In 1977, I enrolled at the Teachers College at Bethlehem University as a transfer student from Bir Zeit College. Br. Joe was then the president of the University and he used to teach some courses for the English major. I took two courses with him: Linguistics and Communication. He was one of the best teachers, yet tough. No student dared be absent from his class.
Upon graduating from the University, I went into Br. Joe’s office to inquire about the possibility of a job in the Library. Having known me as a student, he offered me a part-time job at the Circulation Desk. A year later, he nominated me for an Amideast scholarship for an MA in Library Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. Upon completion of my MA in 1981, I came back to fulfill my service obligation and assumed the headship of the Arabic Technical Services.
To you Br. Joe, I attribute the start of my employment at Bethlehem University that has continued to the present day.
Br. Joe was known for taking pride in his friendship with the students from the Bethlehem Refugee camps. He boasted feeling safe while wandering around Bethlehem during the Intifada of 1987 because of his many friends and acquaintances in town.
Br. Joe’s love for the Palestinians was no less than that of his countrymen.
Be assured Br. Joe that you have a special place in the memory of Bethlehem University and of many Palestinians. Rest in peace.