Prof uses his terminal diagnosis as a 'teachable moment'

Metropolitan State University prof Monte Bute

I did a profile of Metropolitan State University professor Monte Bute for MPR’s Morning Edition this morning.

Last year on his 65th birthday, Bute was diagnosed with a rare and terminal pulmonary lymphoma. At the time doctors gave him about 14 months to live.

That was 12 months ago, and in that time he’s been using his diagnosis to teach students about how Western culture views death and dying.

Bute’s cancer is in remission, but he expects it to come roaring back in the coming months.  He says he’ll be happy if chemotherapy treatments have given him another six months of life.

Bute is quite a character.  I could do entire stories on his time as a juvenile delinquent, his experiences in hippiedom in the late 60s, or his stint as a peace activist in Minnesota.

Colleagues and former students have set up The Monte Bute Fan Club on Facebook.  It has more than 300 members at this point.  Bute told me the fan club not only pushed his diagnosis into the public eye, giving him the chance to use it in the classroom, but it’s been a great support as well.