonium. We remember his attendance at house meetings, and his participation in study breaks. We remember the hall check-ins. And most of all, we remember his hugs.
As the time and grief pass, we will strive to remember Rolf and all that he encompassed and inspired. His memory will continue to live within the walls of Toyon, and in the winds of all of our future voyages. We will miss you, Rolf.
90 Peter Coutts Circle
Stanford, CA 94305