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Q & A with Tom White

Submitted by on July 12, 2011 – 2:46 pm

Tom White was just 25 in 1969 when he began teaching anatomy and physiology at what was then a fledgling community college operating out of a former Bradford elementary school.

Just a few years older than many of his students, he developed a reputation as a tough but fair instructor. After earning a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in cell biology he entertained thoughts of working in research, but decided the classroom was his lab. He reflects on the college and its journey.

What are your early memories of the college?

During the first year at the new campus, the parking lots weren’t paved. It was “mud city.” Cars were routinely stuck in the mud and the towing companies made lots of money.

Back then NECC was not a smokefree campus. In the classrooms, teachers could smoke, but students could not.

During final exams, the fire alarms were often set off and finals would have to be rescheduled for another day. We never really learned why the alarms went off – was it students playing a prank or was it a protest against the Vietnam War?

Roughly how many students do you think have sat in your classroom?

About 6,000

What do you consider to be the most significant changes to the college?

Significant changes I have witnessed include the development of an advising center, an ESL program and developmental courses, and an on-site day care.

Has teaching changed?

The more teaching changes, the more it stays the same.