After more than four decades in the classroom, English professor Ed Higgins is retiring. Sort of. He’ll still teach occasionally, and he’ll devote more time to farming with his wife, writing poetry, selling his harvest at farmers’ markets and driving his restored 1935 Ford truck (named Murphy) in local parades . . . Maybe “retiring” is the wrong word.
Higgins began his career at George Fox in 1971 as an interim assistant professor. Along the way, he’s taught classes on poetry, the modern novel, a series on world literature, science fiction and many more. He’s been here long enough to teach the grandchildren of some of his first students, and one of his former students – Melanie Mock – is now the English department chair.
“Let’s face it – science can be boring,” says professor Dwight Kimberly, a 1967 George Fox graduate. “What makes it all so interesting is the students. I look at their fresh faces and think, ‘How can I unlock that puzzle? How can I get the most out of you?’”
Kimberly – a fixture in the university’s biology department since the mid-1980s and a former Oregon Professor of the Year (2000) – is retiring this spring and says what he’ll miss most are “those sidewalk conversations with students – the ones where you really get to know who they are.”
Kimberly’s love of learning stems from his conviction that study is a form of worship. “It’s a spiritual matter,” he says. “It’s part of the quest of finding out what God will have you do with your life.”
As for his own life, Kimberly plans to spend more time with his wife of 44 years, Patti, whom he met in Pennington Hall as a student in 1963. He may even go back to school. “I’ve been thinking about going to seminary,” he says. “I may be 66, but I’ve still got plenty to learn.”
Howard Macy has always seen teaching as a service to the church, which is one of the major reasons he’s enjoyed the last 21 years at George Fox.
“Part of what we do here is to raise up people who will serve as leaders in the church,” he said.
Macy, professor of religion and biblical studies, became a faculty member here in the summer of 1990. As an alumnus of George Fox (G66), Macy had served as a pastor and professor elsewhere, but he harbored a desire to return to his alma mater. Macy said his time at George Fox has been “wonderful” thanks to his fellow professors and steady stream of eager, interested students.
“It’s an exciting thing to do, to help people see new things,” he said. “I help people be in a place where God can shape them. It ought to be transformative.”
After he retires this spring, Macy plans to focus on a long list of book ideas and writing projects.