As a chemistry professor and undergraduate research director for almost 50 years, Dr. Vic Heasley has been instrumental in building an intellectually rigorous science department at PLNU. He has authored or co-authored 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a laboratory textbook, and has received 44 research grants for a total of $1,040,427 since 1964. He still reviews for the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, the Journal of Organic Chemistry and the National Science Foundation, and has been active in major areas of campus and departmental leadership as well.
Dr. Heasley recently reflected on his first teaching experience in the summer of 1963. Just out of his Ph.D. program, he was sitting in the front of the class when the dean of students walked into the room. The dean looked around and wondered aloud when the professor would show up. Reflecting on that moment almost 50 years later, Dr. Heasley joked, “That wouldn’t happen now. …”
Though it has been many years since he was mistaken for a student, Dr. Heasley has retained a young perspective and remained connected with his students. He has often emphasized the necessity of remembering what it is like to be a student. To him, his students are more than just a livelihood: “The students were my major source of enjoyment and fulfillment at PLNU. … Each student meant a new and different relationship. These relationships and friendships kept me going for so many years.”
It has been said, “No man is a failure who has friends.” In this regard, whether in the classroom or the lab, Dr. Heasley is one of the most successful men I have ever known.
I’ve had the pleasure of learning at PLNU under Dr. Sue Atkins for two years now, but thanks to New Zealand, that’s all the time I’ll get with her for now.
As a broadcast journalism major, I never thought I’d get involved in the school newspaper— let alone as an editor. But last spring I discovered in Dr. Atkins’ Intro. to Journalism class that a pen and a notepad brought me just as much joy as a camera and a microphone.
Dr. Atkins taught me the basics of sound journalism. And judging from the scores I received on the first couple of stories I turned in, I needed all the help I could get. Since then, I’ve learned to get SAD when making ethical decisions, and, if you’re not careful, Q&As can become lazy journalism (but I still included one in this issue anyway. Mwa-ha-ha-ha).
In the past two years, I’ve developed a love for writing that I thought impossible for someone whose only failed tests in grade school were in penmanship.
This fall, I, along with a handful of other slightly insane broadcast journalism majors, enrolled in an intensive course producing endless numbers of news packages (OK, really like five or six… but I could’ve sworn it was like 1,000) to hone the necessary skills for our desired field. Dr. Atkins, as well as Dr. Greer, critiqued our work and gave us not-always-so-welcome feedback. She even (gasp!) wouldn’t let me cover sports every time. It’s like she was trying to keep us from limiting ourselves or something.
But when I look back on the improvements my classmates and I made in just a few short months, I have no doubt that we’ll find jobs upon leaving PLNU, even if it’s a job in middle-of-nowhere Missouri— I mean Missour-UH.
Thanks to Dr. Atkins, I’ve expanded my horizons beyond sports and into all sorts of media. Wherever I end up, I’ll owe a large part of it to PLNU’s favorite Missourian-turned-Kiwi.
The impact of Dr. Shellhamer’s retirement extends across more than just the chemistry department; in many ways, the extent of his contributions to PLNU are incalculable. Over the course of Dr. Shellhamer’s 39-year career, he has received 19 research grants totaling more than $800,000. He has written 66 publications for major research journals, two textbook chapters and has acquired one patent. He was a member of the prestigious Executive Committee of the Fluorine Division of the American Chemical Society for three years. In addition to all of this, Dr. Shellhamer has directed PLNU’s acclaimed undergraduate summer research program since it began in 1974.
The true extent of Dr. Shellhamer’s contribution to the university cannot be explained by grant dollars and prestigious publications. His legacy is something that is felt by anyone who has studied science at PLNU. Dr. Shellhamer inspires students and colleagues alike with his tireless enthusiasm and selfless dedication. Dr. Shellhamer exudes such a dynamic presence on those he interacts with that he has become a living legend to his students.
If you ask one of his students to describe him, you will be regaled with tale after tale: “He used to fly his plane to work,” or, “He burned down the Santa Monica post office in grad school,” or maybe something a little more cryptic like, “You have to ask him about the Russians and the toxic artificial blood.”
Dr. Shellhamer’s time at PLNU has shaped departments and lives. His career is an almost ineffable mix of tireless effort, self-sacrifice and legend. His career at PLNU is something that can be told only by the stories he inspires and be shown only by the lives he has changed.
by victoria king
senior in sociology
My first course with Dr. Barrows, Introduction to Sociology, was a window into the world of critically analyzing and studying the structures and norms that exist in our society. I loved the class for that… and the yummy homemade scones and snacks he would bring in for us.
Even in a large general education class, he learned everyone’s name quickly. I soon learned he had genuine interest in his students.
During his time at PLNU, Barrows viewed students as adults, capable of being challenged by class topics relevant to people, society and current issues affecting our world. He always created time for students to share personal experiences, and was willing to learn something from them in return.
In times of intense discussion, Barrows retained a “poker face” that wouldn’t give anyone the slightest idea about what he thought, leaving us to come about our own conclusions. Yet, even with his serious nature, I’d often hear his chuckle in the midst of vibrant conversations in class.
Barrows’ classes inspired me to discover a part in society in which I could be passionately involved. During after-class conversations about what I wanted to do later in life, Barrows would always reply with something like, “You want to do something that makes your heart go pitter-patter. In other words, you want to do something you love.” A true encourager and academic model, Barrows has been an inspiration to me and numerous others.
The sociology department will be losing a gem, but it has been extremely honored to have Barrows on staff. His classes and words have always had a lasting impression on me. They kept me contemplating after I stepped out of the classroom, and still do today.