Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO’s retired teachers find excitement during back-to-school season

Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Sarah Holt enjoys most of her days relaxing on her porch and watching a family of deer graze around the woods near her home.
Photo by Molly Phegley

The beginning of the semester is a busy time for both students and teachers. With the excitement and anxieties of meeting new people, writing syllabi and organizing a semester’s worth of content, the end of summer is full of emotions for many teachers. But for SEMO’s retired teachers, these stressors are a memory of the past.

Sarah Holt retired from SEMO’s Healthcare Administration program in 2019, but that didn’t stop her from continuing to be a busy bee.

“I have time in my life to do many of the things I couldn’t do before,” Holt said. “I am attending group discussions at the First Presbyterian Church on racial issues. I’m also serving as chair for the Kellerman Foundation For Historic Preservation.”

Although Holt enjoys staying just as busy as she was pre-retirement, some teachers enjoy a more relaxed approach to retirement.

Allen Gathman and Peggy Hill plan their next hiking and bird watching trip. They have found a community of friends through other retired teachers.
Photo by Molly Phegley

Retired biology professor Allen Gathman and retired chemistry and physics professor Peggy Hill have been enjoying travel and outdoor adventures during their retirement. Gathman and Hill recently took a trip to Portugal with their spouses, and often go on hikes together to birdwatch.

Retirement allows for many people to pick up old and new hobbies they didn’t have time for previously.

“My wife plays the hammer dulcimer and convinced me to play the mountain dulcimer while at a dulcimer festival,” Gathman said. “Lately, I’ve been arranging jazz standards for mountain dulcimer, which is kind of an odd thing to do, but really fun.”

Hill couldn’t get enough of what she enjoyed doing for a living for so many years, and has continued to pursue her interests in physics.

“I have taken on the role of student just for fun. I am now currently enrolled under audit status as a non-degree seeking student taking a physics class from the guy they hired to replace me,” Hill said.

Although SEMO’s retired teachers are no longer approaching the semester the same way they used to, they are still feeling the excitement of this busy time of year.