Resident Guru Inspires Molloy Students
For over forty years, Dr. John Yanovitch has been sharing his passion for the pursuit of wisdom as a professor in the Department of Philosophy at Molloy. During his long tenure as a faculty member at the College, Dr. Yanovitch has inspired thousands of students with his charismatic teaching style, spell-binding oratory and profound understanding of the human condition. If that weren't enough, John has recently embarked on a new direction in his professional life-that of a published poet.
John Yanovitch arrived at Molloy College in 1976 after completing his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Fordham University. Prior to that, he had been a medical student at Harvard Medical School, but came to realize that philosophy was his true calling. From the moment that he arrived at Molloy, Dr. Yanovitch knew that he had found the place where he would spend the rest of his career. "Molloy College is one of the most caring institutions that I know of," he said. "We just don't accept students; we embrace them. That's definitely the kind of place where I want to be teaching."
What any student who has had the privilege of taking a philosophy class with Dr. Yanovitch will tell you is that he is a master teacher who knows how to make even a difficult subject like philosophy compelling and life changing. "Dr. Yanovitch has lived a rich life, learned, loved and lost," said Philosophy major Rayaz Khan. "And all of that comes out in his teaching in a way that is truly engaging, inspiring, entertaining and thought-provoking."
"The thing that I love the most about Dr. Yanovitch," said Biology major Kimberly Doyle, "is the way he listens to you when you are speaking; he gives you his full attention, not only in the classroom but in any conversation. He genuinely cares about the lives of his students," Doyle said. 'He definitely would make the top three in my list of people I wouldn't mind being stuck in an elevator for six hours with. If that ever happened, we'd have fantastic conversation for a while and then meditate for the rest of the time. I know that the time would just fly by!"
What John will tell you is that he is the one who has truly benefitted from his relationship with Molloy students over the years. "I've learned more from my students than they've ever learned from me," he said. "Being able to interact with students both in and out of the classroom has been the greatest blessing of my life."
Indeed, during the course of his remarkable career at Molloy, Dr. Yanovitch has been much more than just a typical professor. As a practitioner of Zen for over three decades, he has introduced students to his own unique brand of Buddhist philosophy and meditation. His dharma talks, which have been given all around the New York region, are boisterous and provocative. And, almost always include the exhortation to "stop thinking so much and start really experiencing life." For many Molloy students, John has not just been a professor, but an inspiring spiritual guide-one who has made them reflect on their human experience in deeper and more profound ways than they ever thought possible.
At a time in their lives when most professionals are content to rest on their laurels, Dr. Yanovitch boldly decided that it was time that he shared his lifelong love for poetry with the world. Earlier this year, he collected 58 years of poems and published them under the title, Honey on the Razor's Edge: Collected Poems, 1960-2017 (New York: Ars Omnia Press, 2018). The title, which reflects his own philosophy of life, refers to the ability to see beauty and meaning in a world that is often filled with adversity and suffering.
Welcome to this poem:
built onto this space, crafted
and placed into this whiteness,
this emptiness filled fluid and flowing
with its syllabic pace parceled
out and through its music, its rhythm
and the play of its words dancing
with time and tempo on this page.
Its invitation is to this stage,
this theater subtly beckoning
the reader to engage self and other
in this venue created to renew feeling
and the sensed sensations
that only these words and images
can call up for encounter and review.
To redo this memory, to relive
this opportunity to laugh and to wail
once more, to stutter-step and dance,
recede and assail, step away from
or adore. Welcome! Oh, welcome
to this poem that can do all this
and so much, even so much more.
All it ever will require is will,
the desire to birth need,
and the spark to set fire to flame.
Feed, reader! Feed here on this poem —
and nothing will ever be the same.