A Milestone in the Classroom


Courtney Hrkac

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A Milestone in the Classroom

Winters in North Dakota can be brutal, no doubt about it. Yet, as everyone on the UND campus knows, the best times to be on campus bracket the winter season. Crisp fall days, warm spring afternoons—it is difficult to say which is better.

This fall marked Gordon Iseminger's 100th semester as a college professor in the Department of History at UND. At 79 years old, Iseminger offers students lessons that go beyond the classroom. However, being a professor, in fact going to school, wasn't always his plan.

"I never intended to be a teacher. My only goal in life was to be a farmer," says Isemninger. As a young man, Iseminger helped his father on their farm before and after fulfilling his duty in the service.

According to Iseminger, the major reason he went on to school was because he had a GI Bill and he didn't want to let it go to waste. This was a big step for Iseminger as he was the first in his family to attend college.

Reflecting on half a century as a professor, Iseminger does not talk about achievements or awards (of which he has many), but of the students that have left an impression.

For Iseminger, the greatest gratification doesn't come in the classroom, but what can happen outside of it.

"I don't get satisfaction from grading papers and giving F's and that sort of thing, but if I can help young people I get a lot of satisfaction from that," says Iseminger.

"When I can see a young person who might be the first one in his community who has ever gone to college and lost and uncertain and I can see that young person develop into a responsible adult, that's satisfying."

He wants to help people the same way he was helped as a young man.

"I had no faith in myself. I went to college, I wasn't even sure I was going to finish, but if I finished I was going to go back to farming. And this advisor said why don't you try graduate school. I would never have thought about that."

Iseminger says he is not sure that he is paying back what anyone has done for him, but he models himself after those who led him to where he is today.

"I want to leave the world better when I leave it than it was when I got into it. If you can ever help somebody, do it. However you can help them, do it."

Courtney Hrkac

Student Editor, UND Marketing Group

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