With bittersweet hearts, we present to you more than just the last paper of the academic year, but also a shift in The Duke’s internal staff. With the end of the semester, we say goodbye to Robert “Bobby” Kerlik, who has been The Duke’s academic advisor for 10 years.
His advisory position and role at The Duke may not be apparent to readers, but it was through his guidance that we were able to bring hard-hitting and encapsulating stories to life. Throughout the Chick-Fil-A concerns, Student Government Association issues and many other controversial topics, Bobby helped keep the staff focused and honest throughout all of our reporting.
Bobby has been a member of The Duke family for almost two decades, starting as a staff writer in 2000. He quickly became the Sports Editor and graduated from Duquesne University with a B.A. in Journalism.
In his professional life, Bobby worked at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for 12 years, and in 2015, he became the Vice President of Media Relations for the Pittsburgh International Airport (named Airport of the Year by Air Transport World Magazine, as he’d be quick to tell you), where he currently works.
Bobby has advised The Duke for 10 years, and the time he has spent has not been left unrecognized. To staff past and present, Bobby has been more than just an advisor. He came into the newsroom on Wednesday nights, treating us not as mere college kids, but young professionals doing a real job. He offered invaluable guidance on ethics and news value, lessons that we’ll take into our future careers.
Bobby always went out of his way to know how the staff was doing and what was going on in their lives outside of the paper. He took the time out of his busy schedule to have real discussions with us and to that, we are thankful beyond words.
From bringing us buffalo fries every Wednesday to helping fund our educational trips to Washington D.C. and Canada, Bobby was willing to let us be college students. He understood the pressures of producing a weekly paper paired with school and knew how to let us have fun at work every now and then.
Don’t just take the praise from us, here’s Maggie Jones Patterson, Duquesne Journalism Professor and Publications Board member:
“Bobby has helped to guide The Duke through rough waters and smooth over the past ten years. His commitment to good journalism practice, his common sense and his deep respect for students have been most apparent and reassuring to me through our many conversations,” she said. “I have counted on him, and I will miss him.”
And here’s Kaye Burnet, former Duke Editor-in-Chief:
“During my four years with The Duke, Bobby was a constant source of wisdom, support and Cajun fries from Milano’s. He answered many late-night texts from me with questions about who to talk to or how to get certain information,” Burnet said.
“He is a staunch defender of student media and always stood up for The Duke in difficult situations. Without his leadership, The Duke would not be the success it is today, and nobody would know how to order printer ink.”
Although he will no longer be academic advisor for The Duke, Bobby will still remain as a member of Duquesne University’s Publications Board.
We at The Duke, want to sincerely wish Bobby well in all of his future endeavors and thank him for all of his time spent in this newsroom. So we leave you with these words, as our own intrepid leader said in his farewell column in 2003 finishing his editing days at The Duke:
“Warm up the waxer and paste your pages, make the PDFs and finish proofreading because I’m out. Let’s go to the bar.”