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Memories shared by students and alumni. Please share your memories of your favorite professor or other events on campus.
Andy Shuping, class of 1971
Dr. Robert Wurster -- I had Dr. Wurster for freshman English. In addition to being an excellent professor, he broke away from his lecture one day and encouraged his students to write a letter to their parents expressing their appreciation for all that the parents had done for them. I took his advise and wrote my letter that night. My mother told me later that year that my father cried when he finished reading my letter. Both of my parents have since died. Had I not written the letter that Dr. Wurster encouraged, I think I would be carrying the regret of my failure still today.
Diana Edwards, class of 1968
Dr. Robert Wurster taught my National Merit Scholarship Class. I had had a very modest upbringing, and Dr. Wurster, with his literary knowledge, and his sophisticated view of the world, was a wonder to me. And he influenced me greatly. I remember one time when he took a group of us to a riverbank near Richardsville in the beautiful leaftime in the fall. We sat on the riverbank and Dr. Wurster read poetry to us, and then asked us how we felt about the autumn.
When I took freshman chemistry in 1965 (?), Dr. Reginald Butler was always a great professor and at the same time, fun. He had a great sense of humor, but his classes were serious business anyway.
Melissa Rainwaters Dene, class of 1991
Mrs. Pulsinelli was the best math instructor. I loved her style and her way of challenging her students. She gave all she had to her job. You could tell she wanted all her students to succeed. My most challenging year was my Junior year. At that time, I had Dr. Bettina Richmond. Enjoyed her class, although she admitted feeling "out of her comfort zone" teaching Probability and Statistics. The most fun I had was in the music department after Orchestra rehearsals. We'd hit Reno's for some fun times, a huge plate of buffalo wings, and a few choice drinks to wash it down. I miss my friends from WKU. I can't seem to find them via Facebook or other venues. Wonder how that could be solved? Dorm life---well, I didn't stay on campus the whole time. But when I did, it was good. Thanks for the opportunity to share.
Amy Croslin Wright, class of 1998
My favorite professor during my time at WKU was Dr. John Spurlock in the English department. Not only did he share my ineterest in linguistics and Jesse Stuart, but he also peppered his lectures with crazy stories. They would suddenly branch from his topic, and students not paying attention would keep taking notes while I tried not to laugh out loud! I wish I had the nerve back then to tell him how much I enjoyed his classes, but maybe taking every course that professor offers is proof enough.
Joe Tinsley, class of 1982 and 1992
If it had not been for Dr. John Spurlock I probably never would have graduated. He was a great inspiration to me in his lectures and in his guidance. His humor in class equals no other.
Nancy Richey, class of 1997
There are so many in the History Department that created wonderful classroom experiences and left lasting impressions. Dr. Richard Salisbury ran a tight ship and kept everyone's attention with his thorough knowledge of his topic.
Dr. Jack Thacker and Dr. Marion Lucas were the best of friends but entirely opposite on the political spectrum but if you had them both in class, you could get a wonderful "balanced" worldview! Both were excellent professors who knew their subjects well.
Dr. Carlton Jackson could speak as though he had lived in the era that he was lecturing upon, and would tease that he was old enough to have done so, and lastly Dr. Carol Crowe Carraco, with her lilting Georgian accent, taught us the history of our native state with grace and old fashioned hard work. The department's love and respect is well earned.
Greg Lowe, class of 1968
My first semester at Western began in September 1964 which was also Dr. Jack Thacker's first semester at Western. I took his European History class that semester and learned a valuable life lesson. That lesson was that there are standards that one must meet in college and in life, for that matter. When you don't meet the standards you don't pass or succeed. I didn't do the reading like I should have and consequeently didn't do well on tests and failed the course. Dr. Thacker didn't lower his standards, he made me raise my level of performance and I passed European History in round 2. His lessons in history and in meeting standards served me well in a 30 year career with the US Army as I applied them on a daily basis. When I commanded the Second ROTC Region as a Colonel in the mid 90's Western's Professor of Military Science invited me to attend a Staff Ride to the Chickamauga Battlefield with Dr. Thacker as the Staff Ride leader. I jumped at the chance only to have Dr. Thacker assign me the task of briefing the group on one of the key generals in the battle. I read three books on the subject, prepared briefing notes, and rehearsed my presentation knowing I would be called upon. Dr. Thacker walked us through the battle the entire weekend and lectured day and night without a single note. He made the battle come alive and the players real. He never did call upon me but I had done the reading, was ready for the test, and believe I would have made him proud. We have become good friends in the last 45 years and I still consider him a memtor today.
Mary Lynn Claycomb, class of 2000
The WKU Department of History played an important part in my college experience. I spent my last two semesters working as a student employee as well as taking classes in the department. I became acquainted with many of the professors that I did not have as instructors and still was able to learn different aspects of history from them as I typed their exams or copied handouts for them. Dr. Carol Crowe Carraco would have to win hands down on being my favorite professor, only because I had more classes with her than any other professor on the Hill. She became known to many of us as Mother Carraco being the type of professor that wanted to make you a part of the family. Tudor Stuart History was very interesting with the requirement of the students to research and portray one of the characters we were studying about. Kentucky History was also interesting with her style of teaching. We never had a dull moment in the class of Dr. Carol Crowe Carraco.
Christy Spurlock, class of 1984
As a history/English undergraduate, I was fortunate to have so many truly wonderful professors. The woman, the legend, Dr. Carol Crowe Carraco (aka "Triple C!") was one of my favorites. To be in public today with Carol is like being with an A-list celebrity. People all gather to hug, kiss, and visit with this absolutely beloved teacher.
Dr. David Lee was one of the finest classroom teachers I have ever witnessed. Brilliant, charming, funny, engaging - - brought out the best in all his students - - a true scholar's scholar. My Math 101 professor, alas can't remember his name, wonderful man. Actually got me to understand and like math -- miracle worker!
Janet Nash Haynes, class of 1986
Dr. Sally Clark was one of my favorite professors. She always had time to answer questions and found ways to give practical experience along side classroom instruction. She made textiles,history, and ingenuity an important part of our learning experience. Last but not least. She treated each student as though they were one of her children. I certainly considered her a Mom.
Bob Phelps, class of 1974 and 1977
Drs. Bill and Dorothy McMahon opened a whole new world for me. They were probably the most intimidating two people I had met when our paths first crossed. She was my undergraduate advisor and made me take things I didn't want to take. Of course, she knew what I needed a lot better than I did. I was as scared as I had ever been the first day I walked into his Advanced Composition class. Somewhere I still have the first paper he returned to me. Across the top he had written, "You'll do just fine!" He never knew (until now) what he did to boost a kid's confidence. Every time I write today (which I do a lot) I still wonder what they'd think about it. Every time I read (which I do a lot) I am grateful for the things they made me read that I didn't want to. Sometimes I even go back and reread things I read for them and continue to be thankful.
Erik Franklin, class of 1999
My favorite professor by far was Dr. Bohlander who taught THE most memorable class of my life. I took his Organized Crime class and was told all sememster not to miss a certain day. He would say, "whatever you do, DO NOT miss" on that day. With eager anticipation, we all gathered in on the day in question awaiting what Bohlander had in store. We knew that if it got him excited, it had to be good. Shortly after class was to begin he walked in. Behind him walked in a large man with jet black hair, black boots, black jeans and black leather jacket. Bohlander said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the man with me that will speak to you today is none other than Vito Genovese, Jr." Class that day was an hour long. We all stayed for an hour and a half hanging on every word. The experiences that he recounted we more that we could've learned from a thousand textbooks. This is just one example of the length that Bohlander would go to keep learning interesting. I will never forget him or that class.
Nicholas Cobb, class of 2009
My favorite professor at WKU would without a doubt be Edward Bohlander. Dr. Bohlander taught several courses related to Criminology, but my favorite was his Organized Crime class. He told stories of his experiences with inmates and individuals he had communicated with throughout his life that were directly applicable to the subject material in the text. I learned so much from him in the two classes I took, and he always kept the attention of myself and the other students. I currently work on campus, and when I see Dr. Bohlander he is always friendly, talkative, and excited to see each one of his former students, myself included. Dr. Bohlander has had a tremendous impact on my positive educational experience here at WKU and he is definitely deserving of this recognition.
Cathy Pippin, class of 1998
Dr. Ed Bohlander in Sociology by far!!! Dr. Bohlander had the most fascinating classes and I NEVER missed one. Like a lot of students I was not real sure about where I was going w/my degree. That all changed when I walked into one of Dr. Bohlander's classes. He made a huge impact in my life as he has many others...he is a role model, a compassionate man and friend to all.
Susan Hook, class of 2006
Dr. Ed Bohlander is without a doubt one of the finest professor I have had the pleasure of learning from. He is extremely intelligent and quite interesting. I am amazed at the vast amount of knowledge about our prison systems including statistics that this man has in his head. One of the high points of his Penology class was the trips he organized to the various Kentucky prisons. I had the pleasure of touring the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, an experience I will never forget. It is common to hear students make negative comments about different professors.
Roxanne Spencer, class of 2003
I completed the MA Ed General in 2003, and most of my classes were in the Counseling & Student Affairs program. The courses were all bi-terms, which meant late Friday nights and l-o-n-g Saturdays with a lot of material to cram for exams! Dr. Aaron Hughey, Dr. Fred Stickle and Dr. Vernon Sheeley all made the already interesting material special, by engaging us in group work, fascinating discussions and readings, relevant and insightful videos, and educational games that helped us get a great deal from the course material. I also appreciate Dr. Randy Dear for making the graduate Education Foundations summer course I took engaging and diverse. I am grateful for these fine professors, who made my introduction to WKU early in my career here as a student and professional, so worthwhile.
Shawna Cawthorn, class of 1998 and 2003
Dr. Lou Turley -- When I walked into my MKT 320 class in the spring of 1995, I didn't know that the class (and the professor) would change the direction of my life. Undecided on what I wanted to be "when I grew up," I entered the classroom with very little expectations. In walks this professor, blue jeans, smirky smile, casual jaunt to his walk. From the first day, he had his class mesmerized with his knowledge, ability to relate to college-age students, and sense of humor. Many of us walked away from this class with the realization, "I could do this for the rest of my life!" I was changed from the undecided, "sitting at the crossroads" kind of college student, to the "I know where I am going and what I want to do" kind of college student. Over the years, Lou became a good friend and mentor. When he passed away suddenly in 2004, the WKU family was struck with sadness. He is greatly missed and will be rememebered forever as the professor who helped me find my way.
Sondra Schilke, class of 2009
My favorite professor was Dr. Jack Thacker, he truly was passionate about the things he taught and he knew the subject material well. He was able to make Western Civ an enjoyable experience.
Markeeta V. Wood, class of 1972
My favorite professor was J. Drew Harrington. Dr. Harrington loved the history that he taught and gave his students a love of the ancients. He had a sense of humor that always made me laugh. He always had time for his students to listen, to advise and to care. He knew that college catalog and if you listened, you did not take courses that would not count toward graduation. He was my mentor in history and my favorite history teacher on the Hill.
E. Dawn Hall, class of 1999
I have a ton of favorite professors but four that REALLY impacted my life were Dr. Ron Eckard, Dr. Pat Taylor, Dr. Karen Schneider and Dr. John Hagaman. Dr. Eckard introduced me to study abroad which opened a whole new world to me!
Mark Pendley, class of 1998
Dr. John Russell taught environmental science and radiation safety. He was my most admired professor. His rigor and expectations helped me to realize that I am the only limit to my life's success. I learned that accomplishment is the reward for dedication and hard work. Leadership and learning are symbiotic.
Beth Whitfield, class of 1980, 1991 and 1998
Favorite professor -- Dr. Lou-Ann Crouther -- she was interested in her students, expected a lot from us, but was extremely fair. I still think she is the greatest. The class I had with her was a literature.
Destiny Smith O'Rourke, class of 2005 and 2008
Dr. Arvin Vos taught my Love and Friendship class. I can remember being swept away with the information he provided. I was hungry to learn more about intimate interpersonal relationships each time I got to class, and couldn't stop reflecting once class was over. I took advantage of any extra learning opportunities that came up. Dr. Vos forced me to think critically about my own experiences and showed me that there isn't necessarily right from wrong in the execution of that area of life, which was and is still quite freeing. Love and Friendship was probably one of the toughest classes I had, but I enjoyed every minute. Even now, I recommend that class any chance I get. He was simply delightful.
Natasha Smith, class of 1996
A fond memory I have of Dr. Babcock in my first semester of French -- him reading "Barbara" to the class and his relaxed passion in sharing his favorite poem. I enjoyed Mr. and Mrs. Pulsinelli. Mrs. Pulsinelli's no-nonsense attitude and expectation of students to perform. And the contrast of Mr. Pulsinelli finding students comical. Both appreciated intelligence and effort. The Honors department had great professors: Dr. McFarland, Walker Rutledge, Craig Taylor, to name a few. They inspired you to think for yourself and learn from others, always keeping things interesting.
Rhonda Jenkins Armstrong, class of 1995
Prof. Walker Rutledge and Dr. John Spurlock co-taught an honors class on Hemingway and Faulkner, which provided many of the stories with which I regale my own students today. I especially remember Prof. Rutledge driving us down to Faulkner's home in Mississippi in a pair of 15-passenger vans, occasionally veering onto the shoulder as he gestured excitedly towards cotton in the fields, and Dr. Spurlock reading us passages from Hemingway in his wonderful voice, pausing to look at us over his text and say, "Right? Yes." The course of my life was changed by two other English professors, Dr. Patricia Taylor, who led a study abroad semester in England that was my first experience outside the United States, and Dr. Elizabeth Oakes, who introduced me to women writers as a field of study and, though she does not know it, inspired me to get a Ph. D.
Cindy Troutman, class of 1998
My favorite professor was Dr. Ed Bohlander in Sociology. He truly cared about his students, and advisees - that was evident in everything he did. He was the first person that made me feel like a part of WKU! And, perhaps one the main reasons I finished. Dr. Kim in Economics was also among my favorite. He challenged us to learn and apply the material he taught. And, Dr. Randy Swift, who used to teach Math at WKU. I had him for 109 and 116. He is now teaching in CA. He was an amazing teacher! He never forgot that math, for many of us, did not come so easy. He would back-up, repeat, and even meet with his students one-on-one.
Carrie Barnette, class of 1995
Dr. Jim Wayne Miller was an amazing professor. He was my second semester German teacher. He was extremely engaging, always having exceptional stories about life to share and always bringing unique insights to any discussion brought to class. I must admit, we learned very little German. I can't even count to ten anymore. But, his dynamic style, true interest in the ideas of the students he taught, and desire to create deeper, more complex thinkers definitely impacted my academic experience.
David L. Hocker, class of 1975
There were so many wonderful teachers. WKU's History Department had an abundance of great teachers. I never had one that I did not come to respect. Dr. Jack Thacker was my obvious favorite. I had him for 8 undergraduate classes and audited 2 graduate classes. He got my attention in the first class I took. I only dropped 1 point out of the first 90 points on the first test. The last 10 point question had two options and I did not have a clue about either one. I just "slung alot of ink." His response was succinct and direct.
Ohm Pauli, class of 1966 and 1974
Mr. Pauli was instrumental in several aspects of my life, including going to court with me to get me out of a speeding ticket to motivating me to return to the field of music education when I thought there was no future for me in music. I remember being in his church choir as well as WKU's choir under his direction, as well his mentorship in private voice. Because of him, I am still active in directing music in church. I would be remiss if I didn't mention all the help and encouragement his wife, Sue, gave during my tenure at WKU. I will, forever, have fond memories of Mr. Pauli.
Jo Ann Scott, class of 1976
Susan Jones was one of my favorite instructors, very patient and understanding, and friendly, someone you could talk to personally, also very knowledgeable.
Nancy Baird, class of 1973
A bored housewife looking for something "meaningful" to do, I signed up for a graduate history class the year my younger daughter went to kindergarten. The course was "Old South," with Lowell Harrison. He made history come alive, made the people real--and fascinating (& without halos)--and his knowledge of the important and interesting and his sense of humor made the class fun--as well as a challenge. Of the required 30 hrs for a masters, I took about 21 with Harrison. Then, rather than return to chasing dirt and playing bridge, I completed a Specialist in History, again taking most of my classes with Harrison. At his suggestion I also taught two survey classes each semester. On completion of the Specialist degree, the Kentucky Library offered me a position as their "history specialist," and when I expressed little interest in the job, Dr. Harrison encouraged, "try it for a little while. You might like it." And he was right and every day I thank him for those fascinating classes and for the "nudge" he provided that resulted in a wonderful 35 year career.
I have many memories of my time as a student at WKU. I spent a lot of time with my friends in McLean Hall--I learned a lot about a lot of things there!! Since I was a biology major, many of my academic memories are from Thompson Complex North Wing. Drs. Elliott, Prins, and Yungbluth remain among my favorites. I think it's because they made me wonder about what it was that they were teaching and that's something that I remember to this day. I continue to wonder about many things and I try to spark that sense of curiosity in my own students. I still consider these professors my mentors.
I had two: Pat and Craig Taylor
Stacey Biggs, class of 1994
I had a lot of great professors, but there were two who were exceptional. They were Dr. Lou Turley and Dr. Joseph Cangemi. My husband encouraged me to take Dr. Turley's marketing class because he had enjoyed it so much. I took it and shortly thereafter decided to change my minor to Marketing. He related so well to the students and made marketing sound like fun! It was obvious that he knew what he was talking about, and he loved teaching, and that made the class that much more enjoyable. He always seemed to remember his students names - even long after the class was over. I know the campus community still misses him. Dr. Cangemi's Psychology of Sales class was also great. He is a captivating speaker and always had the students hanging on every word. The class could have been very intimidating because it was big and held in the Grise Hall auditorium, but I remember that there was always a lot of student participation. He brought in interesting guest speakers and showed videos in addition to lectures. When I began working on my Masters degree and saw an opportunity to take another of his classes, I jumped at the chance...and of course, the class was Both of these professors were outstanding. Never wanted to miss one of their classes, because I knew I would really miss something.
Hugh Ayer, class of 1946
Shared a memory of Frances Anderson with Sue Lynn McDaniel in 2002.
Peggy Defreece Dean, class of 1982
Shared a memory of Thomas Baldwin
Randolph Richards, class of 1953
From first grade through graduate school, the best teacher I ever had was Hugh Johnson, who taught math at Western. He could and did explain any and every problem in ways that anyone could understand. I majored in Agriculture at Western KY State College, received my Master of Science Degree in Agronomy at The University of Wisconsin, and received the Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics and Plant Breeding at Purdue University.
Carolyn Moore May, class of 1967 and 1974
Dr. William McMahan in the English Dept. was my favorite professor. I agree that he could be intimidating, but I loved his sense of humor. When I was taking his Advanced Composition class, he gave grammer quizzes. I thought that was great. I learned most of what I know about American poets from him. The "You'll do" must have been a trademark because he also wrote it on my paper about Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Leanne Clasby Mabrey, class of 1980 and 1989
I very fondly remember Gloria Hovious she was a very dedicated professor and a very graceful ladyand encourager....she helped to make me the woman that I am now. I also remember Chuck Crume...I had some classes for my Masters degree with him and he also was very dedicated and a great friend.
Mike Abell, class of 1963 and 1965
Dr John Scarborough, (Dr. John) Education, gave me the inspiration for my career as a CEO in Hospital Administration for 30 years. He was Like a coach, teacher, motivator, and cheerleader, all in one person. When you came out of class, you would just say "Bring on the world, I am ready" and you knew you had the tools to get the job done!
Krista J. Theuerkauf Ziller, class of 1982
Wow . . . there were so many . . . probably the one professor that impacted my life and I still can hear her stories from time to time is Jo Verner. What an inspriration she was. She fought being "differently abled" during a time that was not always easy or acceptible. Then there was Dr. Biff Koomer (not sure I spelled it right) and all the fun we had in our Outdoor Rec class! Ernie Owen, Joyce Wilder . . . the list can go on and on!
Dorm life . . . North Hall and Bemis what great experiences............WKU provided a wonderful education and life lessons that will remain with me for the rest of my life. Probably the best thing about WKU was that I met my husband of 29 years my first week of school and married him 4 years later! The Wild Hares still gather every year, about 25 couples and friends, to regale the stories of the "Hill." Friendships that will last a lifetime, made on the "Hill."
Michaele Ann Harper, class of 1982
All the professors in the Art Department were amazing! da
Alice Chumbley Lora, class of 1961
My favorite professor was Russell Miller, English and Drama, and head of Western Players. He was not only brilliant, he was demanding. If he set an appointment at 2 PM, he did not mean 2:01 -- he meant 2. Before we could have a speaking role in a play, we had to work behind the scenes on the set. No star was above striking sets. He also introduced us to a culture many of us small-town students didn't know:theatre-in-the-round in Nashville or major productions in Louisville. The lessons he taught were life lessons.
David A. Collins, class of 1989
Elizabeth Volkman: Voice Professor. Ms. Volkman taught me not only how to sing in a healthy and natural way but also taught me stage deportment, music literature and also taught me to be a better human being. She always gave me positive and contructive criticism and prepared me for the world of classical music and opera before I took off to New York City. She was the epitome of elegance, class and operatic scholarship to me (a tenor from a very small town!) Her world class performances and experiences continue to fascinate me and her advice (both about voice and life) still resonate with me-I hear her "voice" come out of my mouth many times now. What a great teacher, person and guide for me. A true "Class Act!"
Stan Wood, class of 1983
My favorite professor at Western was Dr. John Long. He taught religion classes and so much more. I remember taking New Testament and was so amazed by his stories. This was the first time in my life that religion was taught to me and not preached to me. I took Old Testament the very next semester so that I could have Dr. Long one more time. I would visit him in his office and it was like going back in time with stories from all the places he had visited and the many artifacts the man had collected. He opened my mind to the possibility that education could take me out into a better world. Thanks Dr. Long...
Jason Davis, class of 2010
In 2005, I took a Judicial Process class taught by Dr. John Kang. This class opened my eyes to the legal system and how precedent is imperative in determining decision in various cases. Dr. Kang made the class interactive, fun and very challenging. That mix made this class one of my most memorable classes in my journey at WKU. I was sad to see Dr. Kang go, he was a great asset to the WKU.
Terry Cockrill Powell, class of 1980, 1984 and 1988
My dad, Williard Cockrill, taught there forever in the Geography/Geology Department. He was the weatherman for WKU and was on Channel 13 and 3 radio stations. I worked in the old library. On my way to work, I would have to stop by his office and get the weather report before I could go to work because Mrs. Parrent always wanted to know what the weather was going to be. I also remember being in the special education department. I had several classes with John Vokurka and Brian Enright. One summer, the same people were in both classes that they taught. At the end of the semester, we all went to someone's house (maybe Vokurka's....can't remember for sure) and partied. It was so much fun. My then brother-in-law, Horace Shrader was director of housing. I remember him walking me home after dark one night and the uproar it caused. People started calling my sister telling her about this "co-ed" that he walked home. Folks were kinda embarrassed when the realized we were family. I really remember the year that the Clarinet Ensemble got to go to Chicago for the MENC conference. We got to meet the actual composers of some of the music we played for a concert there. Some of the professors that went with us were David Livingston, Bennie Beach and Kent Campbell. Fun Times . . .
Carla Love, class of 1992, 2000 and 2004
My very first class on the hill was Psychology 100 with Dr. Fred Stickle. His wife had a baby that year and she brought him to class one day. I got to hold him. Dr. Stickle was also my last professor when I finished my Marriage and Family Counseling degree. A great start and a great finish. Dr. Vernon Lee Sheely was another one of my professors for several classes. He is an amazing man. He always remembers who I am to this day. He has a wealth of knowledge beyond belief. Dr. Wayne Mason believes in all of his students and you can tell that from the minute you walk into his class. Anytime I'm on campus I stop by to see him. Dr. Don Dinkmeyer also an amazing man. I can't remember how many classes I took under him. He helped me through the 'drama.'
Joy Mahaney, class of 1970
Dr. Murl Brashear - He encouraged me to take the civil service exam that was being given on campus. The following year I got married and moved to San Antonio Texas. That exam led to a career with the federal government. Thank you Dr. Brashear!