Our Favorite Professors
Bill Buccalo in the broadcasting department. He taught me a lot about script writing that applied to many aspects of life. He had the best sense of humor and really knew his students well. I never fell asleep in his class because he knew how to present things in a way that we could relate to. He seemed really interested in what he was teaching and attended a lot of workshops, one of which was with film director Frank Capra (Capra directed a lot of classic films such as "Bringing up Baby" with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant). Knowing that he was always learning new things inspired me to do the same. Gerald Waite was also one of my favorite professors and people. He spent almost two hours with me when I came to visit Northern as a senior in high school and was probably the number one influence in my decision to attend Northern, which was one of the best decisions of my life!
Although I had many excellent professors at Northern, I found Dr. Pat Jerome to be among the best. His relaxed style of teaching encouraged student growth. His positive attitude was evident and carried through to the classroom. His class was one of my fvorites.
In the winter of 1980, I started attending Northern Michigan University. I had two years of college credits under my belt through attending a community college in Detroit, but was still unsure of my major. I knew I was interested in the Human Services field and connected with Ken Kelly from the Social Work Department at Northern. Ken took me to lunch (at Hardees across from campus) in the spring of 1980. He outlined all the classes I needed to graduate in two years. After that meeting with Ken, I declared my major...Social Work. That meeting with him really has had a profound effect on my life. True to his word, I took all the classes he outlined and graduated in the spring of 1982. I also met my future wife, Kim Johnston, through taking a social work class in the fall of 1980. We just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. During those two years Ken was always available, as an advisor, to talk to not just about school, but about life. As a social worker, Ken always exhibited a compassion for the profession as well as the people that are in need of help and support. Even after I left Northern, we kept in touch. When I asked him to write a job reference for me he wrote the nicest, most flattering letter for any future employer to read. For all these things that Ken did for me, I will be forever indebted to him.
My favorite professor was Dr. Russ Magnaghi from the history department. I have often thought about the most influential people in my life--Dr. Russ Magnaghi ranks on the top of my list. As an ex-athlete struggling to find myself, Dr. Magnaghi took me under his wing and helped me understand that there was more to life than football. He introduced me to the wonderful world of history. My life changed from that point forward. No longer a frightened student, I found myself enjoying life through reading the triumphs and failures of others. His act of kindness created a love for learning that never left my side. After graduation, I went on to become a political advisor, an author, and eventually an owner of a professional service firm. Dr. Magnaghi will always have a special place in my heart.
I had so many interesting professors during my years at NMU. I studied Fine Arts, Psychology and Special Education Mental Retardation. They each impacted my beliefs, values and reasoning in different ways. I felt the closest to Dr. Marg McKee. She made us all feel valued and important, she inspired us to become great teachers. Professor Robert Carter was the one who kept me going when I thought I wouldn't complete my degree, due to my own learning disability. He also gave me the idea to try Hawaii as an initial teaching site. I taught there for 10 wonderful years and I might not have even considered it if he hadn't described his first year of teaching there. My Fine Arts professor let me discover my own creativity and I have managed to continue to express it in my teaching as well as my art. My Psychology professors taught me the basics of understanding and modifying human behavior. Those basics have become an important part of my teaching. I am thankful for all my NMU professors. I had great experiences studying at Northern.
Katherine A. Diol Fischer
Mr. Meyers. I had him for Probability and Statistics. He insisted that the class meet a 5th day, so we had P & S on Wednesdays at 7:00 AM. No other P & A class had to do that except us. I learned a lot, needless to say. Thank you, Mr. Meyers!
Russ Davis and Lon Emerick were my favorites from the Communications Disorders Dept. Russ taught me how to study in a manner that got me through some tough courses in a speech path curriculum. Without his techniques, I never would have made it. I teach many of those study skills to my students today. As for Dr. Emerick, he was my mentor. He inspired me in many ways. I felt honored to be one of his students.
Pat Jerome. I had many classes taught by Pat during my time at NMU and he always made challenging material interesting. When it came to papers or tests, he was someone who was prone to look for what was right with an answer, instead of what was wrong. And he always recognized a student's contribution to class discussion and recognized when you could apply the concept, even if it was difficult to write down under the pressure of a test situation. He always challenged you to think.
Dr. Kenrick Thompson was my favorite. I minored in Sociology and took several courses from him. He was extremely interesting and thought provoking. Also, he was very young at the time to be so accomplished in his field. I recall that he was a graduate of The Ohio State University, which coincidentally, is where I am currently employed.
Lynn Patterson Mande
Gene Jones was my favorite professor. He was clever, interesting, caring and had a sly sense of humor that I found to be hilarious. On a more personal note, Professor Jones encouraged me to continue my education classes when I was doubting myself. His sincerity and willingness to help me when I was struggling with my future says volumes about his character. His encouragement helped me to choose a career that I love and enjoy. For that I will be forever in his debt.
I had a friend who had Dr. Livingston for EN 211 and she struggled to get a D+. The next semester, Dr. Livingston's class was the only one that fit into my schedule. My friend begged me to wait a semester and take someone else. I decided to brave it, and I took Dr. Livingston. I was pleasantly surprised. He was great! Dr. Livingston cared about me, and was personable and funny. He once said that teaching is a lot of performing. That's what he did. He was able to make the class laugh while being the most amazing teacher I ever had. Yes, he was one of the hardest professors I have had at Northern but taking his classes were worth it. I went on to take Brit Lit and Shakespeare with him. I would walk away from his courses with vast amounts of information, and when signing up for one of his classes I knew that I would be in for long hours of struggling only to get a B+, but it was worth the entertainment provided by Dr. Livingston. Now I hope to take my education degree and entertain my own English classes.
Cheryl Teeters and Steve Senker. As an incoming freshman they both introduced me to a learning environment that can be fun, hands on, and interesting. I had the two instructors throughout the 4.5 years I was at NMU. I credit their unique enthusiastic teaching style to my success as an educator at a Therapeutic School. I use many of their techniques when I am in the field and in the classroom. Bravo to wonderful educators!
My two favorite professors are Jane Jamson and Helmut Kreitz. Jane was a math instructor who remembered what it is like to be an overwhelmed freshman, the door to her office was always open. Helmut was a sociology instructor who had the most interesting personal history and even played his viola on the final day of the semester.
My vote goes to four great individuals! Dr. Don and Karen Rybacki, Dr. Debra Kerninsky, and Dr. Chuck Ganzert. They were challenging, frustrating at times--but helped me realize my potential. When I look back I realize what an impact they had on my life. Now when I am sitting at my desk, and think back, I realize how far I have come, I realize that they were the ones who made time for me and helped me to reach my goals. Thank you for challenging me.
Dr. Richard O'Dell, "Mr. Michigan", whom I had for Michigan History. My textbook is full on the margins of the addenda with which he enhanced our state's history and development.
My favorite professor was Kauko Wahtera, head of the Department of Industry and Technology for many years, and retiring about 1975. "K", as his friends called him, was an inspiration for many reasons. He and my Dad grew up in Big Bay and went to high school and college together. Later, I graduated from the Department of Industry and Tech with a BS and a MA and I also have a MA in Counseling from Northern. His inspiration put me on a path for a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. But the inspiration was in his values. He was not an easy professor. He taught the professional senior courses for teacher education in the department. At the end of the courses, he asked the students to record what they thought their grade should be and I listed two A's. He called me into his office and asked my rationale. I told him that if I didn't think I should get A's, how could I expect him to. He laughed. He liked that kind of logic and it was one of the goals in his courses to get his students thinking. I got an A and a B. I am aware of only one student who got two A's. In one of the courses, K made a statement that if 10 people came to him and applied for a job and if he knew one of the 10 and he knew that person could do the job, that he "would be fool not to hire him." I graduated and went to Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin and taught for three years. In my third year, I learned that the position to teach auto mechanics in K's department was open. I applied and got the job. I was one of the "10". But most importantly, K taught me the importance of quality which is with me to this day. He ingrained in us concepts such as if you sign a letter typed by a secretary, errors were your responsibility, not the secretary's. That everything you sign should be read and reread to ensure accuracy. He taught us that teaching "shop" was a profession. That we should report to teach each day with a shirt and tie and dress slacks. We should wear white shop coats even though we might be teaching in an area where such clothing was easily soiled. He demanded excellence in work, writing and discussion in class. I am not sure he was the most-liked professor in our department but he was the most respected. K was also human. In one of our graduate courses, he invited the class to his cottage on Lake Independence. We grilled and had a very good and relaxing time. He would not do this with undergraduate students but as you advanced in your profession he accepted you more as a peer than as a student. K is no longer with us, nor is his wife Merle. I am remiss in not responding in time for Horizons, but I at least wanted to record, very briefly, the impact this professor had on at least one of his students.
I really enjoyed Prof. Mohey Mowafy in Nutrition for Humans class. He was entertaining and I really learned more about what I should eat. More than "a cup of coffee and a jelly donut for breakfast." If I see or hear about jelly donuts, I think of him. I also appreciated Dr. David Kingston, especially in Quantitative Analysis. He made everything so clear.
I must be honest, I liked them all. I felt that my mentors did a great job of preparing me for graduate school and my career. Specifically, I was well-prepared for my graduate work. I have great admiration for the professors in the Philosophy department that taught me how to organize my thinking. Driesbach, Greene, etc, provoked serious thought. The Sociology department with Thompson and Spady made me re-examine my perspective on society. Renfrew and Platt gave me a new view of human beings. Albritton and Waite developed my skills for oral and written communication. Hirst, Griesing, Kuarala gave me the skills and confidence to be a teacher/administrator. However, Dr. James Livingston was my first encounter with a professor. Wow! He was patient with me as I struggled to develop as a student. He was available when I didn't even have his class. If I was dealing with educational issues or wanted to discuss a conflict in my belief system, ethics or worldview--he was there. With his hat, raggedy old briefcase and stained thermos, he was there to listen. I personally thank all my mentors at NMU. You did a great job.
My favorite NMU professor was Dr. James L. Rapport. While many of his students have remarked on the impact that Daddy Bear made on their lives, often times his "people skills" overshadowed his formidable teaching talents. Daddy Bear knew that not everyone who studied Theatre was going to be a professional actor, director or designer. But he tried to nurture in his students the same love and commitment to the artform regardless if theatre ended up providing their livelihood. His commitment to his students went far beyond the classroom or the stage. We have maintained a personal relationship through the years, as have most of his "kids". He has affected and influenced my life in a way that no other person has.
My favorite professor at NMU was Dr. Jon Saari in the history department. I took three classes with him and I tell people that I practically have a minor in Chinese History. I didn't need a minor in Chinese History, but with each class that I took from him, the man left me craving more. He insisted on excellence, but he had a quiet demeanor that made students truly believe excellence was possible, not unobtainable. He also believed that students should be involved in the classroom. I remember one assignment where a small group of us each read a book about the Dali Lama. After our reading, the group held a discussion in front of the class, and each group member was supposed to carry his or her end of the discussion as though he or she was the author of the book that we'd read. I remember that I read a book by a German explorer who'd spent some time with the Dali Lama, and I remember being very passionate when I later played my part in the discussion. One student who came in later told me that he thought I had actually met the Dali Lama by the way I spoke. Dr. Jon Saari inspired me to that passion--inspired me in general in my passion for Chinese History. He also taught me, indirectly, something about teaching. As I sit here thinking about how much I looked forward to his classes, I am rethinking how I've prepped my own eleven o'clock class that meets in fifty minutes. I'm already thinking of ways I can get the students more involved and hopefully stir the passion in them for learning that Jon Saari stirred in me.
Jeff Vande Zande
Dr. VanBeynan was by far my best instructor. He made math fun. Even after I became a math teacher, I took graduate classes from him and continued to enjoy every class that I took. I find that I am still digging up games that he gave me and ideas to use. Thanks, Dr. Van Beynan!
The professor that had the greatest impact on me is Dr. Robert Stephenson of the music department. I think anyone involved in the music department for the 30 years previous to 1997 felt his warm, caring attitude toward students. He was my private trombone instructor and I think retired a whole year later just to see me through to my senior recital. I always knew he cared, not only about how I played, but about the rest of my classes, my health, my family, etc. I don't think I have thanked him enough, nor do I think I could.
I received my Associates degree in Office Information. I felt so comfortable in the field. Tina Ostwald, Karen Stulz and Carol W. Johnson were so wonderful in helping me receive my degree. I was not scared or ashamed to go to them for help. They are the best! They deserve tons of credit.
My favorite professor at NMU was far and away Ray Ventre. Ray not only managed to get me to like Walt Whitman, whom I had previously hated, but he also encouraged me to apply for a teaching assistantship in the English Department--something I would not have had the courage to do without his kind words to me. Throughout my time at NMU, he was always available to me, always ready with a witty and appropriate answer to my questions, and always truly caring. I strive to be the kind of teacher to my students that he was to me. Thank you Ray, from the bottom of my heart.
Dr. Livingston, I presume. (I presume he's heard that close to a million times by now.) He was my professor for Humanities, Milton and two great directed studies, one in Sir Walter Scott and one in Dickens. I still remember reading a novel a week for those classes. It was wonderful! Even today I remember the awakening to "truth and beauty" that took place through his teaching. He was also my advisor and good friend for the 10 years I was at Northern. I used to tease him about the little lines and arrows he drew on the board, as it was so frustrating to take it down and not have any idea what it meant the next day. And now, guess what? I'm the one drawing lines and arrows on the board. Thanks, Jim.
Chris (Johnson) Miller
Dr. Jim Cantrell was my favorite professor. My first class with him was Argumentation. I changed my major to Speech Communications after that. Many other classes with him would follow. He was very supportive and had a way of keeping me interested in what I was learning. I went on to become, of all things, a lawyer. (I think that argumentation class sealed my fate!) I hardly ever get back to the U.P. and NMU but I've always wanted to thank Jim and the rest of the Communications Department for being so wonderful and encouraging. If it wasn't for them, I would not be where I am today.
Phil Legler. Phil was a great soul. Phil taught Creative Writing and other English courses. I remember walking into class that first day, seeing Phil sitting cross-legged on his desk, ready to begin the journey he would lead into creative writing. With his love for poetry Phil taught me how to write. To me, that will always be the greatest gift a teacher can give. Phil has since passed away, but will live on in my thoughts and everyday life.
My favorite Prof., and a man who is still so instrumental in NMU student life is Dr. Alfred Joyal. I took several of his Planning and related classes while a Conservation/Biophysical Systems major in the early 80s. He, along with many of the other professors in that department at the time, made the program truly excellent. Although finding jobs in that field was difficult back then, I felt the education I received at Northern provided an excellent platform from which to launch my professional career. Dr. Joyal was inspirational and a progressive thinker even then. He was always interested in the cutting edge of computer technology and was continuously advising us students to take computer courses. I, unfortunately, did not heed his advice, with the exception of being introduced to some mapping programs in connection with geography/planning courses Dr. Joyal taught. As my exposure to computers has increased, I realize how valuable his advice was. Dr. Joyal's courses were challenging and provided an excellent learning environment, including invaluable hands-on experiences. Although I was one of a few women in the program at the time, Dr. Joyal never treated me or any other women differently. Actually, he always made me feel I was capable of accomplishing anything to which I set my mind. It is one thing for a prof to do this when you're in his classes and he knows you, but Dr. Joyal has continued to be supportive throughout my professional career. I have been rather a professional and educational vagabond, traveling down many paths and trying many things. I have often asked Dr. Joyal to serve as a reference for me and he has followed through every time...even when I know he was incredibly busy. I still write to Dr. Joyal every Christmas and look forward to hearing from him. He has made a concerted effort to keep in touch with his former students and demonstrates a real interest in knowing what we're doing with our lives. This is just so rare! So many of my friends went to huge universities where students are typically unable to develop lasting relationships like this with their professors. I feel sorry for them! Dr. Joyal continues to ensure that NMU and its students are the best they can be, as demonstrated by his spearheading the laptop program at NMU. I am proud every time I see his picture or read about him in the various publications I receive. I am proud he was my mentor, is my friend, and continues to be dedicated to the learning institution I will always love.
For me, Fred Berry of Political Science was my favorite professor. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was in the process of changing my major and wanted to take an Introduction to Political Science course. The one I wanted to take was full and I was told I had to obtain the professor's permission. I asked Professor Berry, whose class it was, and he signed the form, saying, "As long as people can sit down, I don't really care how many are in the class." Thus began my acquaintance. I always found his classes interesting, although some of my peers groaned over the reading lists (he usually assigned 4-5 books for each course.) In class discussions, he always had recommendations for outside reading if a person wanted to pursue a topic more indepth than what the course required. He and his wife graciously opened their home at times for student gatherings of the Political Science Club of which he was the advisor at the time. I found his teaching methods direct, his logic impeccable. If nothing else, one thing stuck over the years, "One of the goals of a liberal arts education is to teach you to think. You should leave here with the skills to research a topic." I believe Professor Berry was successful in teaching that to' me and many others. I was priviliged to have have him as my advisor and teacher. He has become a friend over the years.
I had many great professors at NMU, but the one who probably had the most long-term influence on me was Mark Smith, of the English department. I don't know if he is still there, but I really hope that he is and that life is treating him well. Not only did he have a long-term, positive effect on my career but he was also just a very nice, down-to-earth, "regular" guy. He wore tweed jackets with patches on the elbows, rode his bike around campus and talked about his kids. I had Mark (everyone called him by his first name) for several advanced English classes at Northern. He also ran the Writing Workshop in Jamrich Hall and I was thrilled when, one day in class, he dropped a note on my desk asking me if I would be interested in working there as a tutor. I accepted the offer and worked there for about two years until I did my student teaching. Like most of the people in Mark's classes, I was working toward a career as an English teacher. But in addition to gaining teaching skills, I think we all gained a real love of the act of writing that we didn't quite have before. Before his classes, I always considered myself a good writer but I didn't necessarily love to write. He used such things as journal writing and unique practice activities to make writing feel fulfilling and highly rewarding. After having Mark as a teacher, I found that my writing flowed in a natural way, and it simply felt good to do it. Mark also put in a lot of personal time to develop resources for us to take with us into the world. He would give us lengthy annotated bibliographies and packets of useful activities that were self-explanatory. He didn't give them to us because they were part of a class activity or because we were required to read them. He simply gave them to us because he thought we might find them useful down the road. I kept all of those things and, sure enough, I did use them as a teacher. He also put plenty of time into writing comments and giving feedback to every single student, for every piece of writing that we turned in. Even now, 14 years after graduating from Northern, I still think of writing as something that makes me feel good. After graduation I worked for a while as a high school English teacher, but then I worked for six years as a feature writer for an area newspaper. I recently went back to teaching, but I am still writing on a freelance basis. I think, if I had not had the encouragement I received in college from Mark Smith, I probably would never have worked as a professional writer. Thanks, Mark! I hope you're still there and that you might remember me.
Tina (Ferrier) Bourgeois
My favorite professor was Dr. Paul Lehmberg. First of all, he was from Minnesota, as was I. But more importantly, he taught me the most about writing and about "inner deeper hidden secret meanings." He was my thesis director and when he introduced me at my defense, he said, "Theresa and I are from the same town--Lake Wobegon." It's still here, Dr. Lehmberg, despite Jesse's best efforts.
Theresa (Wilklow) Larson
I remember the challenge during that first week of Prof. James Camerius' class, Advertising. He introduced the dreaded project that was to make up the most significant portion of your grade. The one where you have to work with others and the grade for one is the same for all. Our team project was to select a company and present/sell its marketing strategy to the class. At that time, I was working off campus from 1PM to 6PM five days a week and Saturday mornings and going to classes in the mornings and two nights a week. This was maybe his third or fourth semester at Northern and some of us complained privately, with our self-interest in mind that he was over the top with the amount of work expected. The last thing I wanted was a class that required a disproportionate amount of time and effort with the schedule I had set for myself. However, Jim Camerius challenged us to look on the project as if our future depended on it and to work accordingly. I didn't realize the implication of his challenge at the time, but the truth is, our future was dependent on what we did. Not necessarily in terms of our grade which was important, but in the sense of taking responsibility to define ones own expectations for their future professional life. To define yourself by the effort you are willing to invest. To look in the mirror and recognize personal behaviors like work ethic, motivation, tenacity, leadership, delegation and to be willing to live with the vision of your expectations and the subsequent result of your team's performance. I was on the line; there was no way to cut corners, crib notes would not help (as if I ever considered them). The real test was to stand in front of the class and succeed or not based on my own direct contribution to the team and the result of the team as a whole. The bottom line is the project and challenge by Jim Camerius set the stage for many things that became an active part of my post-NMU professional life. Going the extra mile to get the facts, looking at strategic and tactical alternatives, clearly defining the market and the product or service to meet the market need/want; and developing the delivery system that will make it happen followed by the image development that will continue to support the tactics while providing strategic feedback to allow for timely change. Over the years, I have had many opportunities to be in front of staff, bosses, senior executives, boards of directors, committees, organizations, etc. Many times I recognized, with thanks, the seed that was planted by Jim Camerius. His approach enabled me to take the extra step to find a solution, to dig deep for the facts and present them effectively to a group; to sell concepts and ideas to others in a professional setting. To prove that doing a job well was not a matter of budget but of desire, determination and setting high personal expectations. That these things were within ones self image. No one else was responsible for your performance or your preparation. He enabled me to learn the benefits of taking that extra step or two as needed to be prepared to exceed my own expectations. Such personal challenges were not frequent but when it was necessary I was usually prepared. And, it happened often enough to give me the satisfaction and the confidence to risk going beyond the ordinary and to constantly seek the extraordinary result. Thanks, Jim.
John C. Fleming
Dr. William Buccalo was my favorite professor. When I was going to NMU, he taught the advanced communications/ broadcasting classes. When I was a senior, I needed a certain class to graduate and only 3 people signed up for it. The other people dropped the class, but I had to have it to graduate. Even though Dr. Buccalo didn't have to, we got approval for him to teach the class to just me, so I could graduate on time. We met in his office and he taught just me--I learned so much more one on one. I was so grateful. He was really kind and interesting.
My favorite teacher amongst many good teachers at NMU was by far Rolande Graves. I attended NMU from 1982-1985 pursuing a secondary education certificate with French as my major. I took every class of hers that I could fit into my schedule. Her charisma and enthusiasm in her classes was contagious. I thoroughly enjoyed the many discussions in French we had in class. They were lively and fun. I know I was not alone in my admiration of her as a teacher. When I left for my student teaching in Munising, she was my overseer and gave me helpful advice in my teaching. I have since thought of her many times as an example of what kind of teacher I want to be. Thanks Madame, for all that you did for me.
Hope Holbrook Francisco
Dr. Miodrag Georgevich was one of my favorite teachers at NMU. He demanded excellence and professionalism from his students and created a learning environment that was extremely challenging but not intimidating. I learned a lot about political science in his classes, but I also learned about critical thinking and gained a sense of self-confidence that I never had before his class. He had a special way of intellectually challenging his students and always treated them with respect. Remember Friday night happy hours at the Ramada poolside?--A favorite forum for intellectual debate with Dr. Georgevich. We all looked forward to meeting with him outside of class where he would finally drop the "Miss" or "Mister" and call us by our first names.
Leslie Cory Shoemaker
My favorite professor was Tim Lindquist, Marketing/Management. I took his Accounting 101 class. He actually made accounting fun! Something hard to do with numbers, credits and debits. He was also my advisor. He gave me some advice that still holds true today--"If you give 100% to your studies or in whatever you do beyond NMU walls, 9 times out of 10 you'll get back 100% plus." Had Tim not left NMU shortly after I took his class, I probably would have become an accounting major. Thanks, Tim! I still use what you taught me at my place of employment--manager of a Goodyear Tire store.
There were many professors at NMU who had a great impact on me, but there were three who I remember having the most impact: Dr. Frank Verley. When I came to him my junior year asking for job experience in a research lab, he did not hesitate to hire me and because of him, I have a love of basic science that will never change. Over time I finally was able to break through his accent and laugh at his corny jokes that no one else was able to understand. The techniques I learned while working for him and the desire to answer questions of nature will always be with me. Dr. David Kingston. I will never forget the first class I had with Dr. Kingston and how he refused to respond to any question unless addressed by his first name. He made me feel like an equal instead of the lowly student. As my advisor, he helped me through school by guiding me to the best choices for classes and calming my fears about what to do with the rest of my life. As my Environmental Chemistry teacher, he gave me a love of the environment that serves me well today as a high school environmental science teacher. Dr. Frey. Even though Dr. Frey has retired from teaching, I often remember him while I am teaching my own students. He had this great ability to explain concepts in chemistry and now I use those techniques myself. I will also always remember his face that day I had a very bad chemistry accident in Quantitative Chemistry lab during "The Great Titation Race" and his concern for my well-being afterwards. All of these professors are great teachers who had an impact on me and the way I teach today. In a day and age where great teachers are in such high demand, we should try to recognize and commend those currently making the commitment to pass their extensive knowledge on to their students.
Shannon Hackett Goodwin
Jane Navar (English), kind, enthusiastic and caring, a real gem.
William E. Wortley
I will always be thankful for all my professors at Northern, but one stands out as the most influential in my working life. Dr. Ron Nettles was my accounting professor and helped me understand the process and helped me learn how to LEARN. He had been a practicing CPA before coming to Northern and he brought to the classroom and his students the theory and practical part of the discipline. I will forever be grateful.
Claude (Bud) Smith
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Ganzert in the communications department is my favorite professor. He was a good guy who gave us some challenging projects and helped us make some good opportunities for ourselves. I also heard he was just published in the MAB. It also helped that he led us Radio Xers in some challenging times and helped us to Organization of the Year. Thanks for everything Chuck!
I had so many wonderful professors when I went to NMU, but I will always remember Dr. Francis O'Neill (Education Dept). She was great. She was my advisor and friend for my last three years at Northern. I was also fortunate to be in one of her classes. She took the time to help me in class as well as out of class. Her friendship I will always treasure. Her stories I will always remember. Thank you Dr. Francis O'Neill.
Jan St. Germain
I have three very special professors that gave their all in getting me to graduate in time. They are Ms. Yvonne Lee, Mr. Ted Bogdan and the late Mr. Dave Sonderschafer. All three were great inspirations to me. But if it wouldn't have been for Dave, I would never have gotten that "I can" attitude. These three together make the consumer and family living department function. I hope many other students will be able to learn from Ted and Ms. Lee. And I know that many students learned a life full of skills from Dave.
Dr. William Robinson--my professor of Physiology way back in the 1960s. For a student who received pretty good grades for ho-hum effort, he was a revelation. His class was interesting and informative and somehow he demanded your best performance as his due. I still remember much of the information he passed on all these years later. He also taught me a private "life lesson" that I never forgot. Thank you, Dr. Robinson.
Carole Aldrich Petrucci
There have been a number of professors in my undergrad and graduate studies that have made a serious impact on the shaping of my life. Doctors Renfrew and Ferrell mentioned in earlier notes by alumni were two of them. But there are two extraordinary professors that stand out most in my mind. Two that took the extra effort to get to know their students. Two that gave us tools, not only those related to our studies, but tools that we could and would use in life. Two that I often think about their lessons when I am in the mountains teaching my children about the environment. Two that I will never forget: Dr. Bill Robinson and Dr. Alfred Niemi.
Allan G. Hagelthorn
I just finished reading all of the current letters about favorite professors and cannot believe that no one has written about Professor Gerald "Doc" Waite. I was one of the very fortunate students who had the privilege of working at The North Wind, the student newspaper, while he served as advisor. I swear on a stack of good Irish Catholic Bibles that not a day goes by in both my personal and professional lives that I do not use at least a small piece--and on hectic days a very large piece--of the wisdom he was generous enough to pass along to us while we toiled on the newspaper in the basement of Lee Hall. Whether he was reminding us to close our appositives or of upcoming Holy Days, his kind and gentle spirit served as both an inspiration and a motivation. To the many student reporters and editors who worked with him, he served as a father-figure and wise-old uncle who offered gentle, thoughtful constructive criticism and praise all in the same sentence. Additionally, his time and attention to his students extended beyond the classroom and his duties as advisor to the newspaper. Many of us left the safety and security of the university and found ourselves gainfully employed thanks to the help of the resume he helped us tweak, the reference letters he wrote and the telephone calls he placed to editors around the country on our behalf. On behalf of all of us from the 80s, and those who came before us, Doc, I would like to thank you for caring and sharing so much of your good personal character, your vast knowledge of the English language and your jolly Irish laugh.
Actually, I had two favorite professors, Robert McClellan (Humanities) and John Farrell (Geography). They were favorites for the same reason; they made me think, caused me to examine below the surface and question my perceptions. They were very good at relating to students, obviously enjoyed what they were doing, didn't mind a little turmoil and rebelliousness and always were supportive. I felt I could have done to either with an education-related or personal issue and received sincere and professional ideas and support. Here's to both of them! They are what university education is all about!
Gretchen Sipes Anderson
My favorite professor at NMU was Dr. James Rapport (Daddy Bear). I saw his last production at Kaye Hall and was immediately hooked. When the first production was done at Forest Roberts I became involved and from then on I felt I not only had a mentor but also a friend. I worked as his assistant director for several productions and then began my own acting, having been given the confidence to perform from Daddy Bear. In my 31 years as a music teacher, I used many of the teaching techniques he instilled in me to help my students realize their full potential.
Patricia A. Torreano
I had a super experience at NMU! It was enhanced by the influence that Prof. Hal Dorf had on me and a number of my peers in the School of Business. Hal was "One-Of-A-Kind"! His teaching style allowed students to think "outside the box." Hal tried very hard to bring the rest of the world into our classroom. He created a course that took students to Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Hal's biggest contribution to me was in the way of a mentor. If you were part of the School of Business in 1992, I know you would remember my peers...Jeannie Jafolla, Matt Schlientz, Mark Bonetti, Chris Olson, Bret Lussow, Ken Limmatta, Christine, Robin, Stephanie Ramseth, etc. Every time we get together, the first question we ask each other is: "Have you talked to Hal lately?" Hal keeps in touch with a good number of his former students. And although the Class of 2001 would have missed the great Hal Dorf, I know that his influence on the thousands of students that came before me and shortly after, make us glad we went to NMU!
My favorite professor was Professor Clifton Ealy. I had him for Calculus 1, 2 and 3. He was almost like one of my high school teachers--I could go to him outside of class with questions and he spent as much time as I needed. We also talked about other classes, etc. He made the transition from high school to college much better for me.
Dr. Tom Hyslop was the best and most memorable professor I had at NMU. I only had Tom for one class (EN211) but his teaching methods were both interesting and effective. Tom stressed the importance of good written communication skills and how these skills help you in both professional and personal life. In Hyslop's class we learned that the best things to write about were the things we knew and cared about the most. What you didn't know about your given writing topic, he taught fun and interesting ways to research your paper. I will never forget our final assignment which was to research and write about murder/ mysteries that were printed in the New York Times during the 1920s and 1930s. Working on this paper was like watching a movie as the story took shape. After the research, the writing came easy. To this day I think of Tom whenever I put anything I want to say on paper. I enjoy writing and always take the time to use the methods Hyslop taught. I have a copy of "The Practical Stylist" on my living room bookshelf; a book that Tom said "you can't afford to sell back to the bookstore at the end of the semester." The "keyhole method" really works. He was right about that book.
Dr. Tom Froiland (Biology Dept.) was my favorite professor at NMU, without a doubt. He has wonderful character and a kind spirit. He cares for his students academically and personally. He challenged us and prepared many of us for the challenges we would face as we entered professional schools. He was a strong supporter of mine when I applied to medical school--and surpassed a handshake for a hug when I got in. Although I must say he should have one of those signs on his desk that reads: "A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind." Thanks, Dr. Froiland!
My favorite professor was Dr. Marg McKee. She was a wonderful woman, professor and advocate for special needs children. I learned so much from her classes and her personal experiences. I was sorry to hear of her passing because she had so much to share with her students. She was influential in the inception of Special Olympics in the U.P. and C.E.C. We communicated at Christmas after I graduated and she always kept up on what her students were doing in the field of Special Education. Short in stature, but big in every other way.
Susan Appleman Pickens
Without a doubt my favorite college professor was Dr. James Godell. As a business education major, I had Dr. Godell for only two classes, but I was around the department and I always enjoyed talking with him. I learned many things in his Business Communications class that I still use today. He was the best professor I ever had at communicating the subject to me, hence he was the perfect choice for teaching that class. In my time at NMU, Apple computers were just coming out and we enjoyed investigating them and learning about them. To this day I am a Mac addict and until I changed jobs just over a year ago, never touched a PC. I frequently think of Dr. Godell and wonder what he's doing today (I know he has retired).
Not only was Marvin Zehnder my favorite professor, he was my mentor. I learned more about life and integrity in his class room and I do not know how to tell him how much I appreciate that. He was more like a father to his students than a teacher. Marvin Zehnder taught me to slow down, appreciate life and live to my fullest potential. Thank you Marv.
When I came home from work today and read the message, I had to respond about my favorite faculty member at NMU. I had several during my years at NMU, from 1977-81, and then returning in 1985 for my teaching certificate. But I have to say that Rolande Graves, my French prof, was always my favorite. Mme. Graves inspired me to do my best in everything. She was always so enthusiastic in French class, you couldn't help but be interested in the language. She helped me enroll in a French university as a graduate student in 1981-82. It changed my life forever. I traveled throughout Europe and Africa. I ended up working in France and living there for three years. Upon returning to the U.S. I decided to obtain my teaching certificate in French. I had spent my years at NMU as an Art major and was in Graphic Design. I switched to Secondary Ed./French. I have been teaching the language in lower Michigan for 12 years now. Rolande probably has no idea, but she was my role model. I use things she taught me and things she told her class, in my classes. A big part of the reason I am here teaching French is her...merci Mme. Graves.
I would have to say that Professor John Ashby would have to be my favorite of all college professors. As a major in the Political Science department, I had a chance to take part in a lot of his courses. If you were to ask me the same question when I had been in college, my answer would probably have been different, however, in reflecting over the years and my many accomplishments since I left Northern, I would have to say that Dr. Ashby's toughness in the classroom is what got me motivated to work not only towards my bachelor's degree in Political Science, but also my Law Degree which followed after my tour at Northern was complete. While at Northern I took many classes which prepared me for my law school experience. However, there was not a class that prepared me more than Dr. Ashby's Constitutional Law class which I took in my final semester at Northern. In law school, you are required to take two semesters of Constitutionial Law which can be extremely challenging and boring at the same time. I felt that when I went into that class, I could go in with confidence and knowledge that my fellow peers did not possess. Thank you Dr. Ashby for my great experience at Northern and the knowledge you instilled to guide me through my many accomplishments.
My favorite professor was Brian Gnauck, who later went on to be the head of the management department and the dean of business before retiring. Brian took what might be perceived by many to be rather "dry" subjects, and he made them interesting. His passion for the subject matter and for helping others to understand concepts was very evident. He knew his stuff! Add to that the fact that Brian was very personable and just an all-around nice guy and he gets my vote!
I have to say without a doubt that Dr. John W. Renfrew of the psychology faculty was my favorite professor at NMU and provided significant direction to my life. It was in his classroom, his office and in the lab on Saturday mornings as a research assistant where I learned the rigors of intellectual inquiry and I began to fully understand the significance of the research process in discovering new knowledge. From there we traveled to Washington,D.C., to the American Psychological Association convention to present the results of our work. These unique opportunities as an undergraduate at Northern over 20 years ago, which are unavailable at many larger universities even today, led to my pursuing an academic career, completing my master's and doctorate degrees, and now serving as a professor and dean. If it were not for the individual attention and genuine interest of professors like John Renfrew, many Northern graduates would not be where they are today. Many of John Renfrew's former students are physicians, psychologists, researchers and academics. This alone is sufficient testimony to his contribution to education, by changing and enriching the lives of his students and contributing to the advancement of the body of knowledge.
Dr. John Cote
Dr. James Livingston was my favorite. First of all, he was funny. I always thought he looked like one of the little "Whos down in Whoville", the bald one with the beard. I used to melt when he read Chaucer in Middle English. I couldn't understand a word he said, but he certainly captivated the class with his style. I liked his style, he was informative, he was personal, he was compassionate. He encouraged us to dig deeper, to question reality, and to write about it. Of all my instructors at NMU, he was my favorite.
What a wonderful opportunity to bring back memories of my best years at NMU. Certainly I did not have to think hard about the professor who shaped my life. His name was C. Arthur Diamond, my music instructor. He gave me a huge appreciation for the intricacies of choral music. I continued with that love of music and still sing in the choir. More importantly, I am now passing on this love of music to my daughter, Jennifer. Since birth I have sung to her and now she loves being in the school and church choirs. She is seven years old. Thank you C.A.D.
The faculty member who made, and continues to make the largest impact on my life is easily Dr. James Panowski of the Theatre Department. Not only did he provide incomparable training in acting and directing, but even more importantly, he instilled in me a set of ethics and values that I rely on in every project I've undertaken, be it a professional situation or community theatre. He showed me through the example he set that no task was too small to be given the very most you were capable of giving to it, and no person's contribution was too small to be given your utmost respect. I hope that in some way, I have managed to pass on his lessons through my own examples over the years. I can't begin to count the number of times I have asked myself "What would Dr. P. do in this situation?" I will always think of him as my mentor, and remember him as my friend.
John "Marty" Martek
While I have had good experiences with almost all of my professors during my education at NMU, I really think that my favorite professor was Dr. Mary Ellen Powers from the College of Nursing. Having her for my last theory/clinical in the B.S.N. program, Mary Ellen was able to give me the encouragement and the support that I needed to become confident that I would make a good nurse when I graduated. Mary Ellen taught NE 410 and was my clinical instructor for NE 411. Being the last nursing class that had to take NE 410/411 gave me the chance to put everything that I had learned from all previous nursing classes and be able to start working autonomously. There was, of course, still some doubt in my mind whether or not I was ready for this, but Mary Ellen gave me the opportunity to brush all doubt aside. She placed me on the IMCU at Marquette General Hospital, which, essentially, is one level down from ICU. I learned so much' from the staff in the IMCU, but it was Mary Ellen who drove me to work harder and become more independent, giving me the encouragement to know that I could succeed in the nursing profession. As of June 2000, I have been working at the ICU at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe, Michigan. I still encounter experiences that resemble those I had in the IMCU. Mary Ellen made it possible for me to learn so much more about nursing and gave me experiences that are not "typical" of the profession. I truly believe that without support from people like Mary Ellen, I would not be where I am today.
Bruce Herr, Jr.
I just wanted to put in my "vote" for Dr. Jim Cantrill in Communications. I had Jim for many classes as well as for my advisor. He was wonderfully supportive and a fantastic teacher. When I took my first communications class--Interpersonal Communications--it was taught by Jim. I knew after the first few weeks in that class that I had to change my major to Communications. I loved it! When I decided that I wanted to go on and receive my master's degree in Communications, Jim was always very encouraging and helpful. I ended up receiving my master's degree in Communications from Michigan State University in 1996. I've always wanted to say 'thank you' to Jim and the rest of the Communications faculty at Northern. They made a difference in my life.
Holly Peters Bielawski
A professor who made a lasting impact on me at Northern is Dr. Robert Albritton, a professor in the Speech/Communications Department. An instructor for Public Address, Dr. Albritton often went out of his way to get his students to relax prior to making speeches. As a young college sophomore, I used to watch with awe the care and compassion Dr. Albritton had for his students. I remember one day in particular. There was this male student in our class who was extremely shy. He absolutely dreaded giving his first speech. Yet, as he walked up to the podium, Dr. Albritton started asking him some questions about something entirely off-subject. That dialogue continued for a good two or three minutes. I didn't know it at the time, but Dr. Albritton was breaking down the student's fears so he could speak in front of a large gathering. When they were done talking, the student was now relaxed, felt comfortable and delivered a pretty good speech. Dr. Albritton definitely made a difference in my life and many others. His genuine love for students and gift for teaching is to be commended.