Mr. Bruhl’s uplifting obit, Irish American University, ospreys

For now at least, the American College Delaware of Irish American University is wholly contained in this storefront on the first floor of the Captain's Quarters condominiums in Lewes. BY DENNIS FORNEY
March 21, 2014

The Walter George Bruhl obituary published in our Friday, March 14 edition and on sure did strike a chord. As of Wednesday afternoon, March 19, the self-penned obituary had been read by more than 500,000 visitors to the Cape Gazette website. News organizations from all over the world picked up the link to Mr. Bruhl’s magnum opus.

Chord is the operative word in the viral nature of what happened. There were several single and quirky notes in the obituary that raised eyebrows and smiles. But together, all of those notes blended for a beautiful chord that resonated deep into our collective soul, touching a unity that always seeks to be shared.

Mr. Bruhl ended on such a positive and sharing note himself: “Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor, unfortunate soul in his name.” Many people commented online that they will do just that.

My daughter Meredith called me from Annapolis when she heard buzz in her office about the obituary. I told her at that point the obituary, sent to us from the funeral home in Florida that handled Mr. Bruhl’s arrangements, had already received more than 300,000 views on our website.

Her reaction has stayed with me: “Aren’t you glad it wasn’t a story about a pedophile or a murder getting all that attention?”

Yes I am, and, how sweet it is. Thank you, Walter.

Lewes university still breathing

Riding around Monday morning, assessing the effects of the latest edition of the weekly snowfall, I noticed the sign for the Irish American University on the first floor of the Captain’s Quarters condominiums on Savannah Road in Lewes. I hadn’t noticed the sign before. At least St. Patrick’s Day was a good day to notice.

Don Ross told me the sign’s been up and the office operating for more than a year. Don is the driving force behind the founding of Wilmington University, Lynn University in Florida, and the Irish American University in Dublin and Delaware.

The Dublin location has been up and running for several years with students from all over the world enrolled. It and the Delaware location have both received accreditation from the Middle States organization, which gives them legitimacy and qualifies students for financial aid. All the American College Delaware needs is a location to start operating. “We’re still looking for a location suitable for the college,” said Ross. “And we would like to be in Lewes. The economic impact to Lewes in the off-season would be wonderful for everybody. We’re awaiting an opportunity.”

Ross intimated that a possible site may be in the works but said it is still too premature to discuss in detail.

Meanwhile, he said the Lewes office is staffed and operating, and processing applications and paperwork for student-exchange programs involving Europe. “These things take time,” he said, referring to getting another college up and running. But his track record shows he knows what he’s doing, and it often involves baby steps.

“Remember,” he told me one time. “Most of the colleges and universities of the world probably started out with one teacher and one student sitting on a log.”

Ospreys are back

There have been photos here and there, but on Wednesday morning my own bare eyes saw an osprey flying building-high over the streets of Lewes. They’re usually here a week or so before St. Patrick’s Day, but I think this year’s weather has slowed their northerly migration. It’s nice to have them back.