By Abbey Randall, Secretary
After being an active professor at the University of Maine at Farmington for over thirty years, Professor Jon Oplinger will be retiring and leaving his office after the Fall semester, but will remain connected to the Franklin County community.
Dr. Oplinger is a Professor of Sociology here at UMF, as well as an advisor to current students. Growing up in northern Ohio coming to Maine was a very different shift of scenery, but he enjoys the atmosphere of the New England region.
“I particularly like Maine, but it takes a little adjusting for someone from the midwest,” said Dr. Oplinger. “Maine is sneaky fast, you think it is going to be the same and the next year it isn’t.”
Over his years at UMF, Dr. Oplinger has taught a broad selection of courses in Anthropology and Sociology and has formed a tight knit group of colleagues among the same division.
His division is “filled with really fine scholars, to the point that I found my colleagues intimidating in terms of their abilities,” said Dr. Oplinger.
Dr. Oplinger brings a broad array of training in sociology, archeology, and anthropology to UMF, making him a great asset to the college community. He sees the value between all of the disciplines and his department team of Nicole Kellett, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Gaelyn Aguilar, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, make for a strong group of colleagues.
“The three of us have such varied interests,” said Kellett. “We really compliment each other very well.”
Dr. Oplinger finds great interest in the diversity here at UMF. When he can get his students to talk in his courses, he enjoys carrying on conversations that draw in different opinions. Dr. Oplinger values his students and his teaching, becoming a dedicated professor at UMF.
“You have to teach in such a way to reach quite a few people, putting a lot of demands on your teaching,” said Dr. Oplinger. “It takes a lot of thought and creativity.”
Dr. Oplinger is an advisor to students in the Sociology and Anthropology majors, giving them advice not only about academics, but spending their time wisely here at UMF. Like many college professors, Dr. Oplinger wants to see his students be wise about their time here at UMF because it is very limited.
“He really wants to see students succeed and I think that is a very important quality to have as an advisor,” said Thomas Feeley, senior at UMF.
Rushing through his years of college, Dr. Oplinger wishes he had taken his time and experienced more of what college had to offer. Graduating from college is not a race and applying yourself to more than just your courses is key to getting the most out of the experience.
“For what you invest in college you could probably buy a Mercedes-Benz,” said Dr. Olpinger. “But you will never get that four years back and you should not waste that time.”
Colleagues and students wish Dr. Oplinger well in his endeavors after retirement and they hope to see him around campus or in Farmington in the coming semesters.
“We don’t want him to leave the walls of UMF and be gone forever,” said Kellett. “We want him to have a continued presence even after he retires.”
After retirement, Dr. Oplinger, plans on doing some renovations on his new home and traveling with his wife to see their grandchildren. Also, he hopes to have more time for reading and plans on starting some research of his own.
After retirement, “I won’t have the ability to read something and come across things that are very interesting and be able to tell them [colleagues and students] about that and I will miss that, I will miss that a lot,” said Dr. Oplinger.