Waddle Honored for 45 Years of Service
Hattiesburg, Miss., September 21, 2012 - Dr. Benjamin Waddle, professor of health, physical education, and recreation at William Carey University (WCU), was recently honored for his 45 years of service to the university at the annual faculty and staff meeting on Aug. 23.
Waddle has served as a full professor and chairman of the health, physical education, and recreation department at WCU since arriving at the university in 1967. He continues to teach a full class load during the academic year and in the summer.
Te east Tennessee native graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education. He started his lengthy career in education in the same year, teaching in his home county of Greene County, Tenn., as a physical education teacher and coach until 1953. He earned his Master of Arts degree in Physical Education in 1955 from George Peabody College, where he also earned his Specialist in Education degree in 1959. He continued teaching in public schools throughout the South until 1965, when he enrolled as a doctoral student at Florida State University and also served as the assistant intramurals director.
Upon receiving his Doctor in Education degree in 1967, Waddle joined the faculty at WCU after meeting with then-WCU President Dr. Ralph Noonkester. Waddle said to this day he has no idea how Noonkester found him.
“I don’t know how he got a hold of me,” said the smiling Waddle. “I was on vacation in South Carolina for two weeks and had applied at the University of West Florida, but somehow Dr. Noonkester contacted me and convinced me to meet with him at Carey.”
After visiting the university, which was then known as William Carey College and only had a student body of only 1,000, Waddle accepted the position that he would hold for the next 45 years and counting.
“When I got here, it was a much smaller place,” he said. “It’s amazing how much we’ve grown in 45 years.”
Waddle’s lengthy career at WCU has also included eight years as the university’s interim athletic director from 1974-1982. He also headed the university’s intramurals program for many years.
In addition to his service at WCU, Waddle is also active in the community and in academic circles, serving as a life member of the National Education Association, a member of the Mississippi Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (MAHPER), and a member of Phi Epsilon Kappa Professional Fraternity. He served as chairman of MAHPER’s Eighth District from 1967-1984 and was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in the 2003-2004 year. He has also received multiple other honors throughout his career and is active in his church, Parkway Heights United Methodist, as a Sunday school teacher and committee member. Waddle said he is proud to have served Carey and that he looks forward to work each day.
“I just like to work,” he said. “I love teaching, I love working with students, and I’m so impressed with the rate at which WCU has grown.”
He added that even after 45 years, he is still going strong.
“I’m not planning on retiring, but I just go a year at time,” he said. “I’m already working on the next school year!”
The longtime physical education professor also offered a bit of advice that he shares with his students and colleagues.
“Eat fruits, veggies, and grains and lay off the red meat,” he said. “Oh, and exercise daily...and you’ll be set!”