By Hannah Nicolay – Professor Don Huntington. When you ask students who Professor Huntington is you get responses of , “He’s dope,” “Oh I love him,” “He’s the guy that gets up super early and has those 7:45 a.m. classes,” “He’s very knowledgeable in his field.” For those of you who may not know, Professor Don Huntington is the Executive in Residence at William Jewell College.
After speaking with some of his colleagues, I found out that this position was created ten years ago with him in mind. Retired professor, Liz Hoyt, shared with me how Don came to be a part of the William Jewell family. Professor Hoyt had Don come to Jewell to give a guest lecture now and then and also to judge her BUS 406 class competitions. Professor Hoyt said, “I noticed how well he worked with my students… and after Jewell found itself suddenly in need of someone who could teach marketing and management… Don was persuaded to give academia a try.” And what a great thing Don was persuaded to come to Jewell and share all of his knowledge with the students. He has impacted many students lives over the years, mine included.
One of Don’s longtime friends, Mike Goff, who worked with Don at Kansas City ad agency Valentine Radford, said, “Don is one of those genuine guys that loves to talk, which is why teaching was probably a great outlet for him.” Don may be a talker to his friends, but to his students, he is a great and knowledgeable professor. I think all the students would agree with Mike’s comment about Don being a genuine person. As a student who has worked closely with Don over my four years at William Jewell, I know this is a statement I can agree with.
During his ten years at WJC Professor Huntington has taught Principles of Management, Business Theory and Practice, Advanced Consulting, and Business Publications. Professor Huntington is also the faculty advisor for and publisher of Jewell Business Today, the quarterly publication of the Department of Business and Leadership which Don initiated in 2011. I have had the privilege of working with Professor Huntington all four years of my Jewell career. I have had him as a professor and as a mentor. I, along with Madison Giles, worked as the co-managing editors of Jewell Business Today for three years. We worked closely with Professor Huntington to make sure that each edition of Jewell Business Today was better than the last one. I hope that many students in the future get to work with Professor Huntington to continue to better Jewell Business Today as well as the business department as a whole.
Some of Don’s past students shared with me how he impacted their life. Tom and Jalene Farinacci were some of Professor Huntington’s first students at William Jewell College. They transferred to Jewell halfway through their sophomore year, which just so happened to be when Don started teaching at Jewell. They said that Professor Huntington “amazed them with his ability to bring the practical and ‘real-life’ application of lessons to the forefront of the discussion.”
Don has many connections within the Kansas City community and would often bring in guest speakers to further help students understand insights into the field and future career paths. His guest lecture initiative was formalized in 2013 when he started the BizTime Coffee and Speaker series on Monday mornings during the fall and spring semesters. Tom and Jalene made sure to tell me that Professor Huntington “had a tremendous and lasting impact on not only their time at Jewell but also the business professionals and people they are today.”
For me, as I said, Don was a professor and a mentor during my years at William Jewell. He pushed me in his classes to do better and be better. He expected the most out of his students, and if you did not perform up to his standards, he let you know. I remember my first class with Don was, of course, a 7:45 class, so most people were half-asleep and not paying attention and one day Don said, “That is it. I expect more from you all. I expect you to be present in all you do because you will not always be in a classroom. When you begin your career, you may be in a meeting at 7:45 and you have to show up and be prepared.” We owed him the same respect that we would show anyone else – even at daybreak.
As a mentor, he taught me how to connect with other people and form those genuine relationships with people that are in your network. He showed me how to be successful in not only the business field but also whatever comes after college. I am so appreciative of Professor Don Huntington and all that he has done for me. To quote Professor Hoyt one last time, “His impact on the students and faculty alike has been immeasurable.”
The 2018 spring semester was Don’s last in the classroom on campus. He will now focus on leading online courses from “somewhere out there”.