Associate Dean Paul Orser (’69) shared his life lessons during his Last Lecture talk on April 25th. He took some time last week to sit down with me and share his thoughts and opinions on higher education, what it was like to be married as a college junior, and why we won’t see him texting anytime soon.
When Dr. Paul Orser’s parents dropped him off as a brand spankin’ new freshman at Wake Forest College (yes, college!) in 1965, it was the last time he would see them on campus until commencement. Admittedly, he doesn’t remember much of commencement, but there are pictures to prove that they were in attendance.
Throughout those four years as a Wake undergrad, he would pursue a passion for biology, get to know other students and faculty that would become close friends and mentors, become a Sig Ep, and ultimately develop a passion for higher education that would draw him back to Wake Forest University years later.
Dr. Orser spent three of his four years as a Wake undergrad living in Poteat, at a time when there was one payphone in the dorm (no iPhones, folks), no Thinkpads, no Benson or Olin, and a completely different ZSR façade.
He describes the Wake Forest of the 60’s as a place where people always greeted one another in passing.
“If somebody said ‘hey,’ they were from the south. If somebody said ‘hi,’ they were from the north,” he says. “And yet, everybody greeted everybody, because it was a way of saying, ‘I might not know you, but welcome to our community.’”
So how have things changed in 2012?
“I almost ran over a student texting while I was driving here today,” he remarks.