Giving BackAug 28th, 2009 | By admin | Category: Advancement
Long-time professor Terry Higgins provides for the future
By Jennifer Telles
Having served almost forty years at Wesley College, Terry Higgins, faculty emeritus and former environmental science professor, knows the importance of giving back to the institution that played such a significant role in his life. While completing his master’s degree at Edinboro University, he received a call from Wesley’s president, Dr. Robert Parker, inviting him to interview for a faculty position at the College. Surprised, since he had not applied for the position, Higgins graciously accepted the invitation, interviewed and agreed to join the faculty in what would become the ideal career opportunity. The native of northwestern Pennsylvania began his career at Wesley in 1961 and served as a faculty member until his retirement in 2000.
Throughout his years of teaching, Higgins collected many fond memories. Serving over 8,000 undergraduates during his tenure, Higgins was always impressed with the quality of individuals that attended Wesley. “Just to see them grow and develop, that’s the most gratifying thing you can witness,” said Higgins. “I had the unique opportunity to teach and react with, and help grow, some of the brightest and best that our nation can produce.”
Higgins considers many of his former colleagues at Wesley to have been essential in nurturing and refining him into who he is today. Senior professors including Louie Wells, Mr. and Mrs. Kilby, Mr. Stewart, Dick Titus and President Parker all had an integral part in mentoring the young newcomer in his first years as a faculty member. Higgins attributes his long stint at the College to these and other professors including Elaine Wright, Sam and Marilyn Johnson, Barry Reber, Jim Wentworth and Ron Starnes who made the Wesley experience so comfortable for him.
Knowing how Wesley so positively influenced his life, Higgins is eager to reciprocate the favor. He stated, “It’s the old biblical quotation — ‘To those who have been given much, much is expected.’” Higgins decided to include Wesley College in his will to aid in securing Wesley’s legacy as a liberal church-related college for years to come.
Higgins has an additional connection to Wesley College in that his three children, Matthew, Rebecca and Kirsten, are all environmental science graduates of the College. Each has continued to build a successful career in the environmental field and has shown appreciation to Wesley through various annual gifts. The Higgins family demonstrates their testament to the Wesley mission by giving back to the College and its programs. They often attend College-sponsored events, including Homecoming. Youngest daughter Kirsten Higgins ’98 is now proudly serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Higgins advised, “Giving is each person’s prerogative. No four year education is perfect, but education — both formal education in the classroom and what one gets as being a member of a college environment — is the one thing in life that cannot be taken from you. One needs to be very thankful for the opportunity for education and sacrifices people made for that education — not only parents and family but everyone involved with the college.”
To learn more about how you can include Wesley College in your will or other ways to give, please visit www.weare.wesley.edu/waystogive W