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A guiding light: Dr. Prosper Yao Tsikata

VSU professor Dr. Prosper Yao Tsikata died March 18 but according to multiple sticky notes from students and faculty around VSU, he will surely be missed. With high energy and contagious personality Dr. Tsikata was not only a leader, but also a friend.

Senior speech communication major, Chobi Young, is one of the many students Dr. Tsikata was able to impact at VSU. Young was a student in his Communication, Culture and Community class this semester; however, she’s taken Dr. Tsikata’s classes beforehand.

“Dr. Tsikata was very headstrong,” Young said. “At first came he came off very assertive, but you have to be in his class to understand who he is as a person.”

Like many others, Young said Dr. Tsikata may have to grow on you.

“He was thoughtful and always kept it real,” Young said. “The quality of his work made him very proud, and he talked about various articles he had written to encourage us to better our writing.”

Originally from Ghana, Dr. Tsikata made sure his students understood hard work. He was not only a husband and father of two but also a father figure to his students.

Freshman communications and public relations major, Arielle Robinson, was also a student of Dr. Tsikata in his Interpersonal Communications class. Robinson said she feels he was someone who genuinely cared about others and wanted them to succeed.

“Dr. Tsikata has forever impacted my life, not only as a professor but also as a loving friend,” Robinson said. “If I had the chance to walk into his class again, I would say thank you so much for making class so amazing and making learning so easy.”

When Robinson turned 18, Dr. Tsikata presented her with a birthday card and allowed the class to sing “Happy Birthday.”

“He got everyone to sign the card, and later that day, gave me a piece of pizza,” Robinson said. “No other teacher has done that for me.”

Colleagues of Dr. Tsikata have also had a hard time accepting their beloved friend’s untimely death.

Previous roommate of Dr. Tsikata, Professor Bob Dowd, took the death of his good friend extremely hard.

“Prosper was a great guy,” Dowd said. “He was my colleague for the past seven or eight months. He was a very educated man and a true class act.”

Dr. Tsikata was a true treasure to many. Once the news of his passing reached faculty, Monday morning became a Day of Silence for the beloved teacher and friend. On Friday, Dr. Tsikata’s wife and family came to gather his things from his office as well as the sticky notes students and friends left on his door.

Now, when walking into the Communications Building, there is a presence missing that can never be replaced. To the great friend, motivator and by far the best dressed gentleman from head to toe, Dr. Tsikata Yao Prosper is an authentic soul that will surely be missed.

Story and photos by Taylor Sutherland, Staff Writer. 

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