Who inspired you?

With graduation over, a whole new crop of JMU graduates is headed out into the world.  Right now, they are focused on their futures.  Soon, though  — very soon — they’ll begin to realize how much JMU changed their lives, and for many that change will focus on the influence of a specific professor.  Next to our parents, teachers are probably the most influential people we meet in our lives.  Who at JMU changed your life?  We’d love to know.

Last week, JMU alumnus Darian Parker (’01, ’03M) blogged about his own personal version of one of JMU’s longest-running and highly lauded Madison magazine features, Professors You Love.  Darian, a kinesiology

The campus where professors change lives. (JMU photography services)

grad who is carving out a successful career in fitness and wellness, looks back at his tenure as an undergraduate and  graduate student at JMU.  The professors he talks about changed his life, and what Darian has to say is well worth reading.  Many of you will recognize names like Williams, Ham, Saunders, Slattery, Flohr and McMillin.  Here’s part of what Darian had to say:

Who Inspired You?

I got up this morning with nothing in mind, but to make some cinnamon rolls for my wife, drink some coffee and head off to church. After all of those things were done I was home looking through some junk mail and saw the new issue of Madison sitting on my kitchen counter top. Madison is the official magazine of my alma mater James Madison University. A university that I am so deeply proud and grateful to have graduated from with my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Kinesiology. I’m sure like many former and current JMU Dukes, they read the magazine with a great sense of pride and loyalty to such a wonderful university. This is a university where students come first and professors truly foster meaningful mentor-ships with students so they can go out into the world to foster meaningful lives for themselves and others. This leads me to what really struck me about this particular issue of Madison. In this issue I was struck by the emphasis on headline that read…”Professors You Love.”

As soon as I read that I was taken back to my time at JMU. I think I can honestly say that I truly loved all of the professors who I had classes with in the Kinesiology Department at JMU. Dr. Goldberg was my first introduction into the department and his kind personality immediately made me feel comfortable there. He still makes me feel comfortable whenever I visit JMU today. I also loved talking to Joyce Plymale who was the first person you saw when you went to request a meeting with Dr. Goldberger. She was always so kind and caring.  Dr. Keller helped me understand motivational techniques and theories and how to integrate them into everyday life. She also challenged us to teach the material to each other to make it mean something more than what was in a book. Dr. Saunders instilled in me a love for the physiology of the human body and everyday exercise in some way, shape or form. I also remember how he had us volunteer our time at a nursing home in the town next to Harrisonburg, called Bridgewater. It was for a class called Exercise and the Older Adult. My volunteer experience in that nursing home helped me fall in love with serving others. Dr. Ham provided me with knowledge of recreational facility development and management. He also provided me with confidence when asking me to write a graduation poem for his wife.  Dr. Williams pushed me to become a better teacher by pouring into me the principles of curriculum development and trusting my abilities.  Dr. Williams also was a professor who comforted me tremendously when 9/11 happened and I didn’t know if my Dad was dead or alive in the Pentagon.  Dr. Slattery’s philosophy course gave me new perspective on how I approached the things I ought or ought not to do. Her courage through health issues also gave me strength to push on during tough times during my collegiate studies…..

To read the rest of Darian’s excellent post, go to his blog:   http://doctordarian.blogspot.com/2010/05/who-inspired-you.html

And here’s the link to JMU’s Professors you love website: http://www.jmu.edu/professorsyoulove/

Now it’s your turn! Who inspired you?  What professor changed your life?  We’d like to know!

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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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