Dr. Herstine is now Professor Emeritus at University of North Carolina Wilmington.
I began my career in academia believing my purpose was to serve as a teacher and
encourager of students. I ended my career finding that students could encourage me as much
or more than I encouraged them.
I retired on June 30, 2018 after teaching almost 40 years. I taught my first college class
at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall 1978. I taught my last class as a tenured professor at UNC
Wilmington during the 2018 summer session. I have taught more than 5,000 students at 3
different universities in over 180 classes. But that does not begin to tell the whole story of my
My journey began with me believing I had the answers to life’s questions and the
responsibility to teach those answers to the students in my classes. My Christian background
had given me a deep sense of compassion for others. I wanted to live in such a way as to lift the
hearts and souls of young, impressionable college students and help them through life’s
challenges, while strengthening their walk with Christ. What I discovered was that I needed the
example of Christ’s compassion, uplifting and strengthening just as much as the students.
I always let my students know I was a Christian and I was there to assist them in any way
I could. Anytime I discovered a student struggling with an issue, I offered that student my
thoughts and prayers and an opportunity to talk if they so desired. But over the years, more
and more students were encouraging, counseling, and praying for me! I may have been helping
one at a time, but MANY were always coming forward to help me.
Over the years anytime I struggled, it was the students who came to my assistance with
encouragement. They showed me a strength and understanding that always put my feet back
onto the proper path and lifted me up. They reminded me God is always there and always
loves me and that I may not know God’s mind when I am experiencing a struggle, but He does
have a purpose and will never let me down!
The example of Christ’s compassion was never more clearly presented to me than in
2014 when my daughter-in-law discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer and was given 18
months to live. We were devastated and could not understand why this was happening to a 35-
year-old mother of 2 young boys. What happened then was nothing short of a miracle. My
daughter-in-law started a vigorous program of chemotherapy. Several of my students formed a
prayer chain to pray daily for my daughter-in-law and our family. Upon the completion of the
chemotherapy the doctors reported all signs of the cancer were gone and she is fully recovered
and hopefully will be declared cancer free in another 7 months. I believe God heard the prayers
of the students!
I encourage all teachers to openly acknowledge in the classroom they are Christians and
to offer yourselves to your students. Then wait and experience the wonderful joys and
blessings your students will bring into your life as they teach and encourage you!
The greatest teacher is failure!
Friends describe me
Enthusiasist, detail oriented, reliable, compassionate and youthful
Kayaking, hiking, camping and sports
Fantasy dinner guests
Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa and my father
Best advice I ever received
Think about what you can live with and what you can die without
My worst subject in school
If I weren't a professor, I would
Lincoln, Team of Rivals and the Bible
Big, Pete's Dragon and The Quiet Man
Nobody knows I
I can't think of anything that nobody knows about me
My latest accomplishment
I retired on June 30, 2018
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