A week from today, I will attend a service recognition banquet at which Truman State University will recognize my 10th year of service. Then, they’ll say goodbye. This was my last semester at Truman. May will be my last month in Kirksville. I’m about to move to my fifth state.
How Did I Get Here?
Ten years ago, I was finishing up my Ph.D. at Indiana University in Bloomington. I secured a temporary assistant professor position at Truman in April, bought a house on 7 acres of land in Brashear in July, defended my dissertation and started the new job in August, and got married in September. It was a busy time in my life.
I divorced a year later and moved into town. I wanted to be in town in the first place, so I’m not sure why I crawled through a year’s worth of dung and manure to get there.
In 2008, I applied for a tenure-track job to teach Statistics at Truman. I’m happy I was offered the position. This is what kept me in Kirksville, which is where I needed to be to meet Erin.
Erin and I married on Truman’s Fall Break, October 16, 2010. We bought the house we live in right now in February 2011. Pliny and Seymour were introduced into our lives in August of that year.
We made beer, competed in triathlons and races, rode bikes through crazy distances, traveled the world and the country, became more involved with our jobs and the community, and developed some amazing relationships.
Erin finished her Ph.D a year ago in May. She found a job as Director of Highland Community College’s Perry Campus (in Perry, KS) and started October 1 of last year. We’ve been living long distance since then, but not for much longer.
Where Will We Go?
In mid-to-late February, a position at Washburn University in Topeka, KS was brought to my attention. It was for an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Actuarial Science. During Truman’s Spring Break, I was traveling to Lawrence, KS to visit Erin. While I was there, I interviewed at Washburn on Monday. They called Friday of that week to offer me the position.
We originally looked for places to live in Lawrence because we love that city. We made a data-based decision, however, and ended up finding a house in Topeka. The home we will be moving into is a half mile from campus, and about 20 miles from Perry.
A week after signing a contract for the place in Topeka, we signed a contract to sell our house in Kirksville. The closing dates for both places happen to be the same: May 26.
Our last weekend in Kirksville will be May 15-17. We go on vacation to Oregon May 20-25. On the evening of Memorial Day we will be driving into town and loading up a U-Haul.
The small community of Kirksville, while leaving a lot to be desired in the social and physical activity category, provides one the opportunity to fill up missing niches. In a unique way, Kirksville has given me wonderful leadership opportunities and priceless leadership experience. (Growth)
I’m going to miss the KGB (Kirksville Guild of Brewers). The community of brewers in Kirksville will forever be in my heart. Together, we built an amazing club that I had the great fortune of leading. (Passion)
I’m going to miss the United Way. The United Way provided me an avenue on which my talents could be used to contribute back to the community. (Contribution)
I’m going to miss the community of runners and bikers in Kirksville that once made up (and still do) Kirksville Multisport. This group helped me carve out the time required to devote to a healthy lifestyle. (Health)
I’m going to miss Truman. When I reflect on life, there are key moments and times that have greatly influenced me and have molded me into the person I am today. A few of these include being the Faculty Advisor for Student Government, creating Bringin’ Back the Stat, chairing the Department of Statistics, and creating a resolution to adopt a plus/minus grading system and having it defeated (a humbling, but very important experience).
What Do We Look Forward To?
Topeka is a city that is almost at 130,000. It is definitely large enough to disappear in for a while, take a break, and learn where I can fit in.
Blind Tiger Brewery is in town. Free State is a short drive away. I look forward to taking advantage of these two places a lot. Although the overall beer selection in Kansas is lacking, Free State is amazing. Blind Tiger is pretty good, too. Living close to breweries is a plus.
There are trails to bike on. There is a huge biking community with which I can become involved.
There is an amazing coffee place within walking distance of my house and office. It is called PTs. It has amazing coffee, makes coffee in wonderful ways, has a delightful lunch menu, and has 6 rotating craft beers on tap. If you know me very well, you should understand that this is a dangerous combination for my pocketbook.
Topeka already has an established beer club that has been active since 1989 at least. I’ll probably be a member.
I will be working directly with Washburn’s Actuarial Science Program, teaching Actuarial Science and upper level, math-heavy Statistics classes at Washburn. This is a new and desired opportunity.
I Guess This Is Really Goodbye, Then?
Yeah. I wasn’t kidding about all that stuff. I’m really leaving. I’ll miss you, though.