After forty years of loyal service, associate professor Benno Bonke is exchanging Erasmus MC for his other passion: the fine arts. On Tuesday afternoon he bade farewell to students, colleagues and many others in the Education Centre. A mini concert by his choir and four musicians heralded the start of the farewell reception for one of Erasmus MC’s most popular lecturers.

Although he started out as a chemistry student, his heart wasn’t in it. During his lectures he explained psychology and medical psychology using true stories. Because of him, education in medical psychology flourished and grew, according to Bonke’s supervisor, Professor Jan van Busschbach. Nowadays, it is an established and extensive part of the entire study of medicine, represented in various forms in special lessons designated for that purpose.

Even 'sweet'

Students and colleagues came along in large numbers to the reception and soon formed a long queue waiting to shake hands with Bonke. What is he really like as a lecturer? For the students who attended his farewell reception, it appears to be difficult to find the right words to describe him. They regarded him as ‘energetic’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘involved’, even ‘sweet’.

A lecturer with in-depth knowledge and strong arguments and not someone who easily shares his opinions. “A man of passion, well aware of the needs of his students”, as one student put it who attended the farewell reception. “Once you have had lessons from him, he recognises you and says hello every time you come across him”, said another student. She thinks this is a very special quality in a lecturer who gives lessons to hundreds of students.

“He wants to recount something and, in this way, change not only the students, but also the world”, says Van Busschbach, something that the students noticed during his lectures. Following the departure of Dr. Bontenbal, this is the second occasion within a short period of time that an extremely popular lecturer is leaving Erasmus MC.