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Trinity health science professor Karl J. Glass dies at 66

Trinity CommunicationsJune 24, 2019

Karl J. Glass, associate professor of health sciences and athletic training clinical coordinator at Trinity International University, died Saturday, June 22. He was 66.

Glass had served the Trinity faculty for 18 years, sharing his experience from years of work in the field of athletic training. During his final years on the faculty, he battled a number of personal health challenges.

“As many of you know, Karl had experienced serious medical issues in recent years, and in his mercy the Lord called him home Saturday evening,” Trinity president Nicholas Perrin wrote in an email Monday morning to the university community. “Karl’s friendly presence, professionalism, and collegiality will be deeply missed by the entire Trinity community.”

Glass earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Spring Arbor College in Michigan and a K-12 education certificate Master of Science degree from Indiana State University.

At TIU, Glass prepared future athletic trainers not only for the treatment of injuries, but also in effective techniques for preventing trauma. He served on the state board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Michigan (1990-2001) and worked since 1981 as an athletic trainer at FCA summer camps. Glass was a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association.

Professor of biology Joyce Shelton remembers the start of Glass’ time at Trinity. He arrived in 2001, at a time when TIU had started in athletic training with hopes of moving toward an accredited program.

“We were in dire need of a faculty member with the gifts and expertise to build and direct the program,” Shelton said.

Glass had spent many years working in the Henry Ford Health System Center for Athletic Medicine in Detroit.

“His unfailing hard work has resulted in health sciences programs at Trinity that are flourishing and many successful alumni, Shelton said. “But beyond these achievements, he will be remembered most by colleagues and students for his consistent faith, perseverance, trust in God, and courageous optimism.

“We honor his clear model of the faithful Christian life,” said Shelton, who worked closely with Glass to build the athletic training curriculum.

“Karl’s vision and tireless efforts led to the establishment of the Athletic Training major at Trinity,” TIU interim dean of undergraduate and graduate studies Don Hedges said. “However, it was his dedication to the success of each student—professionally, personally, and spiritually—that sustained the program.

“He will be deeply missed by the many students and practitioners who benefited from his kind and careful mentorship,” Hedges said.

“He was a true servant as a classroom instructor, advisor, colleague, and friend,” associate professor of athletic training Ryan D. Wilkinson said. “He had a unique ability to connect with students on an individual level and mentored them in ways that catered to each student’s needs. He had such a gentle and caring heart that will be deeply missed.”

In creating a 15-year anniversary tribute for Glass in 2016, Shelton quoted two anonymous athletic training students. Glass sometimes advised as many as 50 students at a time.

“He is dedicated to see his students succeed in not only their academics and future careers but also in life and their walk with Christ,” one student told Shelton. Said another: “He has persevered, no matter what was going on in his life. He never stopped working and caring for his students…. he has always responded to us when we needed his help.”

“Karl was one of the greatest men and mentors that I have ever had the pleasure of working with in my career,” said Angela Ferguson, who worked with Glass for 12 years. “He was always kind and patient and he would make time for anyone who needed his guidance.”

Ferguson is orthopedic coordinator, Center for Orthopedics, at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

“His faith and wisdom will stay with everyone who ever had the pleasure of coming across his path, and his students are all the better for having him as a professor,” Ferguson said.

“Karl Glass was an amazing, Christ like, strong, dedicated, servant-hearted man,” said Katy Boyack, a 2019 athletic training graduate. “He loved others so well and greatly supported me, not only as a student but also as a family friend! I feel very blessed to have shared life with Karl!”

In 2015, Glass received a kidney transplant from Jane Carello, a teacher at Bannockburn School. Glass’ wife Ginni was working at the school as technology director, and put out an appeal for kidney donations to the staff.

“I just knew I had to do it,” Carello told the Deerfield Review at the time.  “I don’t know why but from the time I read the email until I answered it was about 30 seconds.” In the story, Glass called Carello “a marvelous answer to prayer.”

Karl is survived by his wife Virginia, three children, and six grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be expressed to Trinity International University Athletic Training Program, 2065 Half Day Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, July 13 at 10 a.m. in A.T. Olson Chapel on the Trinity campus. A live broadcast will be available at stream.tiu.edu.  A reception will follow the service in the Waybright Student Center’s Lantern Lounge.

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