COLLEGE PARK -WEST BOULEVARD
By ANN ELISE TAYLOR
When Melvin George stands at the front of a classroom, he commands it.
In his class on Thursday, May 2, George’s voice, clear and warmly rounded with age, filled the space with energy. The 75-year-old strolled across the length of the classroom and read animatedly from a packet of papers in his hands. Occasionally, he leaned forward on his desk towards the students and peered over his large, silver-rimmed glasses to emphasize a point. When he made a joke, his students erupted into laughter.
Although it was the second to last week of classes at MU, George’s students seemed entertained and engaged — quite a feat for any professor competing against laptops, cell phones and warm weather for students’ attention. But after 52 years of working as an educator, George has learned a few things.
“I think the secret to success is to like students,” George said “If you sincerely like students, it’s pretty easy to show that. I think students respond positively to people who really enjoy them, respect them and understand them. I think that’s the key to it.”
George said his passion for students and learning is what has kept him working in academia since his first regular faculty job as a professor in MU’s mathematics department in 1960, just after he graduated from Princeton with his doctorate degree in mathematics. Since then, George has held a myriad of positions ranging from presidencies to deanships at the University of Nebraska, St. Olaf College, University of Minnesota and MU. Continue reading