Thursday, February 25, 2010

One of the best professors of Saint Thomas Aquinas College

Dr. Robert C. Schelin: the man & the legend of Saint Thomas Aquinas College

Myself with Dr. Robert Schelin, this is the man who is my mentor and hero, this man taught me alot of history and I attend his retirement brunch, after 32 years of teaching, Dr Schelin is retiring! He is one of the great professors that I had and it was a honor to be his student!
Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.
For myself, that person was Dr. Robert C Schelin, he was my college professor who taught a lot of the history classes on which I truly enjoyed like the American Presidency or the Civil War or the History of Russia or American Politics. To me, I took all of his classes cause I felt a major connection between student and professor in the world of college.

In my second semester of freshman year of college at Saint Thomas Aquinas College, I was part of the history club. We decided on going a trip to Hyde Park, New York in Duchess County. I knew it was the home and presidential site and library of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. One of my favorite presidents and heroes in the Democratic party. When I got to the school van, I know notice this man sitting on the bench waiting near the history department and I said to myself who is this guy waiting for. When I got into the van, I notice he did too, I asked the president of the history who is that man and she told me that is man is a legend here at STAC. She told me that his name is Dr. Robert Schelin.

Dr. Robert C. Schelin joined the Faculty of St. Thomas Aquinas College in 1977 and currently is Professor of Social Sciences. Serving previously as Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Schelin holds both the B.A. and M.A. degrees from the State University of New York at Oswego and the Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
His teaching and research interests focus on the American Presidency and his expertise is widely known throughout the area where he is an invited lecturer for many civic organizations.

Dr. Schelin was sitting in the back of the van, so I decided to sit near him and introduce myself to him just in case if I have for a class or see him around campus. Well I did, I told him that I was a big fan of American History especially Presidential history. He asked me to tell him some interesting facts about Franklin Delano Roosevelt due to we are going to his home and presidential library. I told Doc about several facts and he told me that he was truly impressed with the knowledge. I believe that small interaction between Doc Schelin and myself became a close bond between professor and student. When we got to the library and were allowed to do anything for while, I decided to take some outside pictures of the place and I was truly impressed with the grounds and historical significance.

When it was time to go inside the library, the guide asked each of us on which part of the library do we want to check out, when it was my turn I asked if I can see some of FDR's own personal hand written letters or speeches especially about the one about December 7, 1941 aka Pearl Harbor Day. The guide told me that I was not the only one who suggested that speech. He told me that President George Walker Bush came just recently to the library like 4 days before ago to look at the same speech to realize the similar situation occurred between December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001. He also told me that your professor, Dr. Robert Schelin also wanted to look at that speech. Another key bond between us two.

When we went to the archives and I was truly blown away on how much there was in the archives. This area of the library had truly impressed me a lot due to I am in the presence of the man and myth's own handwriting. Sadly though I could not take any pictures in this area due to the archival significance. When the archivist asked who was the one who asked to see the speech about Pearl Harbor, I told her I was the one and she told me to be very calm with it and take good care of it and look at it careful. When I was looking at these simple sheets of paper with the handwriting of Franklin Delano Roosevelt talking that infamy day, it truly amazed me on how similar it was to witness when September 11, 2001 occurred. After our trip ended at FDR's library, Dr. Schelin offered me something and I still treasure to this day, he told me that he wants me in all of his classes. I told I will do that. So for the next 3 semesters in sophmore, junior and senior of college, I always signed up to take one or 2 of his classes.

I truly impressed with his knowledge and he was impressed with mine. I truly learned alot from him and wrote alot of notes in his classes on which I still use today in my tutoring or any other way that is possible. In my senior year of college, during the 2nd semester I was abit sadden that I took all of his classes and there were nomore classes with him but he came to me before the winter recess and told me that he would be honored if I can write a senior thesis about anything with history and he will be the one who will graded it. I told I will do it. My senior thesis was the significance towards the War of 1812 or America's second war of independence. I got an A plus on the paper and also other papers within his classes, I got mostly As cause he was impressed with my knowledge.

On May 13, 2005 I graduated from Saint Thomas Aquinas college , I majored in history with a minor in theology. After the graduation, I met up with my parents and sister to take some pictures with them and tell me how proud they were on this high achievement. Before leaving the campus I asked my parents if we can find some of the professors and friends of mine to take some pictures also, they said sure.

The last professor whom I wanted my parents wanted to met was Dr. Schelin. Dr. Schelin told my parents that I was truly an impressive student and one of the best that he ever had in his classes. My parents were truly thankful for those wonderful and generous words from this one man. After graduation I keep in touch with my mentor but I said I wish I can to see him again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt me, receive wisdom for my busy life today instead of when I was younger.

I was abit worried at first that I will never see him again but a great miracle occurred, in 2008, I got a letter from my college to tell me that Dr. Robert Schelin is retiring from teaching at STAC after 32 years and they are hosting a brunch in his honor. I asked my parents can I please to go and say hello again to my mentor and friend. Dr. Robert Schelin.

I went to it and it was truly a great honor to see him again and we talked again about history and the upcoming presidential election between Senator John McCain(R-Arizona) and Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois). I told him also that I was working for Obama's campaign and he was impressed that a former student of his doing work like that. He told me that he knew something big like this will happen again with me cause he remembered when I was campaigning for Senator John Forber Kerry (D-Massachusetts) for the presidency in 2004 again the incubment George Walker Bush (R-Texas). Dr. Schelin told me that I always had a passion about the world of politics especially presidential elections. I will never forget what he taught me in his American presidency class and I used those lessons in this current campaign and alot of people asked me what was my secret and I told them it was my mentor and friend and professor, Dr. Robert Schelin of Saint Thomas Aquinas College who taught me those tricks of the trade in the world of presidential elections.

Before I ended this blog, I thought to write down on what Dr. Robert Schelin wrote to me in my college yearbook and I will treasure this message forever. Here it goes:


I want to wish you all the best in your future. It will be a bright and limitless one. It has been a real pleasure to know you in these last 4 years and even in my classes. I have rarely met a student who so truly loves history and all of its interacies. If I can ever be of help to you in the future please call. All the Best, 'Doc' Schelin.

I did asked him for help recently, in 2009, the nation was celebrating the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the nation's 16th president (1861-1865). I decided on write my own verison of a bio of Lincoln and it was 19 pages long. When I went to see Dr. Schelin at the retirement brunch, I gave him the first actually copy of my paper about Lincoln. I had included my phone number and address to ask him what did he think about it . So after the birthday of Lincoln had passed, about 6 days later on February 20, I got a phone call from Doc and he told again he was truly impressed with my writing and thinks it is great to hear that the Abraham Lincoln library in Springfield, Illinois has a copy of it and they will put it on file for future researchers to use in the distant future. To me, this was truly a blessing and honor to know a great man like Dr. Robert Schelin and hope someday that I will be like him to a student in my history class.

Thank you again Doc!

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