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‘The student’s professor’ retiring from MNU

By Alex Schmitt
Mar 28, 2017

Now, Dr. Mike Gough is a professor of business administration and is called “the student’s professor” according to Dr. Mark Hamilton, dean of humanities and professor of communication.

“He cares for students, loves students, follows up with students, creates wonderful interpersonal relationships with students, like we would all like to,” Hamilton said. “He really is the gold standard for what any university would want for their faculty to be with students.”

Called the “gold standard” by Dr. Mark Hamilton, Dr. Mike Gough is retiring after 33 years at MNU. Over his many years here, he leaves with a legacy of being the student’s professor. Photo by Chace Owen.Called the “gold standard” by Dr. Mark Hamilton, Dr. Mike Gough is retiring after 33 years at MNU. Over his many years here, he leaves with a legacy of being the student’s professor. Photo by Chace Owen.

However, at the end of the spring 2017 semester, “the gold standard” will be retiring. Gough said he will still be involved at MNU and will be volunteering at College Church, hospitals and hospice care facilities.

“I may teach a class next year. That may be a possibility,” Gough said. “I will still come to the games, still eat in the cafeteria, so I’ll still get one good meal a day.”

While Gough said he enjoyed his time at MNU, not every aspect was pleasant. He worked in Student Development in 1992, and he said that he hated his time 

“I thought I would enjoy it because I enjoy students so much,” Gough said. “I thought it would be a different way of interacting with students - in the dorms and different kinds of activities. Sad as this is, one of my dilemmas [was that] I had to be the punisher, and I wasn’t good at that. I couldn’t eat, sleep; I was miserable.”

Several current MNU professors were Gough’s students during their time at MNU. Larry Campbell, of the MNU M.B.A. program; Jamie Myrtle, dean of the school of business; and Lisa Wallentine, associate professor of business.

Wallentine said she remembered a time when she was dating Jerry Wallentine, who eventually became her husband, and Gough treated them to dinner.

“[We] were kind of in a rocky spot in our relationship, so Mike took us out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant,” Wallentine said. “We were just eating and talking through things, and then when I opened up my fortune cookie and it said, ‘You don’t need to look elsewhere, happiness is right next to you.’ So, we often say Mike Gough is the reason we ended up getting married.”

Mike Gough said he remembered the dinner and what the fortune cookie had said.

“I told them we can’t take this as a word from the Lord,” Gough said.

The Wallentines were not the only match made by Gough during his time. Gough was also the catalyst for the first date between Chaplain Brady Braatz and his wife.

“Mike knew both my wife and I,” Braatz said. “He had gone to college with her parents and I got to know Mike because I was in the business department when I was a student. My wife, I had asked her on a date a bunch of times, and she had said no a bunch of times, and then, in the middle of our sophomore year, she was ready to go on a date. I said, ‘Well you need to ask me. I’ve asked.’ She said, ‘We’re never gonna go then, because I’m never gonna ask.’ It was after chapel, we’re standing in the aisle, and Mike happened to be standing relatively close by.”

Gough said that he remembered that night well.

“One night after church they were kind of toying with each other about who was gonna ask who out, so I gave them $20 and said, ‘Go get a pizza.’ So, they got married.”

Wallentine spoke highly of Gough as a person as she talked about the things he has done throughout his time at MNU.

“He the nicest person you will ever know - the kindest, most generous, warm-hearted, gentle spirit.” Wallentine said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him. He is a MidAmerican icon. It will be a huge, gaping loss to this institution when Mike is not here. I don’t think we can quantify the value that he has brought to the university. He is definitely a legacy employee, somebody who is the DNA of who MNU wants to be.”

Alex Schmitt

- More by this author

Alex Schmitt is a History at MidAmerica Nazarene University, and he is also the news editor for The Trailblazer.

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