Magelli passes away

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. - Update: 4:00 pm, 12/9/16, Friday 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- A noted scholar wanted his life to be celebrated when he passed away. Now, countless students and colleagues are doing just that.

A man people say could change your life from one conversation, died Sunday. Paul Magelli climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro a few years ago.

But, he was so much more than a mountain climber. To many, he was a mentor, friend and father figure.

It's been a somber week at the UI Business School because those who knew Magelli say he touched the lives of every single person who came through his door.

"The amazing thing about Paul, he treated the pundits and the peasants and the princes all the same. And, all of them were special. And, when you walked away, you left with a feeling of 'Oh, my god, he sees something in me.'"

Magelli was a man who's described as everything you see on this wall. But Raj says the word, perhaps standing out above the rest, would be "teacher."

"Until the last week, he was a teacher. He taught from his hospital bed. He taught from his home."

Until the end.

"The very fact that he was there until the last week, tells me that he willed himself until the end of the semester for his students."

"He came to class with an energy that other professors in the college don't have."

Hannah Schlacter and her friends say it wasn't just in the classroom.

"My interactions with him outside of class were just as meaningful."

"He only met me a couple of times, but I really feel like I did connect with him through those small meetings and I learned so much from him just from the few times I talked to him."

The way Magelli connected with students reached across borders.

"Wouldn't be at the University of Illinois if it wasn't for him."

One chat with Magelli was enough to convince Kyle Texter to come from Minnesota.

"He's somebody that kind of helped me realize that I had more potential than I thought I had. I was kind of just going on a trajectory of mediocrity, getting along with life, doing well, not doing really well. But, he showed me that there's a lot more to the world out there."

A world Magelli got a lot out of during his lifetime.

"One thing about Paul, he fulfilled his purpose in life and I think very few of us can say that, but he actually did."

In his more than 60-years of teaching, he said he was never in it for the money or status; he was in it because he had a "servant's heart."

"Hopefully he's put it into the students and some of the faculty and some of the directors, deans, all of that. I hope he has put that seed of what he has into someone else and I hope it keeps growing and growing and growing."

Mrs. Magelli says his death came when many students were leaving for winter break, so they'll be making funeral arrangements for late January when students return. 

Original: 1:40 pm, 12/5/16, Monday

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- A man who became the oldest American man to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, passed away Sunday.

Paul Magelli hoped to go again and become the oldest man in the world to make the climb.

Magelli taught for more than 60-years. Many of his UI students would go on to become successful business leaders.

Magelli died from medical complications following heart surgery.

His family will be establishing a scholarship fund in his name.


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