WWU’s Julian Hertzog: a unique personality

By Leigh Rice ’14

Whether he is judging diving when he
knows nothing about it, stopping horse shows for bathroom breaks, or training
pigs, Julian Hertzog, professor of
psychology at William Woods University, has always been one to give a crowd a good show.

Known for his quirky laugh and his boisterous ways, Hertzog
is the teacher you can hear a floor or two below where he is teaching. He has
come to be loved by his students for the last 36 years
for his energetic, optimistic personality that keep
students on their toes,
waiting for the next lesson.
 
Hertzog has been rewarded through the years for his
dedication to teaching. Recently he received the Dads’ Association-Louis
D. Beaumont Distinguished Professor Award
for Excellence in Teaching, an
award he also won in 1989. In 1996 he
received the Governor’s Award
for Excellence in Teaching.
 
“I’m fortunate to have a job where you look forward to
coming to work every day because with each class you have
a different group
personality,” he said.
 
Hertzog came to WWU in 1976 when he
was hired on as the
Westminster and William Woods counselor. Planning to only
stay in Missouri for two
years before heading back to his home state of Florida, he
changed his mind when he met his wife, Colleen Harper Hertzog. Now a retired
special education teacher, she often assists with the equestrian program at
WWU.
 
“One of the main reasons we stayed was because my
daughter and wife could ride horses whenever they wanted to. I was only a counselor for a short time
before I became a teacher. I don’t think I was very good at it because I like to talk too
much,” Hertzog said.
 
“I enjoy teaching because I think
I’m good at it. I
enjoy helping and I enjoy being with people and being
involved in their lives.”                                                                
He added, “There is a daily
reward for teaching and that is when you
know your students have learned something or when they have taken what they learned
in class and
applied it to their everyday life.
The little successes matter and the biggest enjoyment comes when you see your
students go out and live a happy life. You just kind of feel like you were
part of that process.”
 
One of his favorite moments at The Woods was when he trained
pigs for a psychology experiment and sent them through the graduation ceremony.
That made the national news in 1983.
 
He also has fond memories of when his office was
located in the art
department.
 
“When I got to hang out in the art
department, it kind of fed my wild side. When I first started at the Woods, it
was a very conservative school and I was
a professor who insisted on
going by my first name and was known for breaking away from the norm,” he said.
 
Living a bit on the wild
side has always been what makes Julian Hertzog. When a judge was
missing during a diving
competition at WWU, he was asked to fill in. With no
previous experience, Hertzog decided his best bet was to look at the other two
judges’ scores and pick a number in between. 
 
Asked to judge another
competition””this time a horse show, he paused the competition, stood up from
his seat and casually walked to the bathroom.
 
Hertzog often enjoys reflecting on his experiences from college at the
University of Florida, where
he received all three of his degrees. An avid Gators fan, he can be seen
wearing blue and orange whenever his beloved team plays. His office and his
car are decorated with Florida memorabilia.
 
Still driving the 1964 Mustang he drove
in college, he
finds passion in a lifetime of
learning.
 
“If I could have, I would have been in college forever.
There was always
some course I wanted to take and I loved being a grad student. I lived with the
maintenance man during grad school so I
didn’t have to pay rent. All I had to do was pay for the phone bill.”
 
Hertzog advises his students to take life like you’ll
never reach tomorrow.
 
“Don’t push the river. It flows
by itself. Do everything you always wanted to do. Don’t put off anything. Don’t
wish you would have, and
don’t rush things. Enjoy being young.”