Walking across the campus at Sampson Community College, he face is easily recognized — probably because he’s taught the majority of the college’s students throughout his nearly four decades of service.
Paul Wolf, psychology instructor for the college for the last 38 years, was recently honored in a retirement reception.
“I don’t know of any Sampson Community College faculty member more immediately recognizable across our community than Paul,” SCC president Dr. Bill Starling said. “He has taught transfer students, nursing students, and occupational students.”
Wolf, who like Starling has served the college and its students for many years, says many things about the school have changed.
“Things have changed quite a bit since I first got here,” Wolf said. “In my early days there were only two buildings on this campus. Now there are several. The student population has changed and we have more diversity on campus.”
Throughout his 38 years of service, he has seen many students come through the college. Most of them often joke about his long tenure.
“A common question among students is ‘who did you have for psychology?’,” Starling said. “And more often than not, ‘Mr. Wolf’ has been the name that allows students to begin sharing stories. Paul’s time here has allowed him to teach three generations of students in some families.”
The college atmosphere isn’t the only change Wolf made note of during his retirement celebration.
”Your teaching methods have to change to keep up with the times,” Wolf added. “Technology changes and you have to adapt to keep moving forward. This has been a real adventure.”
Wolf has been able to retire for quite a while, but just didn’t feel the timing was right. A few years ago his wife, a former instructor at SCC, retired, and now he just felt it was the right thing to do.
As for the future, coming back to work part time isn’t out of the question. Once he takes the required six-month break from working for the state due to retirement regulations, he says he may want to do something to pass the time.
“There were lots of people, some here still and some not,” he says. “A lot of them worked many years to establish what we now know as Sampson Community College. I hope as we hand off the baton they continue to invest time and effort into the college to make it even better in the future.”
Wolf has contributed a lot to the faculty and atmosphere at the college and Starling and other staff wanted to recognize his dedicated service.
“I don’t know of any faculty member who has contributed more to student life and student activities than Paul,” Starling noted. “A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and a master’s degree graduate of North Carolina State University, he has been a faculty leader and one of the principal custodians of the culture of SCC. Our community and this college has been the recipient of his lifetime of service to students. We wish Paul, Teresa, and their families the very best as he transitions to retirement.”
Lew Gravis, sociology instructor and Wolf’s colleague, says the two became fast friends.
“Paul knows how obsessed I am w neatness and organization,” says Gravis, a 27-year veteran of the college. “I came in to work on my birthday one year and everything in my office had been switched around. Pens had different caps, my computer keyboard was unplugged and everything was out of place. I knew it was him.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.