Dr. Warfield Teague, Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has been a member of the Hendrix faculty since 1970.
What’s next for you?
I have two grandchildren and family in Missouri and Delaware. I plan on travelling to see them with my wife and dogs. Other than that, fishing and golf. I’ll be working part time, two weeks a month, as a consultant for the Office of Education at NASA in D.C. I’ll run the university research grants program.
Describe the most memorable moment of your time at Hendrix?
When I was in college, I was invited to a ballgame in Little Rock by a friend who went to Hendrix. He assured me that most Hendrix students went home for the weekend, and that there would be an extra bed available. It turned out that everyone else on campus must have brought a friend that weekend, because I ended up sleeping on couch cushions on the pool table in Martin.
What is the most significant change you’ve seen at Hendrix during your time on campus?
The curricular programs have changed significantly; the requirements have become more complex. There are all kinds of coded courses – it’s made it more difficult to advise students. It’s good, but it makes for harder bookkeeping. It’s more prescriptive.
What is something that others would be surprised to find out about you?
I like to think I’m fairly up-front, but people might be surprised by my domestic skills. I use biscuits as the coin of the realm. I bake them in the teacher’s lounge of MC Reynolds and give them as presents to butter people up. I also know how to sew. When my daughter was younger, I made her jeans in every color. I could clear the table off after dinner, get out the sewing machine, and she’d have a new pair to wear the next day.
Why did you choose to teach at Hendrix?
I planned to go into industry, but I spent two years in the army first. My commanding officer and I would have discussions about what we’d do differently if we were teachers. When I decided I didn’t want to be a career officer, I went back to civilian life and shortly thereafter got a call from Hendrix’s Dean, Francis Christie. A former professor at Ouachita Baptist had recommended me for teaching, so I took the job.
Where were you when –
The Challenger exploded
I was watching the launch in the student center. It was a particularly painful experience because I’m a teacher myself. There was just stunned silence, then some crying. It’s a very vivid memory.
You heard Elvis was dead
By that time, Elvis was too Las Vegas-ed; I had lost interest.
I also work as a court-appointed special advocate for orphaned children. I was at the Faulkner County courthouse, and the attorney at litem told me. A more vivid memory for me is of JFK’s assassination. I was at grad school, working in the research lab doing my quantum mechanics homework. A man I knew, who was the closest to a socialist I’ve ever dealt with, ran in screaming, “Those damn Birchers in Dallas have killed our president!”
Have you ever been thrown in the fountain?
No. Students have threatened, but my birthday is in the summer.
What is your favorite meal in the cafeteria?
We used to have real, on-the-bone fried chicken. Students would go back for seconds and thirds, until the ladies would have to tell them, “No, you can’t have any more.” You couldn’t go refill your drink until you’d eaten all your chicken, or it would have disappeared by the time you got back. Nowadays, I like the liver and onions on Fridays.
What is your favorite place on campus and why?
The lab, because of the work I do with students. The Advanced Tech and Experimental chemistry lab. The students come up with the most interesting research initiatives. It’s very fun.
If you could do anything over again, what would it be?
I would have pushed harder for a new science facility earlier. It has transformed the lives of teachers here. The president then had incredible taste and style: we got lounges, nice paneling, big windows and skylights. Before, it was like Buhler – all the windows covered with concrete.