MICHAEL ANDREW LITTLE
August 10, 1969 – July 27, 2018
A Celebration of the Life of Andy Little
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, University of Houston
On July 27, the Honors College lost a cherished member of the family. Professor Andy Little unexpectedly passed away. He is survived by a son, Jacob, a political science major and an outstanding member of the Honors College. Professor Little also leaves a vast library of well-loved and well-worn books and a legacy of devoted students, colleagues, and alumni for whom he had been a friend, mentor, and advisor for many years.
A 1993 Honors College graduate with majors in political science and English, Professor Little did his graduate work in political philosophy at Fordham University in New York City. He returned to the University of Houston and has been teaching and advising in the Honors College and the Department of Political Science since 1997. A ravenous reader always ready for discussion of books and ideas, Andy cast himself in the mold of his mentor, Ross Lence, the legendary political theorist, teacher, and advisor.
Professor Little taught in the Human Situation sequence, as well as courses in ancient and medieval philosophy and American political thought. He helped lead students on trips to Turkey, Israel, and Greece and created a Shakespeare Reading Group that was working through all 37 of the Bard’s plays, one each month. Andy hosted numerous book clubs and dinner parties, on campus or in his home, during which he would invoke Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes—and William Faulkner—to rapt audiences who delighted in his prismatic imagination. He saw himself as a goalie of the mind, keeping the intellectual game alive by blocking each seemingly unassailable shot.
Everyone who knew Professor Little will have a memory of a special meal he prepared, a conversation that ended in laughter, or an exciting hallway discussion of a great text. Please share yours below.
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Tributes to Professor Little
Shannon (Parrish) Singleterry
Andy was the kind and gracious colleague who appeared at the end of (almost every) evening Honors events to walk me to my car because he somehow knew I was afraid. Andy was the smile in the hallway gently encouraging me to get out and join him for karaoke because he could tell I needed it. Andy was the precious soul who guided me onstage and said, look at me not them. Let’s just sing together. I’ll never know how you knew I was in such a bad spot, but God bless you. Andy, I know you are giving a commanding performance wherever you are. God speed.
It really is difficult to believe that although life feels like such a long journey, it can still be so fleeting. I met Professor Little at the beginning of my college career in January 2018. He was helping me decide which minor would be best suited for me to take in the Honors College. From the moment we spoke, he was making jokes and welcoming me with real talk about what to expect as a transfer student from Lone Star College. He was a delight to be around, and I pray that his legacy lives on at the University of Houston. My condolences to his family, close friends, and staff that worked closely with him. His presence will be a staple in my mind when I remember the steps of my path at UH.
Andy meant so much to students over the 25 years that he worked in Honors and the several years that the was advisor in the Political Science department. Professor Lence told me several times that Andy was the "best student he had ever had," and Ross had dozens of superb students. Andy literally transformed the lives of dozens and dozens of students. He did so because he loved books, and he read and remembered with meticulous detail what he read--and he had one of the most inquisitive minds I have ever encountered. He loved the life of the mind, just loved conversing. Sometimes he, I thought, was chasing down rabbit holes on the basis of slight evidence from the text; but that was a part of his charm, that touch of quirkiness and oddness: one seldom could anticipate altogether where he was going with his analysis of the texts. He was a player, as was his teacher Dr. Lence, a player with ideas and possibilities. His loss is as, Dr. Monroe commented to me, a signal event in the life of the Honors College at the University of Houston. Those who knew, loved, and depended on him will miss him dearly; those who will miss the opportunity to know him will not be able to imagine what they miss. His absence, much like that of his teacher, will be felt for decades. I am sad.
About Andy ... There is so much to say, and it does not seem as though I should indulge myself by saying all of it. I will try to capture my most powerful memories.
Most importantly, Andy was a friend. For a while Andy parked near where I parked, and I would walk with him for a bit on our way in the morning. I know he was a philosopher, but our talks were not about philosophy. They were about life. He would share some clever insight, and I would try to share something I thought was equally clever. Not just clever, but also meaningful, in our own way. Of course, our times performing as Headmaster were wonderful and funny, and his work was amazing in those skits. He worked with me on advising students, and his command of the subtleties of the curricula was helpful to me, and more importantly, to our students. He was an invaluable ally in helping students through our engineering degree plans while staying in Honors. In the past few years, his work extracting data from the UH student database was very valuable to me in my role in Honors. I have not heard many people speak of Andy as a programmer, but his work on these reports was computer programming, and not trivial. I am not sure why it would be surprising to me that a philosopher was an adept programmer; it should not have been. I do know that I appreciated his work, and his ability to not just do the work, but explain it to me. I will remember that. Still, my most enduring memory will be of Andy as the good friend he was to me.
Andy and I were only acquainted for 5 or 6 months. A well read guy to say the least. He possessed a sense of humor that was memorable. I will remember him and miss him greatly. May his spirit soar!
Whenever I think of the Honors College, I always think of Andy first.
Just prior to starting freshman year, I was NOT a happy camper, to put it lightly---I had just moved from Chicago and was more or less decided for me (instead of by me) about where I would be going to college. I felt alone and resentful. My father dragged me to the Honors College one day, about a month before the start of the semester. He wanted me to enroll in the Honors College, and was not discouraged by the fact that the deadline for enrollment had long passed.
I don't remember exactly what we talked about with Andy that day. All I remember was walking out of his office with a sense of excitement for college and hopeful that maybe the move to Houston would work out. I always view that meeting as the turning point for me---my depression was replaced by my desire to be as erudite as Andy :)
Over the last several days, I've reflected a great deal on the wonderful Honors College experiences I had---great mentors and friends, interesting reads, and tense discussions. I did not have Andy as my personal instructor, but valued his lectures, his advice, and his brilliant energy. He was the very embodiment of what the Honors College represented to me. I will always be grateful about that fateful first meeting with him.
Andy, who came to so well know the nature of my soul, was my friend at least 18 of the 19 years we knew each other.
1999. Andy hobbling about on one broken foot, terrifying the population of that oft cited course. I honestly did not like the man. But I did like Ross Lence and I made it my mission to steal every free moment of his time. The Good Doctor was already a living legend by then so I was often compelled to wait outside his office for my opportunities. This is where Andy's office was conveniently located and lines outside that door were rare. Eventually, I found myself stealing every moment of Andy's time and I grew to more than enjoy his company. He became a shining example for me of how to be intellectually challenging and yet endearing at the same time. In this respect, I sincerely hope to have become what I beheld and I shall be content that I have done right. Somehow Andy became both father and brother to me during our time. The struggle to emulate him will be an arduous one to be sure.
My diploma states Political Science but a more honest document would declare my co-majors to be Little and Lence. I believe I took every class offered by either during my time. Yet, to hear Andy tell it, I was remembered primarily for one over the top performance of Aristophanes and one attempt to establish the next Tammany Hall within the UH. And while it is true that I once found myself in a position to recommend my Law Hall roommate for a position as election commissioner while running a slate of candidates under my own party, methinks Mr. Little made too much of these facts. A man becomes preeminent, he's expected to have enthusiasms. We shared many.
Andy inspired me time and time again to be a better man. Some of my best memories of college are sitting in the Little living room enjoying a drink and a game of chess before or after a class he was hosting. Jacob was perhaps 3 or 4 years of age at this time and when he was still awake, he would hop behind me from the one couch cushion to another or join in the game himself and always win as he played by his own rules. I remember their evil little dog who would bite at Andy's ankles and growl menacingly any time he attempted to move within his own home. For reasons unknown, he loved that dog.
In 2003, I graduated and moved on to my own failed experiment in graduate school. We stayed in touch and I knew how excited he was about the classes he was teaching but I guess I missed a lot too. I missed the part where he eclipsed the shadow of Il Dottore at some point over the last 15 years. I did not know that he continued to refer to himself as the goalie of the mind after I left. This was originally a joke at my expense and I remember how giddy he was when he first used it.
I visited for Dr. Lence's funeral but I do not remember much of it. The loss then was enormous and shocking. I do remember drinking heavily with Andy later that night. He was always there for me and furnished my mind with so many memories. My heart hurts to know that this set is now also complete. Sadly, I don't think I have any photos of myself and Andy so the memories will have to do.
Time sometimes has a cyclical quality. Now Andy is in a better place. Jacob is a young student at the honors college. And I am a young father, just as Andy was when we first met. I shall enjoy a good drink and I think of Andy Little tonight as I study my chess board. To my great fortune, my opponent is no good. He's only 3. He's more interested in hopping behind me from the one couch cushion to another and when he plays, he always wins as he plays by his own rules.
The mistaken beliefs of many untrained minds have been altered by deep contemplation only to reverse course again now that the final chapter is written. We are finally convinced that the best way to begin is with a good drink on the pristine beaches of the isle of the blessed. I like to think that is where we will find Andy and Ross together in our own good time.
My first "real" conversation with Dr. Little was a Human Situation oral final exam. I was nervous and tried to lead the conversation instead of wait for questions. I brought a chart that I made which linked all the works together and showed how they were all connected. After a few minutes, he smiled and explained to me that my approach wasn't exactly how the exams worked but he appreciated the effort. It would be the beginning of many more great conversations that ranged from discussion of modern day politics, education policy and life. He always challenged me to think deeper and had an extraordinary ability to explain complex political theories.
His intellectual curiosity was inspiring and I appreciated his compassion for students. I'll miss his genuine personality and witty remarks. I'm grateful to call Dr. Little an advisor and friend.
Mr. Little -
You were inspiring (and confounding) to this undergraduate. May you continue the Great Conversation with the Giants in Heaven (esp. Dr. Lence).
With gratitude and respect,
To riff on Andy’s words, the students at the University of Houston are unconsciously divided between “the tall, beautiful, virtuous” students of the Honors College and the “the less tall, less beautiful, brutal” students of the general population. I was the latter. I first met Andy at the end of two years of mediocre grades in chemistry and my causing a small but respectably dangerous fire in the laboratory. I switched majors and found myself in his office at the Political Science Department.
Others have written far better than I can about the depth and magnitude of Andy’s character: his generosity of time; his warmth, wit, and intellect. He challenged me to take Honors courses from the luminaries of the university, including one of his own seminars on the Platonic dialogues, and to “try harder, dammit!” Without those directives I would have opted for an easier, duller trudge through college. Instead, the friendships and memories I’ve kept from those days are as precious to me as any treasure. I shall be eternally grateful.
In my grief for his loss and the loss of those who cared for him, I cannot help but recall how much his life revealed the heart of that ancient student’s hymn: Gaudeamus igitur; juvenes dum sumus. “Let us rejoice, therefore, while we are young.” Andy Little embodied that joy of scholarship, which he shared with so many of us.
Professor Little was my go-to advisor in the Honors College. He saved me from several near-disastrous scheduling mistakes, including one that if I didn't catch, would've prevented me from graduating on time and attending graduate school. He never minded if I asked him the same question ten times (just to make sure) or had unrealistic expectations about how many classes I could take in one semester. I always made advising appointments with him because I knew he would have a kind word or a funny joke to share during our sessions. College is a whirlwind of experiences and I've forgotten many people from the University of Houston, but I will always remember Professor Little and how he helped me enjoy a challenging and amazing time of my life.
This picture makes me smile.
I will thoroughly miss arguing with you, Sir <3.
Andy and I crossed paths many times over the course of 2 years before we actually became friends in 2016. Perhaps without knowing it, he both contributed to AND got me through one of the hardest times in my life. The first time he and I got "acquainted" properly was when he saw me falling apart and sobbing hysterically in public--something that I never do. He came over, offered me some water, and talked me through what was possibly the worst night of my life. Since then, Andy and I have seen each other through many highs and lows over the past 2 years. We have been confidants to one another, we have had many confessional moments and many private conversations that have shaped me into the person I am today. I don't think he ever knew how much I cared for him, but I see Andy in everything now. He was a darn good friend and a great person to work with. Every single time I thought I was going to fail, I would march into his office and demand his opinion and advice, because he was one of the few people in Honors who really made me feel both welcome and wanted. He knew and understood me better than most people, and I miss him dearly.
Michelle SuttlesYou were such a light to my soul everytime I would see you it was such this huge smile it makes anyone smile back. Wish you honestly knew how bright of a light you truly were. Our karaoke nights will never be the same without our professor Andy singing Counting Crows. You had such passion just touched people. To the most intriguing and illteligent humans I ever had the honor to know. You will forever be in my heart ... rest in peace my brother ...
To the professor and advisor who always surprised me with his opinions, who had a distinctly different way of reading any text, who always found the little details and implications that made philosophy interesting - thank you. I'm sad to hear that you're gone.
I'm heartbroken about this. Andy had such a huge impact on my life, the way that I see the world, and the person that I have become. He is the reason that I became a political theory professor. He taught the first class I ever took in college, a course on Plato and the Pre-Socratics, and I diligently followed him through the university for many classes afterward. He chaired my senior Honors thesis on Plato's Symposium, led in me in independent study on Faulkner where we'd meet weekly at a cafe, and entertained me for countless hours when I would, like many of his students, drop by his office when I was aimless and not sure what to do with myself. He would never ask why we were there. He'd simply start a conversation on something that would pop into his brilliant head, and it would be the most exciting conversation you could have. There are too many memories to share, like the time when he heard that I had not seen "A Fish Called Wanda" and an appalled look came over his face as he said, "And you call yourself a scholar, Miss. Now, you have your assignment for tonight. Come back tomorrow to discuss." Like the time when I was a graduate student and a bunch of us went to karaoke and he offered to sing anything I wanted. Knowing he was a huge Bob Dylan fan, I asked for "Positively Fourth Street," and he pulled it off flawlessly and with gusto, walked back to me, and said with a huge smile, "Well, there's four minutes we will never get back, Ms. Price. Thanks a lot for such an unbearable choice." Like the times when I was sad, and he'd always find the perfect Socratic dialogue to just sit there and read with me, letting me work out everything I was going through, guiding me. He had a standing appointment for lunch on Friday, where current and former students could drop by and discuss anything with him. I'll never be half the teacher he was, and I regret that I didn't go to lunch every damned Friday. I had so much more to talk to him about. Now, I have to take my heavy heart, think of him, and raise it by finding others to talk to as he did, with enthusiasm and respect.
I think about you all the time, Andy. Rest now, my teacher, my advisor, my mentor, my friend.
Like many, Dr. Andy Little was the first professor I met at UH. His subtle sarcasm, his broad knowledge of the humanities and his amazing sense of humor all made me admire him greatly when I first met him. He really made me feel comfortable at the Honors College. His absence will truly be felt. Heartfelt condolences for his family.
Andy was one of the more unique individuals I've met. He was a scholar who was steeped in tradition, and the roots he fed on were very evident, but he knew how to feed on that nourishment and make it grow into ideas that related to the world we live in today. He burned with an energy I've seldom seen.
My heart hurts so much at the news of Dr. Little’s passing, and while I'm still processing, I’m comforted by the many wonderful memories I have of this beloved professor.
His copy of Plato’s Republic still sits on my bookshelf at home. I acquired it one summer when he discovered I had not read the book, and he gifted me his copy. It came complete with his marginal notes on yellowed pages, his impeccably straight underlining in pen of words and phrases, and a flurry of faded red page markers along the edge. He soon discovered that others had not read it, and before long, he found himself with his own summer book club.
He was a hilariously merciless teacher whose writing comments have stuck with me to this day. He once compared an essay of mine to a slightly terrifying car ride, one in which I, the driver, took him as a hostage, blindfolding him and promising him that he would get to an announced destination but without letting him see how he would get there. He was 1000% right. I’ve told this story to countless of my own students, and ten years later, I still think about these words and other comically-imparted nuggets of wisdom. And, I’m fairly certain that I owe some of my own dark humor to his feedback, too…
He was, as I and so many other students knew him, a brilliantly funny guy who could also find joy in the little things. I have so many memories from our 2008 study abroad to Italy. When we missed our flight from DC to Europe, he got us out of the airport and led us on an impromptu tour of the National Mall. He joined us in singing karaoke (quite well, too!) at a dive bar in Italy. But, perhaps my favorite memory from the trip was our last night, when he encouraged us all to borrow our hotel comforters so we could wrap ourselves like little burritos, walk through the town to the coast, and enjoy the sunrise over the Mediterranean in the cold morning air.
Somewhere along the way, Dr. Little mentioned that he had never completed his Ph.D., but that certainly didn’t stop me from calling him a doctor. I have been blessed with so many gifted and talented professors along my own academic journey, but he was truly one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever met and certainly one of the most deserving of being called a doctor. I have kept all my notes and papers from my courses with him, and they remind me of how fortunate I was to have known and studied with him.
Dr. Little, I pray you have found rest and peace. If I ever get back to Rome and the Trevi fountain, I promise to toss an extra penny in for you.
Yes, he was remarkable. He was as careful and attentive a reader of books as I have ever known; he was always careful to keep matters open, thereby encouraging others to continue to question and seek. And, as another student wrote about him, he was "quirky," which made him altogether relentless in pursuing a line of inquiry, even if others thought he was chasing rabbits in the bushes. At some point, he started reading Faulkner; and after reading a number of books, he decided that he needed to see Faulkner country. So, one Friday night, he got on a bus and road most of the night to Oxford, Mississippi. He slept the rest of the night on a park bench. He spent the day looking around Oxford, visited Faulkner's house, then got on a bus and headed back to Houston. I'd call that quirky, though typical of Little. I loved him. He touched, even transformed, the lives of many, students and faculty alike. He is indeed irreplaceable in the Honors College. He was able to do for thirty years what he desperately loved to do—to read, dialogue, teach—which is a great accomplishment for any person. We miss him.
I’ve been so sad about Andy, Little as I always called him. He really impacted me as an undergraduate student. I took my first ever college-level political science class with Little as the professor. It was something like Honors Into to Political Science, and it allowed me to not take the two normal freshman level PoliSci stadium classes. And, it was spectacular. I loved it. It was all theory and reading and writing, as Honors Education is. I became a PoliSci major. Little said, my next step was Lence, so I obeyed and took Lence for Intro to Political Theory. It was hard and scary and, while I did learn, I didn’t develop any confidence and I hardly participated or engaged for fear of saying something stupid and being called out by Lence. Lence, as brilliant and great as he was, wasn’t as good of a fit for me as Little.
So, after suffering through Lence, I somehow lucked out and was at UH at a time when Little was teaching a lot in PoliSci/Honors. I took several more (2-3, can’t remember) upper level PoliSci and colloquium classes with Little. He taught me Rousseau, who I loved, and all the others. We read novels too (Dostoevsky I think), in Political Science! I loved him so much. He encouraged me, called on me, made me speak up and articulate ideas in a way that was encouraging and not intimidating. I grew a lot in his classes; it prepared me for a pretty easy time doing well in law school. I always felt, though he wasn’t one of the famous Honors professors, he was one of my personal favorites because he believed in me and started a fire for seeking (and you were, too, for this same reason). He taught me to seek. I became a seeker under his care. And, that seeking has actually guided my life in every way; it led me to Barrett and to spirituality and to motherhood. It started at the Honors College, and in no small part, with Andy Little.
Though I only took one class with Dr. Little, his love of teaching and learning is not lost on me. Dr. Little is one o f the most eclectic, witty , and genuine people I know. He was a man who was truly concerned with imparting as much knowledge and analytical skills on his students as he possibly could. Though at first the idea of reading all of the Federalist Papers overwhelmed me, I felt increasingly more encouraged after each one of Dr. Little's classes. His analysis made these seemingly dense and boring texts come alive. And I wanted to understand what he was seeing, I wanted to be immersed in these texts and dig deep into them. Also, Dr. Little wanted to understand our thoughts, past the point where he was quizzing to see whether we had read the text or not. He made these far out references which made the texts much more memorable. I liked walking out of class with, of course a knowledge of political science theory, but also I just knew more because of his quirky references. Dr. Little left me with an even greater desire to learn. His brain and presence were truly remarkable and offered so so much to this world.
Like many of the Honors College alumni, I find myself thinking more about my years in honors in the past few days than I have in the past few years.
My first impression of Professor Little was not a great experience. I was a lost little STEM freshman honors student and was having trouble with the red tape and bureaucracy of getting the correct classes to count toward my degree. Andy Little gave me a flat out “no” for my request. I knew everyone in honors adored Little but I was not a fan of his at that moment. That all changed when I finally got the opportunity to take a formal class with Andy Little as the professor, and I realized what a brilliant and caring individual this man was, and the amazing dedication he demonstrated as a professor.
Some of the great memories I hold of Professor Little were from opportunities to study abroad in Turkey, then Israel, and finally Greece. The delicious foods we all shared together as a group, exploring marvelous historic sites and seeing his smiling face taking pictures and documenting our adventures as a college together, the late-night chess thrashings I suffered by his hand. Even the simplest of things like memories of listening to his voice on the bus rides from site to site, explaining a Socratic text or singing a few bars of a song or his laugh, oh that laugh of his; they made me smile then, and they make me smile now.
Yet, my fondest memories of Professor Little were not overseas, but in our beloved Honors College. He discovered that I had yet to read “The Republic”, and insisted I join his evening reading group that summer. It was a great discussion, as all his classes and lectures were amazing. We would listen to him discuss each book with such passion and enthusiasm as he would recall lessons from his own mentor Dr. Ross Lence, and in those moments, it was nice to see that Andy Little, a great professor before us, was some other great professor’s student, and I could see how much Andy cared for passing on his knowledge to us. Some days, I found the reading group to just be me and Professor Little, and those were my favorites. Sitting in the Honors College fishbowls, just a couple of Andys nerding out over old books.
It’s bittersweet as I recall the last real conversation I had with Andy Little. Working just across the fountain, I rarely stepped into the Honors College, but dropped by with some cookies to offer him and to catch up with each other. I reached out my hand expecting a handshake and he brought me in for a comforting bro-hug. We sat in his office, reminisced about study abroad, reading groups, and life.
Andy Little was to me, a hard-ass of an advisor, a brilliant professor, a caring mentor, and a great friend. Thank you Professor Little, I’ll miss you.
The first time I had an advising appointment with Dr. Little actually went by quickly. My friends and I jokingly called him the Scheduling Wizard, and it took him less than 10 minutes to help me organize what I wanted my next semester to look like. The appointment quickly turned into a conversation about some of his favorite books, most notably Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. He spoke so animatedly about how incredible this book was, and why his class was reading it that semester, and I think he talked for more than 20 minutes. I almost missed a class because I didn’t realize how long I had spent listening to him, but it was so captivating seeing him so passionate about a book he was reading with students. The whole advising-turned-book club meeting was absurd for me as a freshman, but it was also such a funny memory I had with him.
Andy was my advisor when I took Human Sit. revisited. He was relentlessly demanding in the way he pushed me and the first year students in our class to defend and refine our ideas. He told me he liked to view himself as the goalkeeper of truth, that it was the students' job to take shots at an argument and his to knock that crap out unless they could drive the point home. Alongside some of his colleagues at the Honors College, he is among the best teachers I have ever learned from. Years after I graduated, Andy still welcomed me to stop by for a coffee and a game of chess, where he was much happier (whether he won or lost) if he saw a move that was interesting or new, rather than 'correct'. I cherished the joy he always displayed for being presented with an interesting idea or problem to dive into. Surprising, thought provoking, kind, and insistent in his quest for his students to develop intellectual rigor...what a lovely human being and educator. He is and will be missed. I very much hope that I incorporate some of his spirit in my own teaching practice. With him, dialogue was always a feast, rather than a fight.
Dr. Little was a fantastic advisor and the best human sit professor I could have asked for. He opened my world view and made classical thought come alive in his classes. I most loved how he helped me think beyond the coursework literature as I've journeyed to consider real questions of philosophy, political thoughts, and how to engage in discourse.
I wish I could have known him better, but I will always treasure my memory of Dr. Little's crazy discussions and great enthusiasm.
I appreciate how Prof. Little remembered me whenever our paths crossed after college. How did he do that so easily? My first class with him was devoted entirely to the Leviathan. He regretted that class somewhat, but I didn’t. He raised my expectations for myself. While I didn’t always meet them in later classes - he had this “YOU know you can do better than that” look - I have approached other academic challenges more intentionally.
Although I was never an official student under Mr. Little, he helped me so much in my college decision process. He advised me on what courses to take and helped me decide what major to select and his death comes as unexpected news to me because he was just joking with me and asking about my plans at UH just over a month ago when I saw him alive and healthy at orientation.
He will remain in my memories.
Dr. Little was a great advisor who would work with me on finding my way through classes, honors, and questions on reading of course.
I didn't get to see Dr. Little in action in the classroom, but I can imagine him turning on a lightbulb for everyone there. Maybe I was not the best student, but he kept propelling me forward no matter what trouble I had. I was counting on visiting him in the fall, so now I will visit with a tug at my heart, but I know his legend will live on in me and everyone else in Honors.
"This is my son, mine own Telemachus,...
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine...
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek to find, and not to yield."
(We read The Odyssey in the Human Situation. I was part of Jacob's discussion group that year. Sending out my thoughts and condolences to him and his family, from deep within).
I will not forget when I attended Honors College Retreat and sat in a seminar advertising the Phronesis minor in the Honors College. I questioned what practical value philosophy brings, to which Professor Little nearly had a stroke. Just 3 months now after graduating, I am glad for the many humanities teachings and geniune care I received from Professor Little and others in the Honors college. I wish his family well in this time.
Last week I was out of town on vacation. One day, while taking a long walk, I listened to a philosophy podcast. As I did so, I made a mental note of the questions I was going to ask Andy, the man with the “Plato is My Homeboy” coffee mug, when I got back to Houston. But it was not to be. Like so many, I walked into the Honors College this week and saw that familiar office dark.
Of the many memories of Andy that have come back to me in recent days, I’d like to share an early astonishment. Not long after I’d joined Honors, Andy quoted, on the spot, from memory, verbatim, words from Machiavelli I’d never heard before. I think Machiavelli meant as much to him among the moderns as Plato did among the ancients. The passage is from the Letter to Francesco Vettori. Yesterday I found this particularly resonant translation:
“Once the evening has arrived, I come home and enter my study. In the entryway I take off my daytime clothing, covered with mud and dirt, and I put on garments that are royal, and suitable for a court. Changed into suitable clothes, I step into the ancient courts of ancient men. Received lovingly by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine, for which I was born. There I am unashamed to talk with them and ask them the reasons for their actions, and they, with their humanity, answer me. For four hours I feel no boredom, I forget all worries, I do not fear poverty, and am not dismayed by death. I give myself to them entirely.”
As this time, we are dismayed by death. But I believe that when we visit that court of the Great Books, ancient and modern, we will find answers; we will also find afresh questions, promptings, consolations, and Andy.
Even though I was not sure if Professor Little had a Ph.D. in a particular field, it always felt right to call him Dr. Little because I considered him among the smartest people I'd ever met. Smart people sometimes rub people the wrong way - those are the people I generally gravitate towards - and Dr. Little was someone I appreciated deeply, maybe in part because I felt that he appreciated me. After I flamed at a talent show, he told me, "It was un-apologetically you." Then he tried to convince me that Star Wars' Luke Sky Walker follows the plot scheme of Joseph from the book of Genesis. Then, last but not least, He approached me after a speech I gave at the Terry Scholar Banquet and told me, "You made this one memorable." My regret is not putting that "let's get lunch sometime," on the calendar after so many years. You will be in my thoughts and prayers Dr. Little. I now believe your in the hands of a loving God, even though you might quibble with my choice of nouns.
You were the professor the defined my experience in college. I will always regret that we never got that coffee. You meant more to me than you will ever know.
My first memory of Professor Little was a lecture he gave on The Odyssey in Human Situation my freshman year. The lecture struck me because it was merely a collection of his thoughts on the text. Yet I left mesmerized that one person could traverse that many different brilliant, bizarre, and witty thoughts all in one fifty minute lecture.
I fought with my fellow students on the Omega Best Lecture Committee for his lecture to be selected and eventually they relented. I believed, and I still do, that despite his unconventional nature, Professor Little was a fantastic educator. Even his most ridiculous ideas could be so thought-provoking and his argument for them so persuasive, you left with a completely different perspective on a text. I am going to miss my advising sessions becoming hour-long lectures and getting stopped in the hallway to listen to whatever new argument on Plato or Shakespeare he had in the works.
After spending a summer in his Faulkner reading group and travelling to Mississippi with the group, I really began to see him as a friend. He always wanted what was best for students and the Honors College. I don't know what my last year in the Honors College will look like without him.
Professor Little, I hope you know how much you were loved by students and how much your passion for the education and the Honors College was appreciated by all of us.
I never had a class with him, nor knew him well. However, no one could miss his presence or the effect of his work and personality. I have few words, but he will undoubtedly be missed.
Such sad news, he was and is a great soul. Bye for now.
We who knew
Your soaring voice,
Your soaring soul
We who loved
In profound manner
And to life-altering effect
Your fine mind,
Your kind spirit
Wish you, good professor, dear freind,
I did not believe that one day, I would meet someone who could match my level of sarcasm. Yet, here I am, writing a piece about the ONLY person I have ever known that truly surpassed me. Andy's wit and sass was unchallenged throughout the college, and as we got to know each other, my appreciation for him and his friendly/sassy demeanor grew.
I remember the first time I ever experienced Andy (I think it's funny how you had to 'experience' Andy). It was at Scholars Invitational. Andy was on the stage giving the basic information on classes and scheduling, and once he was done explaining to us how not to become a 'zombie student' by 2 in the afternoon, he started talking about Human Sit. I will never forget his speech on choosing the Alpha or Omega section. With a great pride he said, "at 11:00 am, the tall, beautiful, virtuous Alpha students will come and have their lecture until 12:00 pm," and with a great reluctance he said, "then the less tall, less beautiful, brutal Omega students will have their lecture".
Andy and I slowly became familiar with each other through events like open houses and advising sessions, and one day during a presentation, he asked me, by name, to turn off the lights. I was too far away from him to read my name tag, and on the inside, I was fangirling because THE ANDY FREAKING LITTLE knew my name. The Andy Little that explained Human Sit using Harry Potter as a reference. The Andy Little that made us breakfast in the morning. The Andy Little that walked around with that Plato coffee cup.
I only knew Professor Little for a year, but it felt like I knew him for much longer. I'm going to miss hearing the virtuous Alpha over brutal Omega speech from across the hall and seeing the Plato cup in is hand. Although he may not be with us in person, we will always feel him in our hearts.
Dr. Little his been an immense influence on my life not only as an academic advisor, but also as someone that inspired me to dig deeper into every aspect of my learning. From the first advising session at Scholar's Invitational, to helping me navigate into my major in Chemistry, he was there to help me along the way. I remember visiting his office even though I wasn't his student just to talk for hours about classics, and how he made me think at a completely different level than I was at coming into college. I always tried, but could never quite get him to shake hands with me using his left hand. I'm heartbroken that incoming Honors students won't get to know the quick wit and depths of his devotion to his craft.
Goodbye Dr. Little.
Professor Little and I met during my transition to the University of Houston before I started my college journey with the Honors College. He helped me decide which Honors College route to take as a transfer student and was very supportive with my questions. I am deeply in shock about this terrible news of Professor Little passing. My condolences goes out to his family, especially his son. You will be missed, Professor Little.
I first met Dr. Little at one of the Honors open houses when I was in high school. Seeing his enthusiasm for Honors made me decide to apply. Although I never had Dr. Little as a professor I am thankful to him that I got to take classes at the Honors College and meet more amazing professors. He was truly a treasure to UH and the Honors College and I am so grateful I got to know him, even if it was just for a bit. Rest in peace Dr. Little, you will be missed.
Professor Little was the first person I met when I was applying for the Honors College, and the first professor I truly bonded with during my time at UH. My fondest memories of him are from the 2011 trip to Greece, where he could go from citing our precise location in a specific Greek tragedy to plotting a night on the town in Athens, almost in the same breath. He helped me during my darkest academic hour, when I was in danger of being booted out of the Honors College I had come to know and love. I’m forever grateful to Andy Little for being the mentor I needed and for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. Whenever I remember the Honors College, his will always be the first face that comes to mind.
Andy was such a genuine and kind soul. He was a brilliant scholar and one of my mentors. I am going to miss seeing his smiling face every day as I walk down the halls of The Honors College. He always encouraged me to be the best version of myself and was one of the first people on campus to make me feel warm and welcomed. I will be praying daily for his family and friends and for all who knew him. May he forever rest in peace. Thank you Andy for the wisdom you bestowed upon me and for all the lives you impacted in a positive way. RIP. You will be missed tremendously.!!!!!!!!❤
My only regret in the Honors College is not being able to have a class under Dr. Little. He would join every incidental conversation that would spark in the Commons or the hallways, offering his learned perspective and enriching minds with his pearls of wisdom. From discussing Shakespearean aspects of popular TV Shows like "Breaking Bad" to discussing Plato's Gorgias and introducing me to such rich literature, I enjoyed every conversation. As an advisor, he cared deeply about students. I am glad that my brother, an incoming freshman, was able to meet him at least once. He, too, expresses deep regret and sorrow for Dr. Little's passing. It is a great tragedy that future students and staff will not have Dr. Little as part of their Honors experience.
Thank you, Dr. Little, for your remarkable legacy in the Honors College.
I never had the honor to experience Little as a professor. Regardless, he was there from the first day I walked into the Honors College to the day I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. His door was always opened even after I graduated. He helped me through my lows and celebrated my highs. My cherished memories will be the conversations we had with the meals we shared.
My condolences to his family and friends. May you Rest In Peace.
I worked for the Bauer Honors Business Program for 3 and a half years, and in that time I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Andy on a few occasions.
My favorite memory of him reinforces his wit and bright personality. I had asked volunteers for an event we were hosting to provide a 'fun fact' about themselves as part of a event activity. I had reached out to Andy multiple times via e-mail to get his personal 'fun fact.' The event was getting closer, and finally I called Andy on the phone. He answered the phone with "Nora, I know what you're going to ask and I have the information you need" and I playfully responded by saying "Well then I should have had this information last week, Andy."
Somehow, this conversation created a small friendship between us. Whenever I saw him at an event or during a student orientation, he was there with a smile and kind words, and always went out of his way to assist our students. He was a brilliant man with the innate desire and ability to assist students in every way he could. The passion he showed for higher education was infectious.
You are greatly missed, Dr. Little. Thank you for you.
Professor Andy Little was the first professor I met in the Honors College. He advised me and helped me select my classes. This was my only encounter with him but a lot of people said good things to me about him. He had a lot of passion and wisdom.
Thank you for believing in me even when all odds were against me.
The first time I met Mr. Little was at my NSO in 2016. I did not meet the required score to be put in to Accelerated Calculus, but Andy said he would push me through anyways. After getting to know him better, I realized that's just who he was. He was willing and ready to help just about anyone who needed it. Even if he would sometimes complain about it afterwards, he did anything in his power to help that person.
The next time I interacted with him was at the Honors Retreat. I went outside and started talking with these 2 people who were sitting. After about 5 minutes, it clicked, and I realized one of them was Andy Little. I was so flustered because I had realized who he was and I was talking about some obscure random stuff. He just smiled, laughed, and said 'yeah, I'm Andy Little' and carried on the conversation, as if nothing had happened.
Then a little less than a year later, I started working in SSO, and really started to get to know him. I worked with Andy for over year. He was abrasive and sarcastic, but he cared a lot. I watched so many nervous students walk into his office, and after a conversation filled with laughter (and some advising) , they would walk out with a smile on their face, thanking Andy for all the help, seeming calmer and more secure. Throughout the day, he'd step out of his office to talk to us about anything. He could talk about food, movies, television, music, philosophy, his life stories, or even corny jokes he remembered from years ago. A couple times, he came into the college before anyone, just so he could make breakfast for everyone. And his breakfasts, like everything he cooked, were amazing. He would joke around with me and pick on me all the time, but I was flattered by it, because I knew that it was his way of showing he liked me.
I will always remember both that soft smile you'd flash in passing, and that big cheeky smile you'd get when you thought something was funny enough. I don't think I can really put all of my thoughts and feelings towards you into this message, but I want you to know, you were/are loved and respected, and you will be missed greatly. Things will not be the same without you. I hope you've found peace, Mr. Little.
While working in Student Services, I came to know Professor Little as a man who genuinely cared about the world of academia and the students who came to him. He could be tough at times, with his feedback and advice. But that's why he was the best at what he did. He wouldn't filter out his opinions to make you "feel better"; rather, he approached advising and work as all of us should, with a nurturing but stern tone that proved his commitment to the college and its students would build a positive legacy for the campus. He was genuine and honest, and it shows. Each passing hug and handshake that he gave to me after my time working in The Honors College reminded me that he cared about my plans beyond UH. Andy Little, thank you for being a remarkable man and for allowing me the opportunity to learn from you while in SSO. Your memory lives on in the countless tweaks to databases, schedules and courses that continue to push students towards graduation; your attention to detail, human emotion and life will be cherished and appreciated for years to come. I like to imagine that you're not truly gone - rather, you're heading down the hall to a kitchen or refectory somewhere to make sure the coffee isn't low. There's an office in the clouds already praising you for your PeopleSoft skills, and I'm sure if Heaven has an orientation, you're helping lead it with glorious spreadsheets and pivot tables. Take care sir.
I met Andy Little during my first week as a staff member at UH. At the time, I’d just been hired as an academic advisor in the College of Business and one of my coworkers had taken it upon herself to give me a tour of campus. She told me we absolutely had to visit The Honors College (even though my role then didn’t really interact with Honors) so that I could meet Andy. From that moment, Andy has always been synonymous with The Honors College for me. Later, after moving into my current role with Bauer Honors, Andy became my most valuable resource. A class doesn’t have a proper Honors footnote – call Andy. A student’s record does show correctly - call Andy. There’s Honors fees on a student’s account that shouldn’t be there – call Andy. Need to know if that section is Alpha or Omega – call Andy. This Honors class has no room number – call Andy. Indeed, I called Andy a lot! He always answered with his signature dry wit and provided near immediate resolution to the issue at hand. I will miss Andy’s humorous banter most of all. His comments often went over the heads of our business-minded Bauer Honors students. I will never forget telling a baffled group of doe-eyed Scholars Invitational students that, “Yes, it really is okay to enroll in an Omega section – Andy was just kidding about the Alpha students being the ‘tall, smart, and beautiful’ ones.” It is near impossible for me to picture Honors without Andy. He meant so much to so many and will be deeply missed.
Mr. Little was my advisor for my first two years at UH. Always helpful, easy to talk to, and light hearted. He will be missed.
This has weighed heavily on my heart the last several days. When I first met Dr. Little, I was intimidated. How could someone so young possess such a brilliant mind? However, after my very first day of class with him, I found that Dr. Little had a way of bringing laughter and humor to deep, difficult subjects. I was fortunate enough to not only learn from him as a professor, but also as a person.
As I said to a former classmate and friend, I imagine that Andy is sitting with the Great Doctor Ross Lence, beverage in hand, discussing Lysistrata or some other equally perverse yet profound work together. Although I haven't kept in touch with him, I will truly miss him.
Professor Little, you will be greatly missed and remain alive deep within my heart. May God bless your soul with eternal joy and may you rest in peace.
He was my only advisor in the Honors College and also the first person I spoke to at UH. He was so kind, helpful, and humorous. Even though each advising session only lasted for 15 minutes, the advice that he gave me was more than enough to lead the way in my academic career. I will miss him and I wish the best for Jacob.
I am truly at a loss for words. I only knew Professor Little for about a year but his guidance and skill in advising set me straight on the academic path I’m on today. Every advising session I had with him I left amazed; this class here, that many credits there, all magically adding up perfectly.
I bid you farewell, Dr. Little. May your journey through the great unknown be sound. Rest In Peace, sir.
Though I never had Andy as a professor, I always held him to a high regard. He will forever be ingrained in my memory as the hilarious reason an unnamed freshman tried unsuccessfuly to jump down the HC balcony after unsuccessfuly attempting to "woo" Little with his "intellectual and philosophical prowess."
He was anabashadly himself, and I will always admire his ability to at first use his dry humor to make you feel incredibly dumb (potentially to the point of jumping off a balcony) while inconspicuously guiding you to knowledge and understanding.
I did not know Dr. Little too well, but I was lucky to have a few interactions with him. Once when I came to pick something up from his office, he opened a conversation with me introducing me to popular movies during the 1990's. He made me feel important and was both genuine and knowledgeable in sharing his passion for film. It's often said people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel. I remember everything he said, did, and how he made me feel during that interaction. Any Little will not be forgotten.
Awesome man, I am lucky to have met him. He was the first advisor I encountered in college. He made sure I stayed on track. I have met him in countless times in the Honors Commons and we just have quick but meaningful conversations about a book like the Iliad. He is in a better place now.
Oh, Andy. I miss you.
I skipped into the Refectory yesterday because I thought I heard your voice from out in the corridor and I felt just in the mood for one of those ribbing each other conversations to get me out of my funk. Unfortunately, my funk was over you.
So many memories, brother. The student who asked me to swap seats with her on a plane because you're opening hello involved asking her what her favorite part of the Republic was. Those long evenings on that breezy rooftop looking out over Athens and the acropolis. Arguments about politics. Lots of those. European that I am. How annoyed I was when the translation of Thucydides you chose was the one by Hobbes, because nothing eases the reading of the Peloponnesian war than reading it in early 17th century translation, does it. It was pretty good though, but I'm pretty sure I still sulked anyway.
Then the transformative stuff, the pushing open of doors that I had trouble managing by myself. Your patience with me while I struggled for a week with those ideas of statsis and plague for that lecture. I never forgot it or how much it threw open the books of the ancient world that I already thought I'd read but hadn't. I've read them now and won't stop reading them, and that's all because of you.
Three weeks solid on the Kekulé Problem. That was something.
I miss you, Andy.
I only got to know him truly for a semester. First advising session, he terrified me so much that I was convinced he despised my very existence. Then he came up to me while I looked over my Oral final list and started telling me about The Odyssey. I can't recall how the conversation started. I can recall that the conversation didn't end. He is the reason I enjoy the Odyssey now. He saw connections and a sort of cleverness in the text that I don't think anybody else could. As soon as I got back to my room that day, I scoured through that book for every detail he told me and came back the next day.
And the next day.
And that's when I became SSO's frequent visitor. He referenced my visits to Mr. Rogers. He sassed everyone in the room with his wit, charm and unique sense of humor. Every time I learned something new about Hobbes or some philosopher, I stopped by to see what his thoughts were. I don't even remember what we didn't talk about.
I had hoped to have more years with him. There was just so much to learn and I don't think there is anybody else in the college that would take two hours to teach a completely ignorant and naïve freshman.
He made stories come to life. Watching him explain Agamemnon was like watching a one- man show that included every curse word in the dictionary. Our conversations would be completely random. I once asked him once if he would ever run in politics and he said he had considered it because his slogan would be "Vote for Andy, he stands for the 'little' people". Or the time when I had made several cards for an organization that I asked the student services to keep till I could pick it up and Dr. Little took them and decided to keep it in his room knowing I would come by. He then proceeded to tease me about every single one. I was just impressed he actually read them. I didn't even read them.
Part of me still doesn't quite believe it. All I want to see is that really dorky, cartoonish and incredibly cheesy looking smile and that little wave again.
I wish I had more time to know him. One semester seems like nothing. Our last conversation was about Pokémon and Doctor Who, but there were so many questions I still had left. Dr. Little made such an impact on the college that his memory will be cherished forever. I hope I made you smile for the time you had left.
I'd say rest in peace, but he's probably got some Greek tragedy on hand.
Rest in peace anyway.
Professor Little was my Human Situation professor during my second semester in the Honors College, but my first interaction with him was during my oral exam the semester before. Being a born-and-raised Texan, I didn't feel the need to argue with anyone, so most of my responses to his questions were "Yes sir." Eventually he became exasperated with my lack of willingness to engage, so he leaned over his desk towards me and spoke very firmly: "Stop being so damn deferential."
I still am very agreeable by nature, often to a fault-but I often hear Professor Little's voice in my head when my opinions and viewpoints are being challenged, and it has helped to navigate me through much of my adulthood.
"Stop being so damn deferential."
Alicia (Karim) Stewart
I can’t remember a single conversation we had that didn’t end with laughter. From making fun of my pursuit of a career in “busi-ness” to conversations about the great books, and even after graduation grabbing lunch and workshopping Human Sit. lectures and discussing new recipes (usually convincing me to like goat cheese) - every chat with him left me better in some way.
He would always say that we read great books so that when we are old and grey, we can have an interesting conversation with ourselves. I would always ask to be a fly on the wall during his, because it would surely be the most interesting of them all. My heart hurts knowing that he won’t get a chance to have that conversation.
My deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.
Rest well, Dr. Little. I hope that you have found peace.
Gregorio Ayala Guerra
I had the pleasure of knowing Professor Little as a professor and as a mentor.. Unfortunately I did not keep in touch with him after college, but he impacted my life in a very meaningful way, and I will miss him.
Andy Little was — and will remain for me — a compelling force in the Honors College. He could lure you in to some innocuous conversation about the best kind of barbecue sauce, only to take you on a journey through the most minute of minutia in the background of one of Aristophanes’ plays. He’d leave you bewildered, smarter, and absolutely convinced that something incredible had just been unearthed from a millennia-old play, treatise, or history.
From the very first time I stepped foot in the Honors College, Prof. Little was there. He was a monumental presence in the Human Situation faculty and the staff of the College. His shoes surely cannot be filled, and I am profoundly sorry that Honors students in the years to come will never know the man in person.
Something that always struck me was the manner in which he would say goodbye. Whenever I would visit the College in these past few years after my graduation, I would make sure to at least exchange a few words with Prof. Little. His genuine interest in the goings-on of my life were touching enough, but when it came time for me to leave he would seem truly sad to see me go. I have no doubt that he felt the same way about all of his students. I hope he knew that we would all feel the same way about him.
Be well, Prof. Little.
I was his student and we became friend I’m so saddened and shocked by this news.
I only worked with Andy for a bit less than 20 years, which is less than half of the time I’ve been involved with the Honors College… but I really can’t remember the time when he wasn’t there. He became so much a part of Honors that it’s hard to remember what it was like before he came, or to think what it will be like now that he is gone. I am sad. I will miss him, but I perhaps am sadder for the new freshmen who enter this fall, and those in the subsequent years, who will never know who they missed. They will certainly leave with a lesser education than those who he taught.
Some of my favorite times with Andy were at the annual freshman retreat, and especially for the few years we brought “Headmaster” to the Follies. (He is on the far right in the picture below, and perhaps looks a bit different than many of you may remember.) He and Christine actually had some singing talent, but it was fun for me to tag along on this ride.
We also made videos for the retreat performances, and I was continually amazed at his ability to make up and tell “stories” to the camera. His sense of humor might have seemed a bit bizarre to some, but to me, it was incredibly creative and knock down funny.
For me as a faculty member and a student adviser, Andy was my continual source of information. He was always available to provide the data or statistics I needed, and to assist me with the formal setup for my advising appointments. He was my “go to person”.
The absence of his kolaches in the refectory in the mornings will somehow make the space less inviting. Really nothing in the College will be quite the same. Rest in peace Andy…..you will always be a part of the Honors College and not be forgotten.
We will always miss Andrew’s spirit intellectual curiosity and compassion. I am confident that God will continue to comfort his family and friends during this period of reflection. God bless.
Maggie McCartney Garner
I’ve been wrestling for several days with the steep task of putting into succinct thoughts just how much Andy meant, without relying on cliché and hyperbole, which he probably would have hated, honestly.
I never really knew him as a teacher. Instead, I knew him as a mentor, who convinced me freshman year that it really was alright to quit Bauer to pursue art (sorry mom and dad), as a sparring partner equipped with sarcastic jabs, and quick to take down my half baked ideals, and as a friend, who was thrilled to learn I was pregnant with my first child, and told me what a great mother I would be.
My favorite memories of him will always be from the Greece study abroad trip in 2011. Shortly before dinner one night, I asked him what his favorite book was. By 10pm, fate has placed us in the middle of a protest, buying beers from a food truck, and being told that Texas is “no good” because that’s where George Bush lives. I still do not know what his favorite book was, but I can tell you about his deep love for karaoke and for his son Jacob.
My heart aches knowing that there is no time left with which to make more memories, and that I’ll never be able to truly tell him ‘thank you’ for all of the impact that he made in my life. But I truly am grateful that for a too-brief portion of time, I was able to stand in the presence of a man who taught me so much, and meant so much to so many people.
Thank you, Dr. Little, for giving me that gift.
Dr. Andy Little had a knowledge and a wit that was stunning and inspiring to all around him, and his quick remarks were always delivered with a knavish gleam in his eye. He loved complexity and beauty, and he cooked the best pork milanese I've ever had. His devotion to scholarship and his playful character were matched only by his deep kindness for all he encountered and his desire to enable those around him to achieve their absolute best.
Dr. Little was the epitome of the ideals of Honors, and he will be sorely missed.
When I first met Professor Little, he was grumpy. I didn't take it personally, it was August of my freshman year and everyone seemed a bit overwhelmed with the initial ignition of the semester. That meeting was short, business-only, and I can't remember it being very pleasant.
Every other time I met with Andy, as I would come to refer to him after I graduated, it was the complete opposite. Both of us got to know each other well when I sought to get academic credit for an internship at the Texas Renaissance Festival. He was suitably questioning as to what academic value the Renaissance Festival held for an honors student, but he didn't hesitate to work with me so that I could maintain my credit hours whilst I investigated the cultural and historical intrigue of TRF. I knew he thought it was silly, but he also seemed delighted by my attachment to absurdity and willing to help a student follow their curiosity.
During my student time at the Honors College I looked forward to each of my advising sessions because they typically turned into conversations about what we were reading, morality, and how one navigates the world thoughtfully. I haven't met too many people in my life who can be encouraging and completely honest at the same time, but somehow he did it.
He also had a seriously funny and shameless performer side, which is likely why we became friends. The will and ability to perform successfully takes a certain kind of person -- someone who just loves being in the moment of a song or connecting to an audience. Andy was known for his karaoke numbers, but he really impressed me with his ability to step into the roll of the pink-haired singer of the fictional "Headmaster" band that some of the faculty formed one year as a surprise for Honors Retreat. I was honored to be the one who got to create a video tribute to this band and film each member in character. I don't know that I've ever laughed that much during a film project since.
These are only fragments of my relationship with Professor Little and I feel like there is part of my brain that wants to remain in permanent denial that there won't be another drop-in to his office to potentially get into another argument about freedom or whatever topic we both stewed on. But to honor Andy is to continue the conversation, keep asking questions and push expectations, especially of myself. I am so glad I was lucky enough to be his student and friend, and this loss will likely be forever heavy for The Honors College family.
Jana (Trojanowski) McCarthy
If it was not for the support of Andy, I would never have become a part of the Honors College.
I had a unique situation, returning to UH after virtually flunking out 12 years prior. I was stuck with an institutional GPA that was abysmal. I eventually returned to school and had a strong academic record as an Honors student at Lone Star College -- which meant I was a transfer. At that point, transferring into The Honors College at UH was not an easy, laid out, task and I had a few barriers to overcome. Professor Andy Little was the strongest initial support that I had in trying to become a part of the Honors College and I know that I likely wouldn't have joined or even completed the application if he had not encouraged me to do it. I'm so happy he convinced me.
I can link every single thing I accomplished through The Honors College to the encouragement and guidance he gave me at that early stage. Over the next 3 years, each and every time I received an award or recognition, Andy was the first to congratulate me. He was a constant presence at The Honors College and it was always wonderful to know he was there to help if I needed him.
Now, I am an Academic Advisor myself, and I know that I am better at my work because of the way he did the job. He was a master at supporting and guiding us all, without holding our hands too much. He made it fun -- inside his office, in the classroom, or even just out on the Honors balcony. He was there for us and I can only hope that I'm able to have the impact on my students that he had on all of us.
Thank you, Professor Little, for having faith in me, even when I didn't have it in myself.
Your laughter, sense of humor, and kind heart will be missed.
I will never forget taking your Human Situation class - you opened with the most obscure scenario, played the devil's advocate, got us all thinking...and I had no clue what I got myself into.
Your door was always open to us. You always had a smile for everyone - a joke to tell, a sarcastic comment to make. Years after I graduated from the Honors College, I ran into you. You not only remembered who I was (but of course), you remembered what I was working on, you remembered my daughter's name, and you had words of encouragement for me.
Really, I wouldn't be where I am today - a PhD student - without your guidance and encouragement. Your work with the Honors College touched SO MANY PEOPLE.
Be well, Professor Little, be well.
I joined the Honors College at UH as a VERY unconventional student...I was a high school dropout, married, a mother of 3, and about 10 years older than most of my Honors College peers. My 1st semester in Honors I struggled, REALLY struggled. I seriously considered giving up the rigorous Honors curriculum, walking away, & just finishing my regular BS and moving on with my life...
And I would have, but my Honors advisor was Dr. Andy Little, and he convinced me that I could do it...and that I SHOULD do it. Not for him, not for the Honors College, but for myself. He was right! I will never be able to fully express the gratitude I feel towards him for pushing me to stay.
Dr. Little pushed me to achieve greatness and to believe in myself. I was a high school dropout and had already had two children by age 19. I was used to people in our society writing me off as not “good enough”.
Dr. Little never did that. He believed in me, even when I wasn’t sure I believed in myself. He is THE reason I am a graduate of the Honors College of the University of Houston. He facilitated the day my 3 children watched me walk across that stage, with a medal & Honors cords, along with my cap & gown.
I am a better person because of him, and I am so sorry that he is gone.
RIP Dr. Andy Little, you truly changed my life.
I honestly don't know what to say; I have been at a loss for words since I heard the news late Friday afternoon. Life can be so cruel, and so short— I should never have put off calling you for some much-needed advice these past few weeks. You made an indelible impact on my life— studying political philosophy was, in large part, because of you.
From meeting you at Honors Open House when you left me slack-jawed easily quoting Plato and Aristotle to a rapt audience; to my Human Sit Oral Final first semester of freshman year with a midline in my arm; to our Leviathan reading group that you invited me, the— annoying eternally optimistic, wide-eyed— freshman to attend; to co-presenting with you at a national conference my freshman year; to poking fun at my 21st birthday at 59 Diner where we had "milkshakes instead of mudslides"… to summer dinners at your house over O'Toole and Percy or pistachios at your desk over Herodotus and Weil, Plutarch and deBeauvoir; to mocking of my use of commas, my penchant for adjectival pairings, or my affection for all things French, (in particular Rousseau) much to your chagrin; to helping me select every course of my undergraduate career; to goading, chastising, championing me along my senior honors thesis journey and reading countless chapter drafts; to encouraging the decision to move to Austin to work in the Texas Legislature— your guidance, your handiwork, and your lessons have been present in it all. Memories. So many memories I will keep.
You often said we read The Great Books so that, when we are old, grey, and alone in the world, we could at least have an interesting conversation with ourselves. You were the master of such interesting conversation— a provocateur of the greatest of conversations. How I wish for just one more.
I will miss you so much, Dr. Little. Deeply, deeply saddened by this news, but I am trying to treasure the many memories and even more lessons, always. My heart and mind are with your Jacob and Jenny; may you be well, good doctor.
I am incredibly grateful to have learned from Professor Little's brilliant mind. I am grateful for all the conversations and meals we shared, for the countless memories from Study Abroad trips to Greece, Mississippi, and New Orleans. I will miss that smile and am so sad that I will never get to hear him sing again, especially my all-time favorite: his rendition of "Anna Begins" by the Counting Crows. It is unthinkable that future Honors College students will not know Professor Little, but he has left an indelible mark on so many, and we will carry his legacy for years to come. I hope you know how many lives you touched, and I hope you have found your peace. Be well, Professor Little.