Campus Closeup: Donald Dreisbach

In his days as an undergrad, Donald Dreisbach (Philosophy) found the only classes he stayed awake in were his philosophy courses. This led him to scrap his plans to pursue a career in physics and obtain his doctorate in philosophy.


Dreisbach is in the midst of his final year as a full-time professor. He started at Northern in 1969. Dreisbach teaches three different classes a semester "so I don't go from one room to another repeating the same lines and jokes." The only part of his job that he said he would like to change is the amount of time it takes to grade papers. His favorite part of his job is being in the classroom, especially when a class goes well and students seem obviously involved and interested.


“That’s a lot of fun. I think if you have any kind of ego, it really feeds your ego. It is easy to think ‘I am really good,’” Dreisbach said.


The biggest change he has seen in his 38 years here is a steady increase in class size. It seemed to happen over a short period of time, partially due to difficulties with replacing retiring faculty and partially because philosophy classes happen to be what students found open.


As a native of southeastern Pennsylvania, he first found the U.P. winter to be exciting because there wasn't much snow where he came from. Now he finds himself disenchanted with the extreme winter conditions.


“As I get older and creakier, the icy sidewalks that used to just bother me now scare me. Having to dig my car out of snowdrifts and clear my driveway- I’m tired of doing that. When I was younger, it was something of an adventure,” Dreisbach said.


Although he is not thrilled with wintertime, he is not planning to relocate after his retirement. Not only does he love summertime here, his family keeps him tied to the Upper Peninsula. His wife is from Michigamme and his youngest son is a senior in high school here. His other son is a graduate student at New York University.


Dreisbach enjoys traveling in his spare time. He has been to Germany and some of German-speaking Europe. He can speak some German but says he is not fluent. He also likes to spend his free time reading. He has no favorite genre, so he reads everything from journals and newspapers to all sorts of books.


 “I have to be careful around detective stories because once I pick one of those things up, I won’t go to bed or do anything else until I get the damn thing done. I don’t feel too bad about having that weakness,” Dreisbach said.


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Updated: November 1, 2007

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