One of my fondest memories of George Fox was being slapped by a professor. Surprised? Even the thought of a professor slapping a student would make the most liberal human resources professional cringe. But it happened.
Let me preface by saying I am exaggerating a touch. It was more like a quick pat – an unceremonious, out-of-nowhere, free-hand pop to the face courtesy of Professor Ed Higgins in the middle of an animated in-class lecture. Unluckily for me that particular day, I was sitting in the front row of his Literature 420 class in the spring of 1994. I was gutting out the last month of my senior year transfixed by his lecture on passionate writing. “Sometimes writing must be shocking, a jolt to a reader’s consciousness!” he said as he walked over and laid one on me. The class fell silent for what seemed like forever. Then he touched my shoulder, smiled and continued. I’d never thought of literature as shock treatment. But it made for one dramatic speech. We all laughed about it afterwards. He asked me if I was OK. I said, “My face is fine, but is your hand sore?”
Reading of Professor Higgins semi-retirement in the spring 2011 edition of The George Fox Journal made me think about my brief time with him. He was an unforgettable professor. He made the most mundane topics colorful, encouraged lively discussion, and generated plenty of post-class conversation. His passion for writing was contagious. And I was no English major. Nor am I a natural writer. I had to work hard. But he was patient and thoughtful, always positive and encouraging. I recall being humbled by his giving nature. How do I know he was a good teacher? I still remember his lectures today. I doubt if he remembers the incident after 40 years of teaching. But I’ll never forget it.
I tell this story because I want to encourage all alumni to reconnect with someone at George Fox who inspired you. It could be anyone: professor, employee or fellow student. Or go visit your favorite department. Volunteer at a seminar. Organize an alumni get-together. Support an athletic team. Join a GFU social networking group. Rekindle an old friendship or spark a new one. Chat with a favorite coach. Volunteer. Call an alumni board member and get involved. You’ll have more fun than a box full of puppies.
George Fox has something for all alumni regardless of when or where graduated. Make time for your alma mater. Reminisce and reconnect.
Jamie is a former alumni board member, a 1994 GFU graduate of business marketing and has a master’s degree from Gonzaga in organizational leadership with a health care concentration. Currently he manages the office of physician and faculty recruiting at Wake Forest University Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.