Congratulations Dr. Conteh, on your retirement!
When I received the letter announcing Dr. Andrew Conteh’s retirement, it really did trigger a flood of memories. Dr. Conteh was my advisor and the head of the Model U.N. program in which I participated for several years, so I had the pleasure of working with and for him as well as taking many of his classes. I’m not sure I can remember all of the answers to one of his exams (I still wish I’d bought stock in whatever company made Blue Books back then) but I definitely remember the example he set of focused energy, passion for his work and true affection for his students. His wealth of international experience and tales of his time in faraway diplomatic service and academia widened my raised-in-Minnesota horizons and taught me to appreciate not just how we in the USA relate to the rest of the world, but also how the rest of the world saw and related to us in the United States. His classes and Model UN trips were interesting, challenging and ultimately rewarding in so many ways. I’ve had the chance to teach in the aviation field for many years now– as I look back at how he taught his classes, I can appreciate his endless energy and encyclopedic command of his material but most especially the fact that he made it all INTERESTING in the classroom! Every class, he made people want to respond and engage and ultimately LEARN, and that is a gift. Thank you Dr. Conteh for sharing that gift with your students and colleagues.
I wish I could have made the retirement party in person but unfortunately I will not be able to attend. I am sure it will be a night to remember! “Back in the day” on our Model U.N. trips, after each day’s conference activities were done, we always tried to get Dr. Conteh to go out and party with us. He would always laugh, politely decline and say he was going back to his room for a nice glass of Cognac and a quiet evening. As I get older I recognize the wisdom in those words, so Dr. Conteh, this evening in your honor I’ll have a nice glass of Cognac on my quiet evening and toast both the outstanding work you have done on behalf of decades of students at MSUM, and to your good health, continued success and happiness in retirement.
Political Science, 1994
Dear Professor Conteh,
You were one of the first professors I ever interacted with when I started university at MSUM. I remember a freshman orientation meeting where every freshman from the department had to introduce themselves, and you were the only person in the room who could tell why I, a boy from India had a Portuguese last name (the Portuguese were the first colonizers of India- in 1498). You helped me pick classes my first semester at MSUM. And as luck would have it, you would teach me one too. And that’s where your awe-inspiring aura molded so many students.
Some of my fondest memories of university were coming to your office some evenings during fall semester of 2015 and discussing current affairs with you and debating about the lessons you taught me in international relations. Part of me just wanted to come to your office to fathom how you managed to fit so many books in there. Your iconic personality as you rode your bike across the campus mall every day permeated throughout MSUM and gave me an odd sense of school spirit and belonging in this completely new environment, and I’m confident I wasn’t the only one that felt it. I remember the day you asked me to wait after class and showed me your diplomatic passport, which filled me with tremendous pride to be under the tutelage and mentorship of a man of such exceptional background.
Today, I am a sophomore studying abroad at the University of Oslo, something which I again owe to your guidance and inspiration. And if there is one thing I think I’ll ever regret about my university experience- is that was never able to take more classes with Dr. Andrew Conteh.
I wish you happiness in wherever life takes you next Professor Conteh. I thank you for inspiring so many that walked through the halls of MSUM, including a clueless boy from India and I wish you all the best in getting all those books out of your office. I hope that someday our paths cross again.
Thanking you for all you’ve done,
When Khizr Khan pulled out a pocket Constitution during his speech at the Democratic National Convention this summer, we immediately wondered if he had taken a class from you, Dr. Conteh. We both have very fond memories of your pocket Constitution, as well as the joy, positive energy, and inspiration you brought to every class. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with students for so many years.
Happy Retirement! We wish you all the best in the next chapter of your life.
-Wendy Reiner ‘94 and Steve Gelinske ‘95
The legendary Dr. Andrew Conteh, Professor of Political Science at Minnesota State University Moorhead retires at the end of the Fall 2016 semester. This blog is a place for any who wish to pass along a tribute to him may do so electronically. Contact me, Dr. Barb Headrick (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details on posting on this blog. This is only one way we are celebrating Andrew and all that he has done. I’ll post information to keep all those interested updated.