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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Checking off my to-do list: know my professors

Professors+pose+on+stairs+of+Old+Main+after+this+year%E2%80%99s+opening+convocation.
Professors pose on stairs of Old Main after this year’s opening convocation.

By: Katie Sanders, Editor-in-Chief

The first thing on my to-do list for the year was to get to know my professors. I have found that the more I can relate to my professors on a personal level, the more I get out of my experience in the classroom. Professors are, after all, people just like we (students) are. Like the kindergartener who is astonished to see his or her teacher in the grocery store for the first time, we college students need our bubbles to be burst. Professors are not merely authoritative figures who stand at the front of a classroom, although they do deserve our respect. While it may seem like they sleep in Old Main, they do have families they go home to and lives outside of teaching. In an effort to know more about who my professors really are, I had a brief interview with all three of them.

*Because I am an upper-classman in my major, some of my classes are taught by the same professor. This is why I only have three professors in total this semester.

Professor Linda Powers is known to students across campus as the mind behind English 388, or pubic speaking. She came to Wofford from Miami, FL where she attended college, met her husband and worked as a journalist for the Miami News.

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“I like Spartanburg but it’s taken a pretty long time to get to like it,” she says. “It’s slow to change, but now it is changing and becoming more modern. I like what is available here, like the regional healthcare system and the six or seven colleges available.”

Being a native of Chicago, she also likes the climate in South Carolina. A fond memory she cherishes is traveling with her college choir to sing for troops overseas, and her pet peeve is students missing the first day of class.

“I have discovered this year, though, that the system lets you miss the first day of class, because it says you get that first week to add or drop. So I need to just live with it.”

Powers has been an elected official on the city council as well as the Water and Sewer Commissioner for 25 years, although she recently retired from her role as a politician. She will also retire from teaching at the end of this academic year. A goal on her own personal to-do list is to make a smooth transition into the next chapter of her life.

“My goal for this year is to figure out what in the world I’m going to do when I’m done teaching. When you retire, you have a lot of time on your hands.”

Dr. Dan “the man” Mathewson comes to Wofford from Toronto, Canada. He is a professor of religion and also a connoisseur of Bourbon. He came to the U.S. for college, where he attended Messiah College in Pennsylvania, and later Duke Divinity School for his master’s degree and Emory University for his doctorate.

A fond memory Mathewson has from his undergrad experience is the relationship he developed with his own religion professor, Jay McDermond, who he still considers a dear friend. During his last year of college, Mathewson went to McDermond’s office everyday and they would talk for up to an hour. “Now that I am a professor, I understands how much of a time commitment that was for him,” he says.

Mathewson is most famous for letting his students call him by his first name and for his tradition of ‘Terrific Tuesdays’ and ‘Terrible Thursdays,’ wherein the students in his classes on those days are submitted to compulsory optimism and pessimism. When asked about his pet peeves, he had to get back to me in an email, which included 16: Disney movies, people who drive slow in the passing lane, the phrase “At the end of the day,” appliances that beep incessantly, cheap beer, that he has to put “ice” before “hockey” for people here to know what he is talking about in America, weddings, the UNC Tar Heels, crappy American donut chains (in other words, all American donut chains), super hero movies, TSA security checks, grass, country music (the top-20 stuff, not the classic stuff), “A Prairie Home Companion,” pop up video ads on websites and many summer Olympics events (e.g., steeplechase, speed walking, all horse events, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized anything, all swimming strokes aside from freestyle).

Dan’s goal on his to-do list this year is to finish his first marathon in November, which he has been training for since the spring.

Dr. A.K. Anderson, also a professor of religion, says that his pet peeve is mint ice cream that is green, because the mint flavor is not naturally green. “It doesn’t have to be. It’s not like it has to be green to taste like mint,” he complains. However, his favorite ice cream flavor isn’t mint, it’s vanilla.

Anderson is originally from Jonesborough, TN. He is an alumna of Wofford himself, having graduated in 1990 as a religion major. He went to graduate school at Yale Divinity and to Berkeley for his doctorate before eventually finding his way back to Wofford.

A fond memory he holds from Wofford is the faculty trip he attended to Shanghai, China. He enjoyed the role reversal of getting to be a student for the week. “I remember fondly the fun we all had, but also being exposed to this totally new part of the world, to me,” he says.

Anderson’s goal for the school year is to find a good hire for the open space in the religion department. He also wants the internship program for interim to go well, since he is now in charge of that.

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