Dr. Cameron Airhart was chair of the History Department when I attended and confirmed my desire to major in History. In class, his lectures felt more like a conversation with an old friend. He was imparting wisdom and knowledge, but in a manner that felt like he was telling me the greatest story I had ever heard. Medieval European History came alive to me, Ancient Rome drew me in and, in my last year, a reading seminar course made me feel like I was his peer. Dr. Airhart and Dr.Charles Bressler cooked up a course (Literature and History of England) to allow us to spend spring break in London. What a thrill that was, to have scholarly men teach and prepare us for a lifechanging trip to walk the streets of the famous historical figures and literary minds of England. Because of his influence, I became a secondary history teacher and have continued his legacy of making history classes dynamic and engaging for my students.
Rachel (Richardson ‘94) Stocker
While Dr. Rich Eckley could navigate the world of academia with the best of them, he taught us to DO theology and think about God in a variety of ways so as to deepen our understanding and activity in His Kingdom. He lived out in front of us what it means to follow Jesus Christ daily. He was truly an inspiration. Al Meyers ’94
Field Botany adventures and Ecology excursions with Dr. Jim Wolfe are some favorite memories of Houghton. Through lecture, labs and exams, he taught much more than information. He taught us how to process and apply it. He provided an environment for us to learn how to think. Never one to care if students recognized his intelligence, he focused on helping us to make the most of ours. Disguised behind a tattered field coat, brimmed hat and somewhat trimmed beard is a genius with a true heart for students. Thirty years ago, Dr. Wolfe was my favorite professor; now, I’m glad to say he is a true friend. Eric Ashley ’90
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so, when Dr. Bill O’Byrne took me under his wing, it was a time of great spiritual discovery that lead to a lifelong pursuit of Christ. When I arrived at Houghton, I had been a Christian for only one year and wondered what I’d signed up for. The stories, the language and the culture were all brand new to me, and I was doubtful and rebellious at times. Dr. O’Byrne was gentle and non-judgmental and allowed me to ask questions that my peers were often unequipped or afraid to explore with me. When he was sick and receiving full-time care in Houghton, he still took time to speak with me briefly so that I could say goodbye and let him know how important he’d been to me. I believe that my faith is solid because of his encouragement, teaching and love.
Cori (Moshier ’96) Doble
I took many a class with Jake Jacobson as a math major. “Squiggle” and “blinky-blinky” will always be part of my lexicon. Jake taught me to think mathematically and how to reason. How to be confident in my reasoning and uncertainties. How to be humble and to link my gifts to a greater purpose. He welcomed me later as a peer and continues to challenge me to grow and to live, learn and lead meaningfully.
Paul Watson II ’98
Dr. Sue (Crider) Atkins was pivotal in my time at Houghton. I’d been struggling to figure out what I was doing with my life, and her classes helped me hone in on my love for writing and marketing. She struck just the right balance of extremely challenging and yet very encouraging. The advertising class I took with her was unlike any other; she had us work alongside design and audio recording students to collaborate on an integrated marketing campaign, providing us with the kinds of skills that would translate into the workplace. I have continued to draw upon what she taught me throughout my career, including my current work with Houghton’s Marketing and Communication Department.
Amy (Danna ‘93) Tetta
While I enjoyed all of my professors at Houghton College, Dr. Rich Eckley had the most profound impact on my life during my studies at Houghton. Dr. Eckley (or “Rich,” as he preferred to be addressed) had the ability to not only teach theology and how to study scripture but also equip his students to reflect theologically about life and ministry. During my senior year, Dr. Eckley met regularly with me and a group of ministerial students over lunch to work through “Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic” by Reinhold Niebuhr. I still think back to those conversations and the ministry insights gained. Simply said, Dr. Eckley was clearly committed to shaping “scholar pastors.” His sincere care and concern for his students combined with his high academic expectations blessed and challenged me! I left Houghton not only well equipped for graduate school but also with the biblical and theological tools necessary to grow as a Christ follower and for effective ministry.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Pickering ’93
Professor Greenway awakened my reposeful soul with breathtaking beauty, beaming joy, glimmering optimism and awesome wonder by igniting an artistic spark in me, which released imaginative inhibitions and ebullient energy that lay demurely dormant. I was truly honored to have had the opportunity to become academically acquainted with, cross literary pathways with and receive exemplary educational instruction from him at Houghton College. He not only taught his students to eagerly learn, ravenously read, comprehensively study, and expand their understanding and knowledge of literature but inspired them to seek deeper meaning, value and purpose by developing an intrinsic appreciation and utilizing its practical application beyond academic borders into the outside world of modern society. I extol Professor William Greenway with the utmost gratitude, respect and fond admiration. He embodied the quintessence of a liberal arts education through his exceptional gift of teaching and countless years of outstanding and dedicated service to the Houghton College community. He positively influenced and inspirationally touched the lives of everyone who knew and loved him. His beautiful light will brightly blaze with effervescent fervor and spiritual zeal. He will be reverently remembered, and his remarkable legacy shall live on in our hearts and souls forever.
Amy (Pierce ’94) Pacini
My aunt, Alice Pool, was not one of my teachers. But it was always fun to go to her house—“Pool House.” Anyone could use her house for a party. Everything in the kitchen and bathroom had its place in the cupboards because there were notes taped in every cupboard. There were notes in her car, so she could remember how things worked. She walked all over campus and walked to church in the village. She loved her students and wanted each one to love the Lord and to succeed in his/her field of work.
Kay Welsh ’96
I graduated in 1990 and was the “test case” for the (at the time) brand new Youth Concentration program developed within the Christian Education Major. Dr. O’Byrne was my faculty advisor. Before the concentration program was created, I took a few of Dr. Byrne’s classes as a requirement for my Christian Ed program. At first, I didn’t really get him and basically came to class and did the work just for the grade. However, once he became my advisor and we had a chance to really develop a friendship through his advisor role, I truly began to appreciate him. Looking back, I had a wonderful experience in the program because of Dr. O’Byrne’s encouragement and commitment to my success. I’m thankful for his guidance and really enjoyed having him as my advisor during my Houghton experience.
Kris “Paroline” Castro ’90
I loved all of Dr. Gaerte’s classes but especially our Readers’ Theater class. He and Phyllis were also always so kind to me, knowing that I was from a long ways away. My friend and I were part of a group through the church that met at their house, and I have lots of fond memories of good times spent at their house (blessedly off campus). His kindness and depth of listening were so important for me. I also really loved working with him as part of the senate/student government. They even traveled down to Maryland for my wedding, eight years after I graduated! Dr. Kathy Trezise was another professor I really loved. I was only her student for my first semester freshmen year in Calc 1. She co-taught with Jake (also a great man!), and I remember that he would FLY through so much material in one lecture (sometimes too fast), and then the next lecture, she would go over it all again, and between the two of them, I learned it! 🙂 I also worked with her as an FYI leader. Finally, the Roederers were also another wonderful couple who were so incredibly kind to me. Their daughter lives in Alaska, and so they understood how lonely I really was for family and companionship, and they always kept a close eye on me.
Laura (Judge ’99) Baltatzis
Dr. Weber taught me all about Multiple Intelligences and how to weave this into teaching. Honestly, I was not initially sold on the idea, but after 10+ years, my teaching is growing to be more organic, student-centered and interactive thanks to her guidance. My two years at Houghton made a lasting impact on my personal and professional growth.
Elaine Williams ’99
My first encounter with a Houghton professor was visiting as a prospective and meeting Dr. Wolfe. I was an undeclared major at the time (my junior year, I would choose English Literature), but I was leaning towards Environmental Biology. As Dr. Wolfe asked about my planned major and career, I responded with something like “I don’t know whether biology is what I’m best at.” His response was excellent: “If you’re willing to work, you will succeed. It’s not about some natural giftedness. It’s about deciding how hard you are willing to work.” It was something I needed to hear at that point in my life. I needed to refute that misconception many teens have about academic success, that it’s about mostly natural giftedness. But the most enduring memory of Dr. Wolfe was when he came down the hall to Forest Ecology with a delighted grin, dragging a gunny sack with a road-killed beaver to dissect later. Well, that, and his heartfelt devotions—and the visits to his class by Wolfie, his dog.
Melvin Foster ’97
Dr. Tyson taught me so much about the Christian faith. I studied History and Theology through primary documents and biography and learned to see a number of different denominations and theological positions through sympathetic eyes rather than merely hearing a caricature or a strawman version, as unfortunately happens in some Christian circles. I often say that, at Houghton, I learned about the “Big Tent” of the church, and Dr. Tyson was a big part of that education. He assigned books like Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Strength to Love” that I have since assigned to my English and Bible classes, shared in family devotions and used in my sermons. He also taught me how to write a real research paper. And he had a wonderful sense of curiosity and love of learning about everything. He never presented himself as more important than his students. I even recall a conversation about Nestorius we had at the bathroom sink.
Melvin Foster ’97
If you had a class after chapel with Dr. Wardwell, and chapel ran over, you knew (because Dr. Wardwell told you) that “God wants you in class.” I appreciate that Dr. Wardwell made us study Milton, Shakespeare, Herbert and the solid English canon. He was great at bringing the humor of English literature to life, whether it was the sheep in the Wakefield Second Shepherd’s play (he played the sheep; the shepherd had to catch him), the nurse in Romeo and Juliet, or the dog in a Thomas Hardy poem. But I especially appreciate the Milton Seminar. Without that class, I would hardly have given Milton, a truly brilliant author and thinker, a second thought. We had to bring a one-page typed paper response to Milton Seminar class many days. One typed page, but it could be any font. That’s when I became acquainted with a button called “make it fit” on the word processor.
Melvin Foster ’97
I have to give credit to Dr. David Howard for helping me to learn English mechanics. I wrote a paper for him, and he returned it full of red symbols that said things I didn’t understand like CS and FS. I had done well in high school English but had learned very little grammar and mechanics except intuitively. Dr. Howard took the time to explain what the mistakes were and how to correct them.
Melvin Foster ’97
Prof “Jake” Jacobsen—loved him dearly. I loved his casual look, like he rolled out of bed and walked across the street into the Science building. He loved to teach the 8 a.m. classes! I was a Math major and worked with him on an honors project. He had a way of making me feel like the work/ideas were mine, but I think they were mostly his! He encouraged me by asking me to be a TA and grade some of the lower-level classes’ assignments. He encouraged me to apply and helped me get into graduate school to study math (and be a grad TA). My favorite, most significant spiritual/math lesson was about his descriptions of a fourth dimension of time. It gave me a tangible perspective of how God is past, present and future and able to see all and be present in all. It was a beautiful thing!
Karen (Pease ’93) Davie
I had several wonderful professors in my time at Houghton! I took three theater classes with Bruce Brenneman, not because acting was my passion, but because he was so great. I was headed to his class one day, and he caught me up saying, “Hey, I think your mom just called for you as I was walking by the switchboard. Want to use my office phone to call home?” I did, to find out my grandfather had passed away unexpectedly. What I love about this occurrence is that Bruce, like many profs at Houghton, knew his students by first and last name and face, knew enough to know a call mid-day from home was exceptional, and was kind and compassionate enough to let me have the privacy of his office to return that sad call. Houghton was exactly the place I needed to be for my college career, and I am ever grateful for all of the professors who invested time, energy and kindness in it and me.
Stephanie Garrity ’90
Professor Zoller taught me the importance of ENGAGING THE SENSES to make the best writing. Don’t talk abstract; talk about the smells, the sights, the sounds. Make it vivid by making it tangible and real! Professor Leax taught me that the writing is its own reward. Keep at it, no matter what.
Matthew Owen ’94
I never had the pleasure of a class or theater with Bruce Brenneman, but Bruce invested time in me and many others far from home. Bruce welcomed everyone with open arms and could always be counted on for wise counsel. Later, Bruce continued as a treasured mentor when I joined him on the HC faculty. I had the unique privilege of breaking bread with him on my first day and on my last day at Houghton, both as student and faculty. It is from Bruce that I saw a Godly example of choosing to show empathy and genuine concern for others.
Paul Watson II ’98
I thought I was a great writer/communicator; then, I met Prof. Wing. His uncanny way of showing me that there was always a way to say/communicate “it” better has stayed with me. It is with Prof. Wing I honed my technical writing abilities and sharpened my quick responses and wit in the face of troubling scenarios. It was over spaghetti dinners that I truly understood the impact of the spoken word.
Paul Watson II ’98
I have certainly appreciated all of my professors at Houghton for many reasons. The biggest reason is probably how they all pointed us to Christ, and they always began every class with prayer, a hymn or both. Professor Ted Norton used to say something that has stuck with me very clearly ever since. He taught woodwinds in the Music department, and his saying referred to practicing fingerings, scales, etc., but it applies to all of life as well as being a Christian. He said, “True freedom begins when necessary restrictions are buried in habit.” This is one of those sayings that has layers of truth and meaning that hit you when you least expect it and surprises you with its depth AND simplicity. I have gained freedom in my walk with Christ because I have applied this idea to the way I live, and I have shared his saying in several different venues. Several of us called Mr. Norton “Dr. Norton” because we felt that he deserved it, even though he was not a Dr.
Patricia Havens ’93
Carl Schultz was the first professor I met when I came to visit Houghton before my senior year. He was so kind, spent time with my parents and me talking about what his department could offer me as a student. He was obviously brilliant but talked to me as if we were peers.
Lisa Seidel ’93