Agora adviser puts down the pen

Dan Shaw completed one of his earliest assignments years before he was adviser of the Agora.

Throughout my years within student journalism, I’ve met many great people. However, none have had the level of patience, wisdom, and intellect as Daniel Shaw. To put it simply, he’s the grandfather I wish I had. Although my time working with him has been brief, no individual within an academic setting has shown the level of selflessness he has. A true mentor, he’s opened new opportunities for me to expand my journalism skills beyond the classroom, which I’ll appreciate for long after Dan has left the news room.  Have fun being retired, Dan— not that I’d expect any less— and thank you.

Jordan Jewell 2019-2020 Assitant Editor


Dan Shaw is one of the most influential professors this college has to offer. Within his seemingly endless tangents and stories, there is a clear personality that many students cannot help but to admire. His dedication to his students and his career in journalism is a clear focus of his teaching. Dan is focused on encouraging his students to go beyond their comfort zone and explore the unknown. He can also see the potential within his students and pushes them to be their very best. He was even capable of convincing one of is more foolish students (me) into joining the student paper. It is because of Dan that I have discovered a love of the world of journalism and for that I am incredibly thankful.

Dan Shaw is truly a one of a kind professor that will certainly be missed. Good luck in your retirement Dan!

Lydia Sandefur 2018-2019 Staff


My professor Dan Shaw had a profound effect on my enthusiasm for storytelling and journalism. Dan is a rare kind of person whose tenacity is equally matched by his kindness. He is a stepping stone all students should meet; those who have been lucky enough to work with him have found a better community and career because of him.

I have happily introduced Dan to my friends, siblings, and parents because I think he is such a kind-hearted and intelligent person. I wish everyone could have a chance to meet him. I have jokingly referred to Dan as Mr. Rogers but the comparison speaks for itself. Dan is kind, considerate, and always very respectful of his students.

He allows students to take the lead without abandoning them, and he is always at the other end of the table. And while the thought of him being further is sad no one deserves a happy retirement more than Dan. He has so openly and happily given himself to his career and those who work with him. His stories inspire students in journalism and they prepare us for the real world. We learn to look for the Mr. Rogers of the world, the gems. We learn to look for Dan.

Rose Younglove 2018-2019 Staff


Dan Shaw is a natural guide. With a strong sense of intuition and a sometimes childlike curiosity, he has led the Agora to great heights. Though he never received the formal education to be a professor, he had a talent that was apparent to all of MCCC in his eleven years here. Personally, Dan has been a mentor to me, not just at the Agora, or in Journ. 151, or Comm. 151, but in life. He has such a colorful life that has inspired me to take more risks and take more of the opportunities that come my way. Which is a lesson that life continually teaches us time and time again, because, it is something that stays relevant through the course of our life. Dan has taught me this.

Dan really saw the potential in me as a writer, while I might have not been the most obvious candidate to join the staff, I felt right at home since my first meeting. I love MCCC and the Agora is a way to reflect this with my writing. Dan had always pushed writing from a passionate stance and being comfortable with your topic. The lessons he taught me about pre-professional journalism I will carry with me throughout the course of my whole life. I feel so blessed to know and work with Dan Shaw.

Claire Bechard 2018-2019 Staff


Dan is an exceptional professor and an interesting guy in general. He has supplied me with everything I know about journalism. He showed me better ways to write my articles and even how to determine what material had the potential to be a good article in the first place. It has been a great experience working for the Agora and having been his student. I hope he enjoys his retirement and travels as he likes to. I am grateful to Dan for being an extraordinarily great professor and introducing me to the world of journalism.

Michael Nixon 2018-2019 Staff


Before the Agora, I had always focused my writing on formal papers for my college classes. However, Professor Shaw saw this formal writing in Intro to Mass Media and knew I had the potential to be a great journalist. Without his interest, I do not think I would have ever discovered my talent as a journalist. As I started on the Agora, I was very nervous and unsure of my writing. Luckily, he was there to guide me through interviews, the writing process, and page design. I was lucky to work on the Agora for two semesters with Professor Shaw.

I have quickly come to regard Professor Shaw as an intelligent and kind person. He has shared stories and knowledge from his past experiences to help students learn and reach their potential. It is clear that he has had an adventurous life and career that has allowed him to inspire and encourage students. I believe that this will continue after his retirement, as he has created many lasting relationships with students and community members. MCCC has been very fortunate to learn from Professor Shaw, as he is such an experienced journalist and caring person.

Maya Ganier 2018-2019 Staff


Dan has made this past year of classes and life much more enjoyable and important. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I would be.
Because of Dan, my life has made a lot of changes and I have met many new, important people that enrich my life each day.
Through Dan, I enjoyed the Agora and my knowledge of writing, media, and culture has increased exponentially. It is with this increase in knowledge and skills that I was able to become an intern at Monroe News, to which I am very thankful for.
Dan is much more than a normal professor, he’s a mentor and friend.
He always has fun witty stories, smart (sometimes sarcastic) responses, and his smile lights up the biggest of rooms.
Even though he is retiring, I know he is not gone from the Agora nor is he gone from my life.
Thank you Dan, for everything.

Todd Salisbury 2019-20 Editor


I was never quite sure what to make of the short man in blue at the front of my Journalism class.  It took me the majority of the semester to decide I liked him. It took me longer to decide we would be friends. But it will take me forever to forget him. 
The thing I’ll miss most about Dan Shaw are his stories. He would constantly stop class to tell us a story to teach us about journalism, or being a good reporter, or about life.  
I’ve already used so much of what he’s taught me and will continue to carry the things I’ve learned from him with me and use them in so many of the things I’ll do.
Some of my favorite times on the paper have been when he turned to me, stopped what he was doing, and started a story. I was never invisible to him.
He introduced me to the Agora and then gave me a shove towards it when I hesitated.
That was what he did; push me to do things I still can’t believe I was able to do.
I was always the quiet one who never gave spoke in class, and who never ever thought about writing for a paper. And yet here I am, working as one of the editors of the Agora.  
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for seeing me and teaching me and believing in me when I needed it most.

Cassidy Maier – 2018-19 Editor


Rarely have I met a nicer, more optimistic, conscientious, or wise human being than Dan Shaw. Nor one with a more wicked-yet-understated sense of humor. I say all this without hyperbole, as Dan really is that amazing. The phrase “one of a kind” fits like a glove.
I feel safe in knowing that the lessons he has passed down to me will stick with me for decades to come.
Always be objective in your reporting. Never go alone in a major metropolitan area. Don’t try to kill a shark with only a camp hatchet and your bare hands. Never give a mother cassowary reason to distrust you. Those last two are very long stories; ask him about them!
But more than anything, what I’ll miss most about Dan is just seeing him regularly. I consider him to be family, like all of my Agora colleagues, and leaving family always hurts. Things won’t be the same without him – 
at the college, in my life, or any of the others he’s touched over the years.
There’s so much more I could say and stories I could tell. I’ll settle for this: Thank you so much, Dan.

James P. Quick – 2018-19 Editor


I have never met someone so passionate about his career and love for students until I walked into his office. Professor Dan Shaw took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know about advertising and illustrating. I would’ve never thought in a million years that I would be working on a newspaper staff, and I couldn’t have been paired with a better group lead by a greater individual. I never knew my grandfathers, but I would definitely consider him a fine substitution. With his kind-hearted nature and unique personality, Dan will always hold a special place in my heart now and forever. I will always remember the times he encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, and the time he told me that even though I only do illustrations for the paper, I will end up writing articles sooner or later. He was right. He predicted my future of writing articles and creating illustrations, and I am beyond proud to say that I’ve worked beside him and grown to know him over the three years I have worked on the Agora staff. May God bless you now and forever more Dan!

Cheyanne Abel – 2016-19 Staff


Truly encapsulating everything I want to say about Dan Shaw would take far more than the words I’ve been allotted, but I’m sure going to give it the old MCCC try.
When I think of memories of Dan, I always go back to our first meeting. 
Shortly after my English professor told me she thought I would make a good fit for the Agora, I set up an interview.
I distinctly remember telling Dan how I was hoping there were some non-writing positions available. When Dan said “I think you can try writing too,” I recoiled.
As usual, Dan knew best.
Dan helped mold me from someone who backed into sentences, buried quotes and didn’t know the difference between a nut graph and a lead, into someone who could write well enough to freelance for a professional news organization.
Anyone who has been on the Agora leaves a better writer – because Dan always listens and is always available to help.
Outside of my parents and brother, there is no one who has had a bigger impact on my life than Dan.
So, thank you Dan. For always believing in me, for encouraging me, and for being my mentor and friend.

Vanessa Ray – 2017-18 Editor


What does Dan mean to me?
Well, he was the first person to take me to the place I now call home. The Agora staff goes on an annual trip to NYC for a journalism conference. My year as editor was no exception. We spent our days in the city attending lectures, wandering around museums, and running through the streets trying to keep up with Dan. Three years later, when he took his last group of students, one of their stops was meeting me. 
I also traveled abroad with Dan to Italy and Greece. We sat silently in cathedrals. I watched him beat a student in basketball. There was also the time we chose to forgo the lift up to Santorini and climbed 600 steps alongside donkeys instead.
Though those are all good memories, Dan is more than a fearless leader. He was my first friend on campus. Without him, I would have never been the editor of the Agora. And if I wasn’t editor, I wouldn’t be able to say I have interviewed the Student Government president on live television; I have worked for Monroe News; I have given a commencement speech at graduation; and above all, I have lifelong college friends

Leah Thomas – 2016-17 Editor


I learned many things from Dan Shaw in my time attending his classes, serving as the editor of the Agora, and traveling with him on school trips. I always saw an example of someone who weighed their options, and made their best attempt to be unbiased.
I sometimes reflect on those memories in my professional life now, and remember them as examples of how to be fair. It made an impression on me that he refused to publicly identify with a political party as well, after such a long career. 
Another sentiment I’ve heard from many other students is how kind of a person Dan has always been. There were times over the three years I knew Dan that I probably disappointed him, but he was always nice, even if I pushed his limits.
He also seemed to enjoy elaborating on any topic and sharing his experiences. I tried to take those opportunities to acquire a little bit of knowledge about the given subject, whatever it happened to be.
But I think just maybe the best thing I learned from Dan was actually fashion-related. He always bought blue shirts because, according to him, he knew he couldn’t go wrong with that color. And well, it’s worked for me ever since.

Jacob Adams – 2015-16 Editor

When I graduated from Monroe County Community College in May 2016, I wasn’t sure what was ahead. Yet as I applied at universities, I knew I’d received a solid foundation on which I could pursue my dreams. My education at MCCC was highly influential in shaping my career trajectory. These formative experiences were in no small part due to one particularly wise and patient mentor: Dan Shaw.  
A multimedia course was the first I took with Dan, where he hooked me on a singular idea: a career in storytelling. To be honest, I don’t remember much else from that class, it serving only now as a memory of the beginning of the rest of my life. I wasn’t sure at the time what it all meant, but knew I was determined to become a storyteller.
It wasn’t long before I was conscripted as a reporter for The Agora – and only a year later that I was working as co-editor of the student newspaper. As Dan taught me the ropes of journalism, he was also instrumental in helping me get accepted into Michigan State University’s journalism school where I followed my growing passion for documentary filmmaking.

E. Evan Kutz – 2015-16 Editor

It is not a stretch to say that Dan Shaw changed my life. I’m positive that any other student who has spent a significant amount of time with him would say the same. Dan assumed a natural mentor role to all of his students, as well as the role of an occasional life coach to those of us trying to navigate their first few years of college/adult life. 
I had very little idea of what I wanted to do when I came to MCCC in 2012, fresh out of high school. Dan’s introduction to journalism was my very first college course, in the basement of the C building, and the fact that I have a degree in journalism today has everything to do with him. 
I could probably go on about the countless memories I have with Dan that I’ll always be grateful for, but I have a feeling that not everyone subscribes to his philosophy of ‘a story should be exactly as long as it needs to be.’ I’ve got a word count, Dan. I’m sure that you will continue to change lives, even in retirement, like you changed mine. 

Julia Wells — 2013-14 Editor

“You get to do this once in your career,” he told me nearly a decade ago. “Are you sure you want this to be it?”
Stone-faced and without a trace of his ever-present humor, Dan Shaw shifted through one of the first articles I’d ever written for The Agora. Humoring him, I shook my head and said I’d rewrite my lead. He smiled and handed back my story.
My journalistic sin – beginning a story with a quote – had seemed insignificant at the time. Years later, the impact Dan’s guidance and mentorship has had on my career and education is far from insignificant, though.
Dan instilled in me the importance of news and its ability to shape the world. He also showed me that writing is a craft – one that requires thought and skill. Whenever I edit, write or design, I think of what he taught me, and even when I least expect it, his wisdom and advice continues to follow me.    
And I know one day, when I find a subject matter worthy enough of being the focus of my one and only story that begins with a quote, I’ll think of him then too.

Tyler Eagle — 2011-12 Editor


I first met Dan Shaw back in 2008 during my first year on the Agora. That same year was also Dan’s first year as the new adviser. That first year, we worked together and learned a lot for never having produced a college newspaper before. With Dan’s previous experience in journalism and working for different publications, I wouldn’t have been able to get through those first few years as editor. No matter how many times I got frustrated and wanted to give up, I knew I could rely on his guidance. My fondest memories with Dan involve the two journalism conferences in New York City that he made possible for the staff to attend. Dan was able to get a grant for us to experience the Big Apple itself and the hub of where journalism dreams, become a reality. It truly was an experience I will never forget. Dan was a great mentor and with everything he has accomplished in his career, he has a lot to be proud of. I wish him the very best on his retirement! Congratulations Dan! You deserve it.

Jennifer Niswender — 2009-10 Editor


Dan was not what I expected, but he became much more. I, along with a few staff members, had the chance to partake in the interviewing process for a new Agora adviser. After being an editor-in-chief a year I knew what our staff needed. While Dan had the experience, I was worried since he had not taught previously he would not know how to aid us properly in our ventures to become journalists. However, it was in my second year, with Dan as my adviser, where I officially decided to study Secondary Education with hopes to teach English and journalism. I had learned that being an editor was like being a teacher; a leadership role filled with opportunities to guide, correct, encourage and praise my staff in their writing and design. Since Dan had already worked for years as an editor for a newspaper, he had already lived the life of a teacher, just in the workplace. He took his experience and gave us perspective and insight from every angle. Now as a teacher, incorporating writing, design and journalism into my lessons, I thank Dan for his influence and am honored to have had him as an inspirational teacher.

Emily Chandonnet — 2008-09 Editor