Ripon College | Ripon Magazine

Our Favorite Professors

Many of our alumni maintain strong bonds with their professors long after graduation, and even those who lose touch over the years cannot forget the imprint of their favorite teacher. Here, Ripon alumni share their thoughtful, sentimental and humorous recollections of the professors who affected how they saw the world and their place in it.

We received so many replies to our call for “Favorite Professor” that we have broken the replies into a few sections arranged alphabetically:

Alexander through Glaser
Hannaford through Petersik
Pulsipher through Zei

And a special section for alums who couldn’t pick just one:

Multiple Favorite Professors

Alexander through Glaser

Professor of Psychology, 1963 through 1985

-Robert Fernbach ’69
Pasadena, Calif.

William Haley Barber
Professor of Physics, 1906 through 1946

Harley Barber introduced me to a career in physics by giving me an assistantship where I made up tests, corrected tests and lab reports, and set up experiments. He qualified me for a graduate assistantship in physics at Washington University from which I ultimately got my Ph.D. He did this for a number of students. The Ph.D. was central to the rest of my career.
-David C. Miller ’39
North Olmsted, Ohio

Professor of History, 1981 through present

My favorite professor was Professor Russell Blake in the history department. He made learning history fun with his in-class debates and encouraged you to look at events from different points of view. I worked with Professor Blake during the summer of 2005 doing an internship in the history and library archives departments. He is a wonderful person to work with and never hesitated to answer my many questions. He was always available either in person or through e-mail whenever I needed help with assignments or handling my very busy schedule. I still keep in contact with Professor Blake, and he is always interested in what is going on with my life,– even now, so long after I’ve graduated.Professor Blake is an outstanding individual who deserves to be recognized for all of his hard work and dedication to his students.
-Jennifer Baker Schilling ’06
Pelican Lake, Wis.

Professor of Art, 1962-1983

-J. Heflebower ’73
St. Helena, Calif.

Professor of Music, 1925 to 1954

Skipper Chamberlain not only taught me to use the God-given voice that I had, but also many lessons of life: the value of friendships, the rewards of hard work and perseverance, and respect for those older and wiser than us. I have used my voice in many different ways to provide pleasure to myself and others, and I have developed friendships with others who shared my love of music. I have many fond memories of our hours together in his studio on the upper floor of East Hall.
-Carl Syburg ’52
Genesee Depot, Wis

Associate Professor of Politics and Government, 2005 through present

I had only one class with Professor Lamont Colucci (Intro to Politics and Government), and it has stood out above all the rest. I started as a chemistry-biology major, took theatre classes and anthropology classes, and eventually graduated as an anthropology major. I’m now in my third and last year of law school.

The unanswered question for me will always be whether he made me strive to excel in his course or if he was just such a great teacher that I naturally understood everything he said. In comparing his teaching to my professors at Northern Illinois University College of Law, it is apparent how smart and cultured Professor Colucci was with his teaching skills. In Professor Colucci’s class, everything made sense and I was able to have conversations with people about political philosophy to a point where I could make significant arguments that others took into consideration.
-Arielle Denis ’09
DeKalb, Ill

Instructor in Music, 1968 through 1972

Without a doubt, Michael Cuthbert of the music department!Although I never took any classes from him, I became acquainted with him because he served as a faculty adviser to my fraternity. The frat was building a float for the Homecoming Parade at his home. Since it was football season and we were at his house, he came out to check on our progress, and since we were in Wisconsin, of course, he was wearing his Packers’jersey. We got talking football for a bit.

That night, I learned the difference between just a Packers fan and a true Packers fanatic.Packers fans just wear their team spirit wear. Packersfanatics, including Dr. Cuthbert, put on shoulder pads before they put on their jerseys! Then, they put on their helmets, and before watching the opening kickoff on TV, they actually do pre-game calisthenics in their living room right along with the team!
-Steve Illich ’73
Crystal Lake, Ill.

Professor of French, 1956 to 1983

Dr. Delakas taught French and always had an anecdote or two or three to include in his class lectures. He was extremely passionate about his teaching and put his whole heart and soul into his lectures. I had him for an independent study my senior year, and he always made sure we did the preliminary work so that the final draft was never too difficult to do. Thank you, Dr. Delakas, for your devotion to your craft!
-Anna “Nan” Jones Haines ’67
Front Royal, Va.

Professor of Music, 1982 through present

I graduated in 1983 as a business management major. Most people would probably have a professor in the major field of study to have a profound impact on their life. For me, it was just the opposite.

Kurt Dietrich in the music department was young, ambitious and offered a stabilizing force. Playing in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble provided me with the outlet I needed to weather the storms. It was something I enjoyed and I could easily talk to Kurt about any situation. I remember two particular instances which prove his greatness.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble encourages people from the community of Ripon and surrounding communities to join. This also provides another great facet to college life – people from the “outside.” Most of the townspeople had great positive influences. However, I had one negative encounter with a fellow trombone player from the city of Ripon and left the rehearsal in an uproar. Kurt handed the baton to the first chair trumpet player (Kathy Lothrop) and asked her to take over the rehearsal in search of me. This showed genuine concern for me as a person, not just a student, and I will never forget his actions and caring. I also remember Kurt’s openness to discussing things from an opposing position. As a new professor in the music department, Kurt wanted the Symphonic Wind Ensemble to be great and perform flawlessly. I was able to express my opposing opinion openly, telling Kurt that most people who “take” band are in it for fun, not as a career or because they are a music major. Therefore, expecting them to treat rehearsals as “serious learning” was not realistic. How many professors would let you “slam” their class and still respect you and treat you fairly and honestly?

Kurt is the one and only professor I keep in contact with at Ripon and have for the last 30 years. We still exchange Christmas cards every year!
-Judy Koehler Peoples ’83
Sun City West, Ariz.

Professor of Philosophy, 1964 through 1979

His introduction to philosophy course was large (for Ripon College) and met in the auditorium in the science building. Sealewas an imposing figure. In addition to teaching philosophy, he was a general in the U.S. Army Reserves and a Green Beret general who spent his summers talking to the Pentagon about strategy, which I think they mostly ignored. In any case, he came in to the auditorium and captured the attention of his freshman/sophomore audience with the usual comments on the class structure but delivered crisply for sure. Then, one student started to yell out questions and comments. This went on for a short time, and Seale challenged him to come down front. The rhetoric got sharper and sharper until Seale pulled a pistol and shot him. No lie. The guy fell to the floor, which is where everyone’s jaws were. After what seemed an eternity but was probably just some seconds, Seale began a discussion of Descartes and how we come to know things in the world. I am pretty sure that was the day I decided to major in philosophy along with history.I should note that the “victim” stood up and joined the class.
-James P. Danky ’70
Stoughton, Wis.

Dr. Seal Doss was a professor of philosophy, who was also an Army reserve officer. This gave him special insight when teaching “Catch 22” as part of one of his courses. The result was hysterical laughing. Unforgettable.
-Jim Thorsen ’65
Idaho Falls, Idaho

John Glaser JOHN F. GLASER
Professor of History,1954 through 1979

John taught European history and senior seminar and was a Gladstone specialist, and he loved to talk about history. He was killed by a drunken driver in the fall of my senior year while in the middle of my senior seminar. Both his life and death had a lasting impact on me. His love for learning and for history have stayed with me, as has his tragic and senseless death. He embodied liberal arts education. He was missed by many.
-David Spencer ’79
Budapest, Hungary

My favorite professor at Ripon was Dr. John Glaser. I remember his lectures for the freshman world history course and his puns and humor which really kept things interesting. I was a history major at Ripon, and his course on 19th-century European history was easily the best, most interesting, most intellectually challenging course I have ever taken. And, yes, he did use his puns and humor in that course as well.
-Clint McCully ’69
Oakton, Va.


Hannaford through Pulsipher

Robert Spud Hannaford ROBERT “SPUD” HANNAFORD
Professor of Philosophy,1956 through 1996; still an adjunct professor

It is very hard to single out one professor because I had so many great teachers. However, if I had to pick just one, it would be Robert “Spud” Hannaford, who was my major adviser for philosophy. Dr. Hannaford and all the members of the philosophy department gave me a love of philosophy which I will always carry as long as I have any consciousness. The first time I met Dr. Hannaford, I sat in on a class that my friend was taking. I took part in the discussion, and Dr. Hannaford kindly corrected something about which I was in error. I left in the middle of the class because I had to take a French quiz. I hadn’t thought to tell him and just wanted to slip out without disturbing anyone. He took the trouble to seek me out because he worried that I might be offended. I was taken aback because I couldn’t possibly be offended, and then apologized that I knew I would have to leave to take this quiz. I was amazed that a professor would care that much.

Dr. Hannaford was my professor for ethics, and he always stimulated us to think. He was rigorous and demanding, but with such a gentleness that I never felt any anxiety; I just had an overwhelming passion for philosophy.

I confess that it is hard to answer this question because it would be a tie between Dr. Hannaford and Dr. Seale Doss. He also taught me that the only thing of paramount importance is always to think for oneself as clearly as possible, and then above all to do what we believe is right. In my experience, my professors demonstrated a way of life characterized by integrity, commitment, and deep humanity.
-Jackie Vieceli ’74
Mankato, Minn.

Associate Professor of Psychology, 1954 through 1983

Dean David Harris was a fair, caring person. I had Dean Harris for freshman English and sat in his office several Mondays discussing our behavior (Phi Delt) at off-campus functions. The beginning of my senior year (Sept. 25, 1965), my father passed away, and Dean Harris got all the formalities on campus done for me as we started the year and I left to go home (Kentucky) for 2-1/2 weeks. He also worked to get my wife (Carole Barcal ’66) to be excused from classes. When I returned, he had worked with the Aid Committee and gotten me additional work grants and financial aid.He was a true friend and a man I admired.
-Steve Finley ’66
Oviedo, Fla.

There were many outstanding professors in the late ’50s and ’60s who will forever remain a part of my life. Not only were they excellent in their field of study and endeavor, but they were engaged in the lives of students all day and night. They created a real living learning community where we were partners with them in discovery and new learning. It is difficult to select one of them, but I would like to give a nod to David Harris who was the dean of men and also professor of psychology. I will never forget the day that I walked into Scott Hall and Dean Harris walked up and offered his hand and said, “Hello, Dan.” I had never met him before, but he had memorized the photos of all the new students and greeted everyone of them by first name. Dean Harris was a mentor for me during my entire four years, and it is because of him that I ended up spending 90 percent of my professional life in higher education. When I graduated, he called me to his office and offered me a small present. When I opened it, it was a Marshall Field birds-eye grain Briar pipe. Dean Harris smoked a pipe, and he said that he knew I would always be in higher education and thus needed a pipe. I still have that pipe on my desk today. A fine man, a gentleman, a scholar, committed to lives of students day and night.
-Dan Behring ’62
Manistee, Mich.

Professor of Psychology, 1986 to present

I have to say that a professor who has influenced so much personally wasn’t even part of my main discipline. Professor Joe Hatcheris one of the most compassionate and caring professors I have ever been delighted to meet at Ripon. Not only has he been a truly listening ear to the young adult finding her way in college, but he inspired me to take part in the half-marathon lab during my sophomore year. I was never much of a runner; I had maybe three solid cross country practices from high school under my belt. However, training and working towards the half-marathon and finishing somewhat strong (does anyone else remember Spaulding Hill? No one can train for that…) showed me that I can do so much more than I thought I could. Since that initial race, I have done another half-marathon in my hometown and more recently ran a 10-mile race. During each event, there were always times I thought about my gratitude to Professor Hatcher for providing the lab for his students, but also demonstrating in his own life the importance of a balanced exercise habit in one’s life.Thank you, Professor Hatcher, for showing me that education reaches branches far beyond that which enters the mind.
-Molly Maillette ’09
Eagle River, Wis.

Professor of Romance Languages, 1950 to 1983

Without a doubt, Dr. Alexander Hooker, professor of Spanish. Alex was not just a professor to me, but he was a dear friend and mentor.He took me under his wing and encouraged me to go to Costa Rica. Eventually, his guidance and recommendations landed me in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I met my wife. His influence is still present today. Professor Michelle Fuerch succeeded him, and two of her students are my freshmen daughters, Grace and Margaret Dykstra. Were it not for him, none of this would have happened.

To me, Professor Hooker is so representative of the excellence and commitment of Ripon’s faculty and staff. It is truly fitting that Ripon College was voted as one of the best colleges to work for. A lot of people would use a small-town college as a stepping stone for bigger and better pursuits. Not here. People come to Ripon and never want to leave.
-Kevin Dykstra ’83
Glendale, Wis.

Professor of Classics and Ripon’s President, 1943 through 1954

My memory of the outstanding professor at Ripon back in 1946-1950 would be our leader on the campus, Dr. Clark Kuebler. He circulated with all of us and was interested in our progress and concerns. He always was easy to converse with, gave encouragement and was our beloved president.
-Corinne Spaulding ’50
Glenview, Ill.

Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, 1972 through 1984 and 1989 through 2007

I was a math major at Ripon, graduating in 1977. My favorite professor was Norm Loomer. Norm’s teaching style had a certain elegance to it. He taught in such a way so as to break down the complex into simple parts, making things so understandable. (Too many times I have encountered teachers who seemed to make the simple into something that seems complex.) I also had the feeling he was very interested in each of his students. I so appreciated Norm Loomer’s teaching style that I made an effort to sign up for classes that he was teaching. I think I had about 20 credit hours with Norm.
Ed Rak ’77
Westchester, Ill.

Professor of History, 1954 through 1981

My favorite professor was Dr. George Miller — easy manner, always upbeat, truly enjoyed history. As a result, I enjoyed it as well. In retrospect, I wish I had taken history earlier —-it may have caused me to change my major and possibly my career direction.
G. A. “Chip” Julin III ’68
Yorba Linda, Calif.

Professor of History, 1982 through present

Dr. Diane Mockridge is probably my top choice for several reasons. I loved the subject matter she teaches, some of the most interesting periods in history. She’s also very personable and approachable, so I had no worries about popping in with questions during office hours.

That is one of the things I most value about my Ripon experience. I loved the small class sizes and loved knowing my professors as people and having them know my name.
-Melinda Trainor Hutchinson ’93
Eagan, Minn.

Professor of English, 1960 through 1999

English was a subject that I loved, and Doug Northrup made the literature come alive, often using symbolism to clarify points. Doug was also my adviser, and he tried very hard, though unsuccessfully, to change my decision to transfer after two years. Transferring fit into my parents’ economic plan and was not my idea; I would have been happy to have stayed at Ripon for four years. However, moving to UW-Madison made it possible to meet my husband, Norm, so it eventually worked out well.

Though I left Ripon College in 1965, my family and I have lived here for about 40 years, with Norm teaching mathematics at the College. I continue to have connections with Doug, and now I play tennis with him from time to time. He is as much a gentleman on the court as he was in the classroom and has retained his delightful sense of humor.
-Sue Boothroyd Loomer ’67
Ripon, Wis.

Read More Tributes to Professor Northrop

I am a “townie,” and my mother, Ione Hoehne Harris, worked in the Dean’s Office for 29 years. I was fortunate to grow up around Ripon College and to be a member of the “Ripon College family.” My formative years were definitely influenced by the many opportunities we had as a result of my mother’s employment. Exposure to symphonies, art exhibits and dramatic productions from a very young age were wonderful, and the ever-present desire to become a Ripon College student gave me a higher purpose through the tumultuous years of high school.

As much as I enjoyed these cultural experiences, the relationship I had with my professors, which began long before I ever became a student, were the most special. I met them after school as I sat outside my mother’s office doing homework until she was ready to come home for the day. I babysat for many of their children. They knew me and all my siblings long before they taught us in their classrooms, and many took a personal interest in us long before we officially became their students.

My connection to my professors was the most influential part of my college experience and enabled my later success in life. From all of them, I learned never to settle for anything less than I was capable of achieving; they gave me the confidence that my goals were attainable and the courage to find a way to chart my course through life despite its obstacles, twists and turns. Consequently, I have had a very successful and rewarding career as a public relations professional in the healthcare field, which has demanded that I use my education on a daily basis. And I enjoy a rich personal life outside my office.

While I learned so much from all of my professors, Dr. Douglas Northrop had the biggest influence on my life both in and out of the classroom. As a professor, he was absolutely the best teacher I had ever had. He asked questions and, in working to discover the answers, led us to a greater depth of understanding and appreciation for every piece of literature we examined. He helped me hone my writing skills, always pushing me to clarify. He was always fair and adept at managing a classroom. He handled a very challenging freshman class masterfully, and to this day I remember how he turned a volatile situation into a lesson on unrealized prejudice upon reading and discussing a short story titled“The Artifical Nigger.”His Literary Criticism classes were both intellectually satisfying and exhausting and taught me invaluable lessons in critical analysis applicable well beyond the pages of a book.

Personally, I felt his influence long after I graduated with my degree in English. I lost my father when I was 4 years old, and Dr. Northrop filled that void. He was my mentor, role model and life teacher, as well as English professor extraordinaire. I babysat for all four of his children. As I got to know Dr. Northrop and his wife, Lynn, I saw a different set of parenting skills and witnessed a loving and mutually supportive husband/wife relationship. Dr. Northrop set a standard for me that typically isset for daughters by their fathers. So many of his personal characteristics are present in my own husband, and that was no accident. I consciously sought someone who was “like him” — kind, respectful, supportive, intelligent with a sense of humor and a quick wit. I chose well and have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with my husband for the past 41 years — in no small part due to Dr. Northrop’s example.

We remain in contact today, exchanging Christmas cards every year. I will always cherish my years growing up around the College and my years as a student there — and will always be proud of being a Ripon College graduate. And Dr. Northrop’s influence and example will continue to shape my life.
-Suzanne Hoehne Killian ’75
Niagara, Wis.

Leone Oyster L. LEONE OYSTER ’19
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, 1923 through 1962

Leone Oyster taught various chemistry courses at Ripon for many years. She was also a graduate of Ripon College.

She was my instructor in both quantitative analysis and organic chemistry. She was an amazing lecturer in that she never used any notes. She would begin lecturing at the start of the class period and keep on going until the end of the period, pausing only occasionally to look heavenward, apparently referring to her “notebook in the sky” before plunging onward at breakneck speed. I really had to hustle in taking notes to keep up with her.

Miss Oyster inspired me to go on to graduate school in chemistry at Purdue, where I earned my master’s degree in 1961. I taught chemistry for three years at what is now UW-Whitewater (I did refer to notes when lecturing), and then worked for 35 years at Aldrich Chemical Company in Milwaukee. I feel that I owe a lot of my success in my work career to the background which Miss Oyster provided in the basics of chemistry.
-David Griffiths ’58
Grafton, Wis.

Timothy Petersik J. TIMOTHY PETERSIK
Professor of Psychology, 1981 through present

It was a great experience working closely with Tim Petersik as a research assistant as well as a McNair Scholar. I still enjoy visiting him and catching up (and discussing psych research) over a cup of coffee.
-Brooke Lamb ’10
Appleton, Wis.


Pulsipher through Zei

Associate Professor of Romance and Classical Languages, 1983 to 1995

I was a freshman in 1987 and tested into a junior-level Spanish class. Dr. Pulsipher was the professor of that class, and after one or two days of drowning in homework I went to him and told him that I thought I was in over my head. He told me that he would sign my drop/add slip only if I would come back to his class if I thought the class below his was too easy. What kind of professor says that?

I was a freshman and didn’t know any better, so when the class below his was too easy I went back to his class. He sat with me a few times during his office hours and taught me how to read Spanish without looking up every word. How did he know I would come back to his class? How did he know I could handle it? He had a gift for knowing his students well and challenging us in a way that let us know we could not fail, he would do everything in his power to help us succeed.

And then he modeled such an extreme love for Latin American literature that I couldn’t help but get sucked in. Not only did I get an A in that first class, I took every class he offered between that semester and graduation.

Dr. Pulsipher was also the kind of professor who instilled a love for the discovery of some new fact or view point that had not been touched on before. In fact, in one class, he knew that I was 10 pages into writing a 20-page paper when I said something in class about the discovery of America. He looked me in the eye and said, “That would make a very good paper topic.” And both he and I knew that I was going to trash the 10 pages I had written and start all over because you can’t let something that good go unwritten.

When I was a sophomore, Dr. Pulsipher told me about a program in Costa Rica through Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Any other professor could have told me about it, but he looked at me in that way as if to say, “You are going,” not “You could go.” I think he knew I needed that confidence to go or I would never have left the state of Wisconsin.

When it came time for me to graduate, I was unsure of what to do next. He told me about a short story about a man who left his house with his dog on his leash, and instead of taking the dog for a walk, he let the dog lead him. Dr. Pulsipher told me to “follow my dog,” and to this day he has never been wrong.

I ended up getting my graduate degree in Spanish and I taught Spanish for a long time. But the more important lessons that Dr. Pulsipher taught me were the ones that related to building confidence in myself and allowing myself to live the life that was meant for me without worry and without hesitation.
-Heather Klitzke Wiseman ’91
Aiken, S.C.

Professor of Chemistry, 1968 through 2005

It is hard to pick one professor when there were so many great ones, including Bill Woolley in history, Seale Doss in philosophy and Jean Tryon in biology, to name a few. However, as a chem geek, the team of Richard Scamehorn, James Beatty, Earle Scott and Alan Childs was amazing. Professor Scamehorn was my mentor and my most influential professor. He is famous for his physical demonstration of molecular bonds in freshman organic chemistry, which turns out to look like a bad dance from the 1980s when he would get his head, arms and legs moving in different directions. I credit him for guiding me toward a profession in medicine.
-John Ebens ’85
Greeley, Colo.

People think I’m crazy when I tell them how much I love organic chemistry. I realize now that it wasn’t necessarily the subject matter but rather the logical way in which we were taught it. Dr. Richard Scamehorn was such a patient, kind professor, and I will always remember his ability to engage all of us. His passion for and thorough understanding of the material was not only obvious, but contagious.
-Lindsay Bahn ’06
Omro, Wis.

I spent a lot of time in college after high school and had a lot of teachers. Dr. Richard Scamehorn made the subject of organic chemistry and biochemistry understandable and interesting. I’m sure I never told him, but I greatly appreciate his ability to teach rather difficult subjects and his ability to treat students with respect.
-Rodney V. Thieleke ’72
Sheboygan, Wis.

Professor of English, 1969 through 2001

His English classes were always ones I looked forward to. He engaged the students and worked hard to draw a variety of answers about both the material we read and wrote. I loved his satire seminar, as did many others, I’m sure. His classes were some of the more memorable ones at Ripon.
Julie Lynch Kummer ’85
Sarasota, Fla.

The day he walked into class he looked like a dentist. And sure enough, he told those of us in English comp that he had planned on becoming a dentist but lost interest. That would be William Schang, fresh out of the University of Michigan in 1969. He went on to become the best teacher I ever had.

It wasn’t just about insights, though Dr. Schang overflowed with them. It wasn’t only his zeal to be the best. It wasn’t simply his desire to relate to students, if a bit self-consciously.Dr. Schang had all of those, but what drew me to him was his hidden humanity. I say hidden because Dr. Schang didn’t ooze outward empathy, at least in those days.

During my senior year, in the throes of a girlfriend breakup and two days late with a paper, I was in Dr. Schang’s office, spilling out my misery.He listened uncomfortably for a while and then rising to end my visit said, “I have the profoundest sympathy for you.” His words were stilted. Richard Nixon could have said them.

But as with the literature Dr. Schang so deftly taught, the meaning wasn’t always on the surface.His eyes, his body language, his sincere if awkward manner told me he was quite familiar with heartache.Why that visit moved me, I’m not sure. Maybe because at that moment it showed we were equally vulnerable.

What I do know is that some 40 years later I still recall leaving this masterful teacher’s office with a noticeably lighter step.
-Jerry Cianciolo ’73
Medfield, Mass.

More Tributes to William Schang

I was a student at Ripon during a time when the great Dr. William Schang was probably helping institute the “writing across the curriculum” strategy or some other worthwhile effort. He was a busy guy in those days.

I would not have been aware of this at the time, since I was an undergraduate, a shallow-thinking, yet well-meaning kid, trying to get what I could out of college, too selfish to realize what Dr. Schang really meant to the Ripon community.Now I get it. His impact is felt all over the place, and here is one story that illustrates this.

It was a regular day in American literature class at first, people filing in and taking seats, gossiping, complaining, asking each other what the reading assignment was, and so forth. As an English major and a voracious one at that, I scorned these people. I was ready for a discussion. “Let’s go,” I thought. I’ll rule the day since I am prepared. What happened was something different.

Dr. Schang came in as usual and sat down, we quieted, and then he said something like, “Yeah, usually we discuss what we read, and I assign the next thing, but this time you read Jonathan Edwards’‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.’ This calls for something different.” He stood up and began to arrange his chair and the table in front of him. Some of us began to wonder what whatwas going on.

After he finished arranging the furniture, he stepped up onto the chair next to him, then up onto the table adjacent. He was now quite a bit higher than the class, standing on the table. We had never seen this before.

He proceeded to deliver Edwards’ crazy but passionate sermon from the top of this table, pausing occasionally to look at us, in an appropriately menacing way, of course.

Dr. Schang brought literature to life for me in a way that few had done before. Sure, he’s an expert on Goldsmith and an influential force in the College community, but he also inspired many future teachers like me. I always remember moments like the Jonathan Edwards speech as I am trying to figure out how to engage the students in my own classroom. I only hope I am doing as well as Dr. Schang did. I believe there are others like me out there.

Dr. Schang was all about engaging students.Every good teacher should be willing to jump up on a table for his students. I, for one, will try to do justice to the legacy of Dr. William Schang. I will jump up on a table for Dr. Schang!
-Brian Wegener ’86
Rochester, Wis.

Without question, my favorite Ripon College professor was Dr. Bill Schang in the English department. I was an English major, so I had the privilege of taking several of his classes during my time at Ripon (Fall 1981 to Spring 1985).

Dr. Schang had a way of drawing out comments from every single student in every class. I recall having quite a few non-English majors in our Americanlit survey course, and yet Dr. Schang was able to get these students engaged in the material and capable of finding meaning in it.

And he always treated every student with respect–whether you were able to make a brilliant observation on an Emily Dickenson poem or not. He assumed we were all intelligent, mature people and he seemed to truly delight in our class discussions. Whenever I gave my opinion on a piece of literature in class, he always treated my comments like they were extremely insightful and original. Of course, now I’m sure that after teaching his whole life, he’d probably heard every possible interpretation of lit pieces and he was just being kind. He helped us become better writers and to find our own unique voice in writing. Dr. Schang cared about us understanding the material we were studying, but even more so, he cared about how we were developing as a student and human being.

Dr. Schang had a sense of humor and wit drier than a martini and a mind as sharp as a tack. All us English majors thoroughly enjoyed his classes and him. I believe the year I graduated, 1985, we had approximately 13 English majors and several minors. That was a lot for that department. His “Satire: The Fine Art of Attack” seminar was fabulous. I did my best academic research and writing under his guidance, and I absolutely loved it!

I’ve kept in contact with Dr. and Mrs. Schang throughout the years, and his continuing friendship and correspondence has been a blessing to me.
-Kathie Warren Brinkman ’85
West St. Paul, Minn.

Professor of Economics, 1974 through present

My favorite professor was and still is Dr. Paul Schoofs. As a second semester junior and biology major, I took an economics class with Paul Schoofs. I stuck around an extra year to double major in economics.

It was not just the presentation of the subject by Dr. Schoofs but his personal attention as a teacher.He recognized my affinity for economics and once wrote in a bluebook on which I received a B+: “This would have been an A if you had come to class everyday.”

I did go every day after that and eventually was admitted into the economics honor society. At his urging, and with his help and that of Dr. John T. Bowen, I earned my master’s of business administration degree from Emory (I aced the econ courses there).

Ten years later, Dr. Schoofs provided encouragement and reference letters which allowed me to earn a juris doctorate from Wayne State University. Now I am senior vice president and general counsel of a restaurant chain with revenues exceeding $1.3 billion and employing more than 22,000.

I continue to be thankful that I signed up for that economics class and even more thankful that I came to know Dr. Paul Schoofs.
-Mike Gibbs ’79
San Antonio, Texas

Earle Scott EARLE S. SCOTT
Professor of Chemistry, 1962 through 1987

Dr. Earle S. Scott rises to the top of my list, not only because he was a great teacher (which he was), but also because he taught and showed me more than that which comes out of a textbook or is discussed in a classroom. For instance, he taught me how to blow laboratory glassware, a rare and valued talent which stood me in good stead in graduate school. He also took the time to teach me such things as how to point up a stone wall while he refinished the foundation of his house. Yes, I did get to sling some Sakrete.

Undergraduate research was no throwaway to Dr. Scott. When two second-semester freshmen came to him with plans out of “Scientific American” to build a polarograph, he made sure we could build and study it; however, he specifically constructed the unknowns in qualitative chemistry such that we would have to use the entire wet chemistry tree in order to identify that last component which polarography could not resolve. We learned more than one lesson in that episode.

I spent the summer of 1964 in Ripon, a long way from my home in Massachusetts, yet the entire Scott family took me under their collective wing. It is hard to put into words how much they eased my loneliness. Perhaps my favorite memory of that summer in Ripon was making little 5-year-old Bobbi Scott giggle uncontrollably as I made faces at her in the back of the Scotts’ huge family station wagon as we drove off to hike in Kettle Moraine State Forest.

There is little doubt that Dr. Scott’s influence and mentoring prepared me to tackle the challenges I have faced. And, oh yes, I did learn a lot of chemistry from him as well.
-Walter L. Morgan ’66
Penn Yan, N.Y.

Professor of Politics and Government, 1972 through 1984

Dr. Seth Singleton, department of politics and government, taught his higher-level classes, especially his national security and international relations/foreign policy classes, as graduate classes. He placed a high demand on students in the major, creating and defending senior projects. He used professional games/simulations to teach content and process. Very approachable; always invited to his house to listen to speakers after they presented at Ripon and/or just to discuss current events. Pragmatic and very interested in the welfare of the student.
-Michael A. Ottenberg ’77
Reston, Va.

Visiting Assistant Professor of History, 1974 through 1975

Dr. Joseph Starr is the Ripon professor who had the greatest impact on me. As a visiting professor during 1974-75 teaching Middle Eastern history, a subject not then among Ripon’s regular course offerings, he reached a previously indifferent student and helped ignite my passion for Middle Eastern affairs. In addition to introducing me to a new field of study, Dr. Starr had a wonderful way of bringing history to life. Nearly 15 years afterwards, while standing in the Hagia Sophia (the religious seat of the Byzantine Empire) during a visit to Istanbul, I vividly recalled Dr. Starr’s lecture—in his captivating Irish accent—on the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, including how the people of Constantinople (now Istanbul) sought refuge in that cathedral in the final days of the siege. This is one of several lectures by Dr. Starr that have remained with me through the years.

Armed with the foundation that Dr. Starr imparted to me, I subsequently concentrated on Middle Eastern issues while attending the School of International Affairs at Columbia University and then embarked on a career with the U.S. Government in Middle Eastern affairs. My daughter, Caroline Rothrock ’12, accompanying me to several postings in the Middle East and developing her own interest in international affairs. At Ripon, she majored in Global Studies and now is studying at the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. Thus, through me, Dr. Starr had a significant impact on at least one other Ripon alumnus — one that attended Ripon more than 30 years after he taught here.
-Gerry Rothrock ’76
Reston, Va.

Professor of Religion, 1966 through 1985

Jerry Thompson was my coach and teacher. During my junior and senior years, he led Ripon from the “outhouse to the penthouse” in two years! Our 1957 team, my senior year, was the last undefeated football team in Ripon history, I believe.
-Russ Roeber ’58
Spokane, Wash.

Professor of History, 1921 through 1962

My favorite professor was Dr. (Edwin) Webster. My first class with Captain Eddy was Ancient Near-East History in the small room on the top floor of Lane Library. I was terrified as he appeared to be very formidable as he taught, and his expectations were very high. On the midterm, we were handed our blue books and asked to write on the political, social, economic and military events of 15th century B.C. Egypt. I wrote and wrote and wrote. My blue book was filled. I was feeling very confident about my successful effort but then I talked to several others in the class and realized that I had written on the wrong period. My heart stopped, I think. I felt that the only thing I could do was find him and throw myself on his mercy and plead for a D. The next day, I went to his office. He smiled and said, “That was an A blue book, but since it was the wrong period, I have to give you a B.” I took every class that he taught, and my senior year, I was the history department assistant.
Deborah Johnson Van Slyke ’60
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Professor of Economics, 1948 through 1972

My favorite professor was Milton Westhagen, economics professor.
-Bill Breen ’59
Evanston, Ill.

No question! Dr. Westhagen.
-David Runkel ’54
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

I will always remember my econ professor, Dr.Westhagen, who allowed us to bring in a one 8X12 crib sheet to our final exam. We all not only learned the material in the process but to print very small.
-Fredric Roeming ’55
Monument, Colo.

Milton H. Westhagen — “Westie” — really stands out in my mind. Every one of his classes had a different grading system. Points were earned through the semester. 130 points earned a C. If you finished with 129 points, that was a damned high D. Then there was the “curve.” There were nine in the class, and Westie announced grades would be on a curve. There would be one A and one F’, two Bs and two Ds, and three Cs. We know now Westie wasn’t just teaching econonics– he was teaching life.
-Frank Sotosek ’58
Bartlesville, Okla.

More Tributes to Professor Westhagen

In anticipation of my senior year, I was flipping through the course catalog searching for courses that met my discriminating criteria. This meant the course had to satisfy requirements for my economics major and fit comfortably into my class schedule for my final year at Ripon.

The “History of Economic Thought” course caught my eye, more based on the schedule than on any innate interest in the course content.But who knows, maybe the course would tie together the evolution of economic thought in a way that would help me better understand the dynamics of the current of economy. Who’s teaching the course I wondered? The course list indicated it was Milton Westhagen, a professor I had never seen or knew much about.

Fast forward to September 1970 and the first day of class. A handful of students settled into their seats. In walked a gangly gentleman who was older than the typical Ripon professor. Carrying a black briefcase, his appearance did little to dispel the expectations of blandness that the name of the course conjured up.

Ah, the naiveté of youth! Over the next 15 weeks, Professor Westhagen dutifully introduced us to the great economic minds in history — Smith,Mills, Schumpeter, Veblen and many others were brought into the classroom in Westy’s folksy manner. But, at least in my view, Professor Westhagen’s most valuable contribution was tying the economic theory inherent in the course to the operation and activities of the current (1970) business world. He had the experience and knack for taking an existing business practice, showing how it had its roots in one or more of the great economic minds of earlier eras and how it had evolved over time.

Westy was particularly adept at describing the world of business from a practical and realistic perspective. In the process, he consistently dispelled conventional wisdom beliefs substituting practical realities and introducing the role of psychology as a catalyst to economic behavior. It wasn’t until I entered the business world myself that I fully grasped the importance of the insights Professor Westhagen provided.

In addition to the course content, Professor Westhagen periodically discussed the value of attending graduate school. Ever the practical one, he occasionally even dispensed tips on the application process and how applications and requests for financial aid were evaluated. I had never considered going to graduate school as the cost of attending a quality school was beyond my means.

Nevertheless, inspired by the tips Westy provided on the application and financial aid process and interested in learning more about both business reality and theory, I decided to apply to Northwestern University to pursue a master’s of business administration degree. Perhaps swayed by a letter of recommendation from Professor Westhagen, Northwestern gave me a scholarship for 2/3 of the cost of my MBA degree and arranged student loans for the balance.Not only did Professor Westhagen teach me how economic theory evolves into business practices, but he also encouraged me to pursue a graduate education, an option that seemed unattainable given the practical and financial obstacles I faced.

I can honestly say that Professor Westhagen affected my life in profound ways, and I attribute part of my career success to the “outside-the-box” approach to thinking he fostered. I am forever grateful for his guidance.
-George C. Clam ’71
Woodridge, Ill.

Professor of Physics, 1957 through 1992

Dr. Dino Zei was my favorite professor.
-Nikos Maroulis ’63
Athens, Greece

I started at Ripon as a math major, and took a physics course to fulfill the science requirement. The general physics course that Dr. Dino Zei taught was so pleasantly challenging and so much fun that I continued taking physics classes. I graduated in 1970 with a double major in physics and mathematics.
-Roberta Austring ’70
Kodiak, Alaska

Too Many Favorite Professors to Pick Just One

Professor of History, 1969 through 2001

Professor of Art, 1962-1983

Whilst in college, I’d have said Dr. Woolley was my favorite professor. He taught the courses I wanted to take, understood his subjects thoroughly and imparted his knowledge in such a way that one completely understood it; but he wasn’t dogmatic, so if one had a different interpretation, one’s idea wasn’t dismissed out-of-hand. My understanding of history, indeed geopolitics, and social trends, is definitely more complete, thanks to Dr. Woolley’s classes.

Ultimately, though, the Ripon professor who had the most profound impact on my life had to be Dr. Breithaupt. He taught a way of looking at the world that seemed to put everything in place for me. It’s been 30-something years, but a week doesn’t go by that I don’t reflect on his teaching and apply it to the moment. I can’t really say Dr. Breithaupt was my favorite professor, but I can say that what he attempted to teach me had the most profound effect. -William “Jerry” Metcalf ’75
Lowell, Mass.

Professor of English, 1958 to 2001

Professor of History, 1954 through 1981

Professor of Economics, 1948 through 1972

This is a tough question because it’s almost like asking someone which of their kids is their favorite. So, right off the bat I can’t be limited to one, but I’ll hold the line at three.

First was Dr. Martz, English professor when I first began at Ripon. I have very positive memories of Dr. Martz because he was able to see something in a freshman who had no confidence in his abilities to be at college. He showed me that I had what it took and all I had to do was to try it and work at it.

Next was Dr. George Miller of the history department. Dr. Miller’s two-semester course on the American Civil War was almost breathtaking. Who could have imagined that a history course would be so interesting, and so meaningful in terms of understanding America today?

Last but not least, there is, Dr. Westhagen of the Economics department. Dr. Westhagen was responsible for teaching me to look beyond the obvious, to be skeptical, and to look into the real meaning of how our economy, our investments and our political system works.
-Dan Siculan ’64
Columbia, S.C.

Professor of Greek and Latin, 1986 through present

Associate Professor of Politics and Government, 2005 through present

Two professors stand out most vividly in my mind’s eye as having a profound impact on me.

Dr. Eddie Lowry brings a sincere, contagious passion to what many would consider dry: Greek and Latin. His incredible memory, analytic ability and ridiculously large vocabulary are inspiring and comprise what I would think must be anyone’s quintessential college professor. I loved every class with him.

Dr. Lamont Colucci is the perfect politics professor. Smart, witty, experienced and widely literate, he challenged my views, inspired my abilities and encouraged my growth. My plans for pursuing higher degrees and work in the civic section are inspired by him, and I almost certainly wouldn’t have considered my current service in the United States Air Force if not for the thoughts his classes helped me to wonder about.
Ross R. Heintzkill ’10
Green Bay, Wis.

Among my favorite professors were Leone Oyster, Eddie Webster, Dr. Moore and Daddy Becker, along with coach Red Martin and Dr. Freund. If you couldn’t learn from them, you didn’t belong in college.

Also, since I played the organ for chapel services, Skipper Chamberlain, and I must include Maj. Potts and Sperati who spent time with me and helped me get an Army commission when I graduated. The strength of Ripon College lay in the faculty — dedicated to the success of their students and always available to help students. I am ever grateful to Ripon and the instructors who taught me, and to those who guided my son, Jeff, during his life at Ripon.

And a special thanks to Jaspar Pickett who quite often helped students with a loan of a dollar or two when things got tight. The waiters were “his boys.”

Last but not least is Mr. Stone of the First National Bank who provided the funds to help pay for my education. What I was taught at Ripon and the lifelong friends I made there served me well in my Army career and in my later employment at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. My son, Tim, would have been at Ripon but got an appointment to West Point, and my youngest, Tom, got a scholarship to Harvard which would have been hard to turn down.

The hardest tests I took at Ripon were from Eddie Webster. They were usually only five questions in length, of which you could answer three. But your answers had to include dates, events, names and supporting facts – nothing like a true-or-false quiz. When I was an instructor at Fort Benning, I copied Dr. Webster’s approach in testing students. They had to prove their answers.
Dayle Balliett ’39
Bradenton, Fla.

Professor of German, 1964 through 1999

Professor of Music, 1967 through 1999

Who can pick just one favorite professor? Professor James Hyde volunteered to offer one of his classes to me one-on-one in a semester because I could not take it when scheduled. Who can forget Professor Seale Doss’ Easter Island head drawn on the chalkboard to teach perception lessons as part of Descartes’ meditations? Then there was Professor Brian Smith who entertained my series of episodic papers exploring the metaphysics of religion and politics in one of his classes.

The quiet caring of Professor Doug Morris’ vocal music lessons provided moments of peace, and his choral programs special Christmas memories. And then there were Sergeants Bird, Michaels and Ruiz-Ruiz, each of whom challenged physically and mentally to do things I thought I could not do — teaching me I could be more than I thought possible. Who can pick just one? I am indebted to them all.
-Karl Feld ’91
Clayton, N.C.

Professor of Philosophy, 1950 through 1983

Professor of Chemistry, 1962 through 1987

I had a number of great teachers during my four years at Ripon, but the two that influenced me personally more than any others were Dr. William Tyree (I took “History of Religion” my junior year) and Dr. Earle Scott.

Dr. Tyree opened up my mind to the world of existentialism since it was hot in those days –Reinhold and Richard Neihbur, Soren Kirkegaard, Paul Tillich (whom I saw preach in the Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus when I was there for graduate school in 1965-68) and others. My fraternity brother, Harrison Ford, was also one of Tyree’s students at the time.

Dr. Scott was my chemistry teacher, and I had stayed over the summer of 1963 at the College to work on a NSF grant which Dr. Scott and I wrote and successfully received.

When I graduated from Ripon, I received the chemistry staff’s award of a teaching assistantship to the University of Chicago and ultimately worked for Dr. Gerhard Closs and received my Ph.D. in 1969. I feel a great sense of thankfulness for this award. I would never have gotten to where I did without Ripon’s help — and especially that of Dr. Scott.

Dr. Tyree impacted me deeply on the emotional and philosophical side of things. It all helped round me out, so to speak, and that is the value of a school like Ripon that gives one a full BA in education involving many different subjects, not just a focus on chemistry or any other focus. It was a true liberal arts education, and I will always be thankful that Ripon gave me the chance.
-Don Schober ’64
Brewster, Mass.

Professor of History, 1969 through 2001

Adjunct Professor of English and Ripon’s 10th President, 1985 through 1995

Dr. William Woolley was a favorite, in part because he really made us work for our grades. I wonder how many rewrites I bugged him about to pull that A minus? He also has a great sense of humor, especially in the “Public History” class. I ended up being a public historian, now working for the Minnesota Historical Society.

Taking a class with Dr. Stott was wonderful — even though he had way too much energy and enthusiasm for Irish lit at 8 in the morning! He also held office hours, and I recall talking to him about his class as well as my overall course load. These are things you don’t usually get at big universities.
-Melinda Trainor Hutchinson ’93
Eagan, Minn.

Professor of Philosophy, 1970 through present

Professor of History, 1969 through 2001

I love this question because I think about these two gentleman often…. Vance Cope-Kasten and Bill Wooley!!!

They are two of the most amazing professors I have ever had – and I attended several schools, including graduate school! Vance Cope-Kasten was so open to addressing different issues with students. He seemed interested in all topics across the board. His classes were never boring. I never experienced burnout at Ripon College largely due to Professor Cope-Kasten! In addition, he was always available. He never turned students away when they needed assistance.

Bill Wooley, too, had the most amazing qualities as a teacher. One of my favorite things about him? He was able to assist students in articulating their thoughts. Students could be struggling to get their ideas across in a group discussion, and he followed their every word, helping them articulate so that everyone involved sounded someone intelligent! Amazing quality in a teacher. The antithesis of the pretentious professor who enjoyed mocking students for not getting their reading done or not understanding concepts. Truly amazing quality. It is something I try to emulate with clients (I am in social work).

-Erin Meyer ’00
Bozeman, Mont.

Professor of Exercise Science, 1966 through 2005

Professor of Religion, 1987 through present

Chuck Larson had awesome classes. He always taught like he was coaching the team. It got you excited for the topic and you certainly could hear him!

Brian Smith was awesome, too. He made topics understandable, kept homework assignments flexible, yet challenging, and I even was fortunate enough to enjoy a spaghetti dinner at his house with a few of my classmates.
-Jen Even ’06
Plover, Wis.

Professor of History, 1921 through 1962

Associate Professor of Romance and Classical Languages, 1935 through 1968

Actually I had two. Edwin Webster and Margaret “Mommy” Lay — definitely at opposite ends of the scale. Mommy Lay for her overall teaching ability, whole personality, humor, understanding — for her whole being. Edwin Webster (who, by the way had been a neighbor) because he taught me to really think, to reason things out. Invaluable abilities in this day and age.

-Peg Jess Schieler ’54
Green Valley, Ariz.

Professor of Religion, 1987 through present

Professor of Sociology, 1975 through 2005

From 1995 to 1999, the professors who stood out for me were Brian Smith (religious studies) and Eric Godfrey (emeritus, sociology). Not only they were very helpful, approachable, and always willing to lend a hand — as most of my professors were — they went above and beyond their call of duty to help me discover that I do have a talent of making critical analyses of social science phenomena and that this talent could lead me to a career — specifically a career in the academia as a political science professor — that was so different from one I had envisioned during my teenage years,

Eric taught me the foundation of social scientific inquiry and research methodology in his two-semester seminar on “Methods of Social Research” and “Social Research Project,” where I had to develop a set of sociological hypotheses, design a survey questionnaire, and administer it to a randomly selected group of Ripon College students. This project, my senior thesis in sociology at Ripon, opened a window for me to start thinking about the possibility of becoming a social scientist myself, which I eventually pursued in my master’s and doctoral study in political science at Arizona State University.

I first discovered my interest in religion and politics when taking Brian’s seminar on “Comparative Religious Ethics” in the spring of 1996. I learned that all major religions of the world — Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and so forth — have common ground of motivating humans to lead a good life based on the ethical teachings within their scriptures and political theologies. Brian developed my curiosity to learn more about religion and politics beyond the often-stereotypical portrayals of religious groups in major news outlets in the United States. In the end, I pursued these interests in my Ph.D. dissertation on peaceful and pro-democratic Islamic movements in Indonesia and Turkey. Best of all, Brian not only taught me about religious ethics, but he led me and his other students from his own examples himself. He’s a very spiritual and very generous person who always show his hospitality and kindness to everyone he met. In many ways, he serves as both an academic and a spiritual mentor for me as well as for many of his former students.

Now that I’m a college professor myself, I strive to become a mentor for my students here at the University of Miami, just like Eric and Brian became my mentors during my Ripon years. They are very proud of the person I have become now. I’m hoping that I could return the favor by inspiring a new generation of college-age students in my home institution.
-Alex Arifianto ’99
Coral Gables, Fla.

Professor of Philosophy, 1970 through present

Professor of English, 1987 through present

It is impossible to narrow down to one favorite professor at Ripon–choosing feels a little bit heretical because I can think of several who were similarly powerful in terms of impact. That said, the two professors I feel most indebted to are Vance Cope-Kasten and David Graham. Professor Cope-Kasten posed questions that initially seemed almost facile and yet over and over proved wickedly challenging to unpack. I credit him with helping me become a critical thinker capable of more nuanced thought that I would otherwise have been. David Graham gently nudged me outside my comfort zone as both a writer and a reader. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from both of them.
-Samantha Bailey ’91
Kent, Ohio

I had so many wonderful professors at Ripon. I don’t want to pick a favorite, so I’ll pick two: Vance Cope-Kasten and David Graham. With my double major, they were both advisers as well as professors to me, and I could not have gotten through without them. They really took the time to get to know me as a student and a person, and the advice and guidance they gave, both in and out of the classroom, was invaluable. Not to mention that they are both well-versed in their prospective fields and do their own writing as well, so they serve as great examples. I miss them both and am forever grateful to the contributions they made to who I am today.
-Amanda Miltenberger Shepard ’00
Wyoming, Minn.

Associate Professor of Biology, 1959 through 1965

Assistant Professor of Biology, 1961 through 1963

As a biology major, I had the privilege of getting to know Bob and Scottie Willey. Their knowledge and friendship will always be remembered with great fondness. As will the Thursday evening “pre-dress-up dinner functions” at the Republican House with JEAN VAN HENGEL, dean of women (until 1968).
-Lynn Siebel Sundelius ’63
Kalispell, Mont.