Charlie Hunter, professor of biology, discusses the class agenda with his students. Hunter first came to SC in 1967 as an undergraduate. (Samantha Gillis/Collegian photographer)

By Lea Shores
Staff reporter

Faculty at Southwestern can become just as overwhelmed with activities as students. Charles Hunter, professor of biology, is proof of this. “Like students, faculty members take on too much and have difficulty saying no. For me, it’s always been a struggle,” he said.

Hunter came to Southwestern in 1967 as an undergraduate. “My mother eventually thought I’d be a music major. I got into a couple of biology courses my first year here and I just loved them. I’ve always been interested in animals and how they are like us and how they are different.”

After graduation, Hunter went to the University of Oregon to get a masters and PhD in biology. A few years later, Hunter returned to the college to temporarily fill a teaching position.

“That first year I had a young lady in a couple of my classes who was a senior. Her name is Lynn Bales and we got married two years after she graduated,” said Hunter. “I thought at that time I’d be here three or four years and I’d go to a bigger school.”

Though he once or twice applied to teach at other schools, several things kept Hunter in Winfield. “I fell in love with so much. It’s the students and the interaction through teaching that’s acted as a magnet,” he said.

His love for biology has inspired many students in their own studies. Jamie Harkness, biology senior, said, “[Hunter] loves to help his students in any way he can. He has made me a better student.”

“I look at myself as someone who tries to open doors for students and makes opportunities available,” said Hunter. “Not all of the students walk through the doors but enough do that it’s been satisfying.”

Hunter’s connection to the University of Oregon has provided opportunities for him to go teach courses during the summer and send students to study in a different environment.

“We used to have a January term and we would take our students all over the place to Florida, Georgia and Oregon. That’s the way you learn biology, to become immersed in it,” said Hunter.

His experiences have given him the tools to be a better teacher in the classroom. “When he is teaching, he goes into depth and uses as many examples as he can,” said Harkness. “He can explain difficult subjects to his students in a way everyone can understand.”

Hunter is just as busy outside the classroom. Even though he never ended up with a degree in music, his talents have not been wasted. Hunter also plays euphonium in the band and sings in the choir at Grace Methodist Church.
The rest of the time is mostly spent outside.

“Lynn and I try to do things together. I live on seven acres north east of the college. I cut my own wood every winter. I raise my own garden in the spring of the years I am here. I love to be outside,” he said.

 Lea Shores is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail her at lea.shores@sckans.edu.