Legacy of learning: saying goodbye to Terry Simpson

Dr. Terry Simpson, who will retire at the end of the school year, delivered a “Last
Lecture” on April 12. – Photograph courtesy of Maryville College Communications

Maryville College recently celebrated the retirement of one of its most valued staff members.

Dr. Terry Simpson, Director of Teacher Education and Professor of Secondary Education, is leaving the College after 27 years of learnedly inspiring students and faculty alike. While surely looking forward to a relaxing retirement of well-deserved rest, the shrewd professor refused to leave his post without giving one last lecture. ————

This lecture, taking place during his very own farewell ceremony on Thursday, April 12, covered topics ranging from how to deal with an angry bull to gun control in the United States. It addressed the significance of childhood, the importance of professionalism, the joys of gardening, the achievement of religious freedom, but most importantly, it addressed the values of learning and education.

To Simpson, an education is not something you do just to get a job or climb the professional ladder, it’s a lifelong striving towards true knowledge and a call to help others. According to his lecture, “every child has potential” and sometimes “you have to believe in the child before they can believe in you.”

A teacher’s job is not merely to teach course material but to inspire and believe in their students which in turn builds self-esteem and establishes self-worth. Simpson

Dr. Terry Simpson, Director of Teacher Education and Professor of Secondary Education embraced Martha Hess, an MC
alum who served as the school’s registrar for 35 years. – Photograph courtesy of Maryville College Communications

has performed this job to the fullest and is loved deeply by his students and colleagues for possessing a truly caring heart.

According to Sierra Russell, current senior in the Early Childhood Education with Teacher Licensure division, Simpson is, “the heart and soul of the education program.”

“It would not be what it is today without his leadership, wisdom and love of children,” she said.

Simpson is led not only by his love of children and education but also his love of God. He is a strong Christian and a man of faith even though he constantly referred to himself as a “sinner” during the lecture. Furthermore, while the man is strongly a follower of Christ, he still believes in religious freedom, calling it “undeniably important.” The professor even went to the Middle-East and lectured there while becoming close friends with Islamic community and government leaders. Apparently, faith differences were cast aside as they worked toward the common goal of accessible education.

Maryville College will undeniably miss this wise man of nuance, joy, charm and educated brilliance. Though his last lecture already took place, retirement will not stop Simpson’s unwavering devotion to education and learning. To him, it’s just too important.

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