Robert Black, who goes by “Bobby,” is wicked smart. He can talk fluently about the Federal Reserve the way Jon Gruden talks about blitz packages. Bobby has an encyclopedic knowledge of quantitative concepts and a love for language. But he does not indulge in his strengths. He puts students at ease through gentle humor and a friendly disposition. In the spring of 2009, a fellow classmate ordered t-shirts with Bobby’s picture displayed on the front. I’ve lost the t-shirt, but I have not lost the memories.
Bradford Sargent ’09
The first class I had with Jean-Louis Roederer was French 102. I remember, one day after class, he suggested to me, “You should really think about majoring in French.” I, of course, laughed at such an idea, and yet, four years later, I found myself graduating with a major in French, and I’m still often baffled that I am now pursuing a master’s in French. These are life steps that I would not have taken without the influence and encouragement of Prof. Roederer.
Bethany Romig ’08
I tried to drop Bernie Piersma’s Inorganic Chemistry as I was struggling to keep up with some of the math. I was pre-med, so, if I didn’t get through his class, I was done! He was adamant that, if I kept working and touched base with him regularly, I could do it. I met before class often in his office for tea (heated on a Bunsen burner, no less) and reviewed my homework efforts. I survived and received the most rewarding B of my academic career. When I graduated, he signed a book for me on the world’s first implantable pacemaker (he had worked on the project). “Andrew, you did well in chemistry—you will make a great doctor!” I work as a doctor specializing in gastroenterology and have been blessed to train at some of the best places in the country. Houghton prepared me well, and Dr. P. was a big part of the story!
Andrew Tinsley ’01
My freshman year at Houghton, I had Laurie Dashnau’s writing class. It also happened to be her first year of teaching at Houghton, and she was honest and open and made it feel like we were all learning together. She knew that I was struggling and lonely, and she took the time to listen and pray with me. I will never forget her, and I will always be so thankful to God that He brought us together at that time!
Rebekah Smith ’04
Nan Hussey impacted me greatly. I did not have any classes with her, but she and I became friends, and she helped encourage me in my writing. She also inspired my faith and challenged me to seek God more wholeheartedly. Dr. Irma Howard was always encouraging and promoted the spiritual and emotional welfare of her students. I remember that I could go to her for anything.
Kelly (Hanson ’09) Eisbacher
As a non-Christian, I wasn’t overly excited about taking Biblical Studies 101. Therefore, I left it until the fall semester of my senior year to enroll myself in the course. To my surprise, the first class turned out to be a life-changer for me as professor Michael Walters walked into class with a head full of dreads and a big fat joint in his hand. He went on to share his life story about dropping out of university, being a burnout and eventually becoming a theologian. I felt an immediate connection with my prof as I felt he was different and had the compassion to understand my different views on life. He enlightened me and talked to me on my own terms rather than preaching to me. He understood my pain of having to deal with people who couldn’t understand my cultural differences of being brought up in a Hindu/Sikh background that intertwined culture and religion. He gave me the opportunity to express myself and took interest in learning from me while imparting knowledge to me from his own experiences. Our relationship grew throughout the semester and helped me take a complete turn in my life when he taught us about Revelation 3:15 in class. This was my life wrapped up in two verses! I always thought that I would live my life and experience as much as I could while I was young before eventually giving up my life to God in my later years. However, at that moment, I realized there might not be a tomorrow in my life, in which case God would be spitting me out of His world. From this moment on, my outlook on life changed and helped me realize that it was now or never for me. Professor Walters probably doesn’t know the effect that he had on my life, but he needs to know that he is hugely responsible for making me a servant of this world through the game that I love. Up until I met him, soccer was my God; however, he helped me realize that I could do a lot more good for the world by being a coach than I could by being a player. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world influencing lives through the beautiful game because of the time Professor Walters took to build a relationship with me to be my friend, counselor and mentor in the short time that we spent together.
Sanjeev Parmar ’00
Houghton College is replete with passionate faculty and staff who work tirelessly to develop the potential of scholar servants. While many people influenced my time at Houghton, none did so as substantially as Professor Ken Bates of the Business Department and Professor Doug Gaerte of the Communication department. Between the two of them, I spent more than 20% of my academic time at Houghton in their courses. Each man showed a passion for education in all areas of a student’s life. Professor Gaerte became my advisor during Welcome Weekend (by my choice and his gracious acceptance), and Professor Bates guided my path within the discipline of business and leadership. Each invited me alongside other students into their homes for special topics courses or watching the annual presidential State of the Union. Beyond these experiences were countless informal meetings and conversations I had with each in their offices, benefiting from their life stories and advice about academics and life in general. Their impact has been an impact that has continued across the nearly 13 years since I left Houghton. When I search in my email for messages to or from either of them, more than 100 results come back. For more than a dozen years since I graduated, I have considered myself lucky to have known each of these superlative men who are also incredible educators. It is with such deep admiration that I write this entry. They are sterling examples of how Houghton equips students to lead and labor as scholar-servants in a changing world.
Jonathan Davidson ’05
Dr. Walters and Dr. Eckley were the two biggest influences at Houghton, but Dr. LaCelle-Peterson and Dr. Case were also very instrumental in bringing about a great two years at Houghton. I was challenged in the ways I needed to be and encouraged at every step. I am thankful that the men and women of Houghton College’s Religion and Philosophy department were not only top-notch professors but people I consider to be friends.
Christopher Cole ’08
Andy Gallman had a big influence on my life. One of the major reasons I came to Houghton was because of its linguistics program, so it was natural that I would be in a lot of his linguistics classes. The take-home final for his Phonology course was probably my favorite college assignment ever. Phonology datasets are like big logic problems, and for those of us who like logic puzzles, a well-crafted phonology test was pure joy and fun to work through. … I remember decidedly weirding several (non-linguistics) classmates out as I tried in vain to explain how a final exam could be pure fun to complete.
David Ford ’07
One of the things I value most about my Houghton experience is the number of truly wonderful professors I encountered whose impact is something I regularly feel in the way they helped shaped the way I think and see the world. There are a number of professors who let me audit their classes (in addition to attending full time), and I would go just to experience the brilliance of their lectures. Still, my favorite professor by far was Dr. Bradley Beach. He joined the Philosophy department (my major) when I was a sophomore. He taught philosophy like a collection of living ideas instead of merely teaching the history of philosophical thought. He could breathe life into each idea and make you really consider, “What if this were true?” He was also, for me, the most approachable professor I had. Either by myself or with friends, I would frequently stop by his office and chat. He was always warm and welcoming; he never made me feel that I was a bother, though, through more adult eyes, I can only imagine that he was often busy. I know I was not alone among my circle of friends; many of my friends found him approachable and someone they could turn to. My housemates and I even had him and his wonderful wife over for dinner a few times, which we did with a few professors, and they were the only ones to return the invitation. He always seemed to have a sincere interest in his students and a desire to help us navigate the difficult paths we faced.
Jessica Grimm-Lyon ’03
I loved my time at Houghton and had many wonderful professors, but my piano professor, Dr. Galloway, was my favorite! He taught me so much about improving as a pianist, how to practice well, etc. He could always tell when I hadn’t put in enough practice time and could communicate that in a way that never made me feel bad but encouraged me to get back to work. Even after graduation, Dr. Galloway encouraged me in getting my master’s degree at a college back home in NJ, and when I told him that I’d stopped the program at the halfway point, he encouraged me to go back and finish before life got too difficult (i.e., KIDS). I took his advice and finished my degree and am so glad I listened!
Julie (Hampson ’01) Teitsma
Richard Eckley, PACE Program in West Seneca (2009), taught about scripture and Christianity with a great deal of sensitivity to those in the class. He struck a great balance of integrity, intelligence and wit.
Wendy Cocca ’10
Dr. David Schwert made a huge impact on my education and career. He went above and beyond to provide opportunities for students to learn. I have great memories of an independent study in parasitology that helped me to circle back around to my original career path. Dr. Schwert was very animated and frequently talked about “blowing the paint off the walls” with gastrointestinal issues when describing concepts in microbiology. He sent us on quests to discover knowledge and “diagram, label and describe” what we learned. As a senior, I had second-guessed my career path and was unsure of my next steps. Dr. Schwert encouraged me to return to my original passion and reached out to a colleague and paved the way for me to enter an internship program after the application deadline. He frequently referred to me as “Dr. Melfi” and recognized my potential in lab medicine and higher ed. Though I have not achieved the title of doctor, my career has blossomed because of his investment and guidance. I am forever grateful for his influence on my life.
Rebecca Lawson ’04
Dr. Kiiti was a mother/aunt for me on campus and even beyond. Dr. Kiiti is all around an example of a godly woman. Due to the small minority/diverse population on Houghton Campus, it was easy to feel alone and passed over. But Dr. Kiiti ensured that I was reminded that I have a presence even though I’m small in number. She opened her home for me and other minority students to have a place that was a semblance of our homes and parents. She would shuttle us to church in Rochester in her car, and never did she complain, and we always were fed. She was a consistent source of encouragement and strength and a prayer warrior. I’m forever grateful that my life was blessed by her presence. Never once did I see her upset. Overall, she went above and beyond the office of a professor; she is servant leader who exemplified Christ daily. She is Christ beautified in a strong, Godfearing Kenyan lady. I love her.
Adele Cameron ’09
Dr. Paul Young hands-down was my favorite professor of all time. I learned so much in his Human Sexuality class and was constantly encouraged by his class devotions about grace. He is a wealth of information and one of the most humble and gentle Christian men I have ever met. I feel blessed to have taken so many classes with him. The information he presented was invaluable. And I still use it today.
Natalie Groff ’07
Connie Finney was a great advisor, always had a smile, helped us not feel stressed about classes we didn’t want to take and found options that fit the requirements and my personality both! Jake Jacobson was so challenging, but he loved us even as he stretched us. Jo-Anne Young somehow knew my potential even when I didn’t think I had it in me! She taught me so much beyond the actual classwork.
Tabitha (VanDoren ’05) Berryman
Dr. Gadevsky taught my piano lessons my senior year as a Music major. It was a very difficult year for me because my brother had died the summer before, and I was trying to deal with my grief and still complete all my school assignments. Often times, I would go to my lessons and just burst into tears, and she just listened and let me pour out my heart. I will never forget one day when I was feeling so overwhelmed, I said, “How do teachers expect us to fit all this work into the time we have?” And she said something like, “We don’t. We realize you won’t be able to meet every expectation. Part of learning is deciding for yourself what to prioritize and what to let go.” And it helped me so much! It is a life lesson that I have carried with me all these years. You can’t do everything, and it is up to us to pray and figure out what God wants us to make a priority.
Rebekah Smith ’04