PD Dr. Dan Pokorny, many’s doctoral father, friend and colleague, our companion has passed away, too early, on November 29, 2017 in Ulm, after short and heavy illness.
We all knew Dan with his laptop and a pen and paper notebook, with hot coffee, always approachable to support us in psychotherapy research. He did not only devote his mathematical expertise to his colleagues projects, he turned to us as human beings. His creativity and patience opened up room for thought, and his office was home to many research projects, doctoral theses and habilitations.
When sometimes analyses and calculations became frustratingly narrow, there was always the view through his window into trees: in Dan’s office at the Ulm Hochsträß, later on Eselsberg, and starting in 2017 it should have been a room with view upon the Vienna Prater.
Writing this text did not come easy and we processed it as a small group together. We are reminded of writing acknowledgments in our theses when some of us spent day after day trying to put them together. Only Dan showed understanding and once said: „Well yes of course! It is the most difficult and also most serious part of the PHD to write the acknowledgments“.´This was Dan Pokorny: telling us something different from what could have been expected and, for this reason, pushing us beyond the place we already were.
The loss of Dan hurts manifoldly. Firstly, because there no longer is our friend Dan. In the last ten years we spent many joyful evenings with Dan at SFU, discussing about professional as well as deeply personal issues. He integrated joyfulness and intellectuality in a way that will be missed. In this respect we shall try harder to become ‚joyful scientists‘ just as he was one. Unforgettable are the long talks and his support in difficult personal times, in which we experienced his deep empathy. Unforgettable are his jokes while teaching complex topics, which made everything more digestable.
Secondly, we loose a colleague and teacher with Dan Pokorny. As head of the International PHD Programme and teacher in our English Bachelor and Master Programme of Psychotherapy Science we miss him, especially his students. He was a great academic teacher with integrity, whose engagement for students did not cut loose at the end of a course. We take measure on ourselves over his unique ability to always open up a room for young ideas, ideally with a view upon many trees.
We hereby send our deep compassion to Dan Pokorny’s family.
In heartfelt memory: your friends and colleagues from Sigmund Freud Private University