Luke Henne | Editor-in-Chief
April 20, 2023
This is the one I’ve been dreading writing. I’m no good at goodbyes. I’m no good with change. I’m no good with uncertainty.
I remember officially arriving at Duquesne in August 2019. After one day of classes, I called my mom, crying and telling her that this whole college thing wasn’t for me.
Fortunately, I was wrong.
I knew from the time I was 10 years old that I wanted a career in the sports media industry, but I even hesitated to join The Duke until the end of my freshman year — I was uneasy about the change that it would bring about in my life.
As I look back and prepare for graduation, all I can say is how thankful I am that I took the chance and joined The Duke. I don’t say this lightly, but my three years here — one as a staff writer, one as the sports editor and one as the editor-in-chief — have been the best three years of my life.
This newsroom has not only enabled my growth as a writer and as an aspiring sports media professional, but it’s also cultivated friendships and relationships that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
I love what we’ve accomplished as a staff in my time here. I’m indebted to the fellow writers and editors who’ve not only made my job easier, but who’ve also made this newsroom a place I GET to come to every Wednesday night.
I want to take some time to recognize all the integral people in my life who’ve made this journey so enjoyable and worthwhile.
To Mom and Dad — thank you for always believing in me, and for letting me live out my dream. You’ve always pushed me to work relentlessly to achieve what I want, and I wouldn’t have made it this far without your love and support.
To other family, friends and loved ones, especially: Gooch, Grandma and Grandpa (my grandparents), my great aunt Kathy, Brendan (my brother), Jordan and Rachel (my sisters) and Katherine (my girlfriend) — thank you for always hyping me up and telling me not only what I want to hear, but what I need to hear to humble myself sometimes.
To Professor Healy — thank you for selling me on Duquesne. I’ll never forget how timid I was the first time I met you in April 2018. You eased all my worries and made this a place that I wanted to come to. I consider you to be one of my greatest mentors.
To Dr. Walck and Dr. Dillon — thank you for helping me grow and gain confidence as a young writer. Without each of you, I might’ve never had the confidence I needed to take on larger roles at The Duke.
To David Borne and Adam Lindner — thank you for encouraging me to get involved at The Duke, and for recognizing my potential. You two each set a standard for what it means to be a sports editor, and you laid the foundation for me to be successful here.
To Paula Ward — thank you for making sure I took the editor-in-chief position. I was so uncertain in my level of capability when it came to holding this position, but you instilled all your faith and belief in me. I’m so grateful that you did.
To Dave Saba, Paul Hightower, Liam Halferty, Andrew Woodley and Alex Pepke — thank you for making my life so much easier when it came to covering Duquesne’s athletic teams. Each and every one of you worked tirelessly to make my job easier, and I’m very appreciative of all that you’ve done for organizations like The Duke.
To Dan Hart and Michelle Crechiolo — thank you for taking a chance on me. You each gave me an opportunity to work for my boyhood teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins. Both of you said that my work at The Duke helped me to stand out during the respective interview stages, and my time working alongside each of you has made me not only a more-seasoned individual in the sports media landscape, but a better professional as well. I appreciate all the guidance that each of you has given me.
To Isabella Abbott, Alicia Dye, Emily Fritz, Capri Scarcelli and Nicholas Zotos — thank you for holding down the fort in your respective sections during your time working with me. Each of you always came ready to work every single Wednesday, and you could always be counted on to make sure that your job was done right. I have immense respect for the work ethic that each and every one of you brought to the table on a weekly basis.
To Zach Petroff — thank you for always being ready to pick up a story when asked, give me a compliment I probably don’t deserve or just be a genuinely good person. Whether it’s 3AM or I am UNWELL, I know that you’ll always be there to PUSH me around.
To Spencer Thomas — thank you for being the second-best sports editor that has served the staff this year. The sports section will greatly benefit from having you back as its editor (must’ve been nice to complete a semester from Italy). It was fun filling in for you this semester, but I have no doubt that you’ll take this section to new heights. Don’t let that go to your head, though, because I know there’s a good chance you will.
To Emma Polen — thank you for quickly becoming one of my best friends here at Duquesne. Before this semester, I knew what you were capable of. But you’ve exceeded even my expectations — I witnessed it firsthand in our coverage of the Dr. Iwuchukwu story. From that point forward, I knew that I was leaving this paper in the proper hands. You are going to crush it as the next one in charge of The Duke.
To Brentaro Yamane — thank you for taking every step of my college journey with me. I mentioned that uneasy first day of college earlier. By the second day, when we officially met at Hogan Dining Hall, I felt comfortable here. You quickly became my best friend, and we’ve tackled it all together — roommates for three years, classmates for four years, co-anchors at Duquesne Student Television, editors at The Duke and best friends. I don’t like to pick favorites, but my life is not going to be the same without you. I’m going to miss you a lot.
There’s a good chance that I missed a large amount of people that are owed thanks. An abundance of students and faculty turned my four years on the Bluff into years that I will never forget.
Like I said in the open, I am not a fan of change or uncertainty. I’m excited to graduate on May 5, but I’m also genuinely scared.
I’m currently spending another season with my beloved Buccos, but I am uneasy about where my future will take me after I walk across the stage at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse — where I spent plenty of nights covering the men’s and women’s basketball teams — in just over two weeks.
However, just like my mom told me on that day nearly four years ago — it’s unbelievable how fast time goes — I’m here because I belong here. Wherever my career takes me, I will be able to sleep easy knowing that that’s the place I’m meant to be.
I’m honored and humbled that, for the past four years, Duquesne is the place I got to call home. I’m even more appreciative of the fact that 113 College Hall — aka the newsroom — was the place I got to spend 14 Wednesdays a semester for each of the last two years.
I only live half an hour away in Cranberry Township, Pa., but this place and the people here have become a second home for me.
When I completed my first day of classes as a freshman, I cried and cried because I didn’t think I was capable of succeeding here. Now, I’m going to cry because I don’t want to leave this place.
The newsroom has become my safe space. My happy place. Even on other days of the week, other editors and myself gather here to work, talk and enjoy each other’s company.
Paula and I met last summer to discuss what my vision was for the paper coming into the 2022-23 academic year, and I found myself continually arriving at the same goal: make this a place where people — writers and editors — want to come, not where they have to come.
Sure, I’ll walk away from The Duke with plenty of portfolio items and a career path that’s only been bolstered since I started working here — I told you I need to be humbled sometimes. Despite those two truths, if I leave 113 College Hall knowing that those that I’ve fostered a relationship with — either personally or professionally — enjoyed coming here and enjoyed being with one another on a weekly basis, then I’ll know that it was all worth it and that I was successful.
With that, I leave Emma in charge of this paper. After 28 weeks leading the way, it’s her turn to help The Duke continue to not only succeed, but to excel.
Thank you to everyone who contributed along the way. It was a pleasure to work here every week, and I’m sure going to miss it.