Pride in Personalization
From the moment of its founding, Wittenberg University has insisted on providing a personalized education, one defined by close faculty-student interaction, and one that has continued now for more than 165 years.
But simply saying that Wittenberg offers such relationship-building doesn’t adequately convey its powerful role in students’ lives. It doesn’t show that students often have their professors’ cell phone numbers at their fingertips. It doesn’t reveal how far Wittenberg faculty are willing to go to help a student understand a concept. It doesn’t show the countless conversations over coffee between faculty and students. Such examples are only the beginning of the engagement the happens at Wittenberg – engagement that needs to be seen and experienced as Eric Rusnak knows firsthand.
One Alumnus’ Story
A partner in the Washington, D.C., law office of K&L Gates, Eric Rusnak ’00, the 2012 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award-Winner, found not just a caring faculty at Wittenberg; he found friends for life. Here is his story.
When I was deciding among colleges as a high school senior, I got a call from the late Lowell Stockstill, who would become my advisor in the business department. He gave me his home telephone number and told me to call him with any questions I had about Wittenberg.
It was then that I knew Wittenberg was the place for me.
Lowell’s personal touch is exemplary of the Wittenberg experience. The friends and professors I met, and the opportunities I had at Wittenberg were all key in shaping the values and work ethic that define me today.
As a member of the Wittenberg Alumni Board, I call prospective students to encourage them to accept their offers to Wittenberg. In this competitive education environment, students want to know,
“Why Wittenberg?” Here’s what I tell them:
- The people at Wittenberg can provide you with opportunities that you won’t find at other schools.
- At Wittenberg you learn that relationships are critical and that hard work and personal accountability matters.
- And, if you work hard and build strong relationships, you will have endless opportunities.
Prospective students often ask me to give it to them straight: Will they really get to know their professors personally at Wittenberg?
The answer is yes, and I share with them my friendship with Jerry Pankhurst.
Jerry and I met when he taught a class in the sociology department on Y2K. We were convinced the world was ending.
Luckily, it did not, and today, Jerry and his wife, Sharon, are like my family.
We spend holidays together, and they visit for my daughter’s birthdays. And I’m the only person awake at 3 a.m. when Jerry wants to Skype someone.
No one is harder working than Jerry. Since 1984, Jerry drives every day to Wittenberg from Columbus. He doesn’t come all that way for fame or for fortune. He does it for us – his students.
Jerry is one of many Wittenberg professors that have dedicated their career to providing students like me with every opportunity to become anything I wanted. All of my experiences and my accomplishments are thanks to them.