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‘Who Wouldn't Love Teaching People Like This?'

February 2014


Professor of Education Dean Marple, EdD, remembers showing a senior how to tie a tie for an interview. He also recalls the student-teacher from Chicago who, when assigned to a remote, rural school, assumed there would be no street signs or stoplights there.

He smiles about the football player who donned his grandma's flowery apron and a hairnet to demonstrate how to make chocolate chip cookies as a class lesson. "I recall his hands being so large he had trouble with the small measuring spoons," Marple said.

A veteran of 25 years in St. Ambrose classrooms, Marple is among several longtime faculty members who will retire after spring semester classes conclude.

"Campus was only about half as big as now when I started in 1984," said Linda Brown, PhD, professor and chair of finance, economics and decision science. She has seen overhead projectors give way to an online Blackboard system, had a student become an ultimate fighter in Texas, and has enjoyed keeping in touch with international students over the years.

For English Professor Bea Jacobson, PhD, a 2007 study abroad trip to Ecuador-and its service project to create terraces on a mountain hillside-made a lasting impression.

As a new faculty member in 1986, Professor of English Owen Rogal, PhD, found that small gestures mattered. "As I left Ambrose Hall, Jim Mullins, who taught economics, put his left arm through my right, and walked next to me for a few yards, talking about this and that."

Rogal also remembers a student on the football team reading Moby Dick. "He couldn't make sense of Melville's strange, challenging, utterly beautiful novel but continued reading," Rogal said. "One day in class, the light went on. He raised his arms-as if he'd just scored a touchdown -and said, ‘I get it now; I get it.'

"Who wouldn't love teaching people like this?"

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