WWU’s Julian Hertzog: a unique personality
Whether he is judging diving when he knows nothing about it, stopping horse shows for bathroom breaks, or training pigs, Julian Hertzog, professor of psychology at William Woods University, has always been one to give a crowd a good show.
Known for his quirky laugh and his boisterous ways, Hertzog is the teacher you can hear a floor or two below where he is teaching. He has come to be loved by his students for the last 36 years for his energetic, optimistic personality that keep students on their toes, waiting for the next lesson.
Hertzog has been rewarded through the years for his dedication to teaching. Recently he received the Dads’ Association-Louis D. Beaumont Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching, an award he also won in 1989. In 1996 he received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“I’m fortunate to have a job where you look forward to coming to work every day because with each class you have a different group personality,” he said.
Hertzog came to WWU in 1976 when he was hired on as the Westminster and William Woods counselor. Planning to only stay in Missouri for two years before heading back to his home state of Florida, he changed his mind when he met his wife, Colleen Harper Hertzog. Now a retired special education teacher, she often assists with the equestrian program at WWU.
“One of the main reasons we stayed was because my daughter and wife could ride horses whenever they wanted to. I was only a counselor for a short time before I became a teacher. I don’t think I was very good at it because I like to talk too much,” Hertzog said.
“I enjoy teaching because I think I’m good at it. I enjoy helping and I enjoy being with people and being involved in their lives.”
He added, “There is a daily reward for teaching and that is when you know your students have learned something or when they have taken what they learned in class and applied it to their everyday life. The little successes matter and the biggest enjoyment comes when you see your students go out and live a happy life. You just kind of feel like you were part of that process.”
One of his favorite moments at The Woods was when he trained pigs for a psychology experiment and sent them through the graduation ceremony. That made the national news in 1983.
He also has fond memories of when his office was located in the art department.
“When I got to hang out in the art department, it kind of fed my wild side. When I first started at the Woods, it was a very conservative school and I was a professor who insisted on going by my first name and was known for breaking away from the norm,” he said.
Living a bit on the wild side has always been what makes Julian Hertzog. When a judge was missing during a diving competition at WWU, he was asked to fill in. With no previous experience, Hertzog decided his best bet was to look at the other two judges’ scores and pick a number in between.
Asked to judge another competition—this time a horse show, he paused the competition, stood up from his seat and casually walked to the bathroom.
Hertzog often enjoys reflecting on his experiences from college at the University of Florida, where he received all three of his degrees. An avid Gators fan, he can be seen wearing blue and orange whenever his beloved team plays. His office and his car are decorated with Florida memorabilia.
Still driving the 1964 Mustang he drove in college, he finds passion in a lifetime of learning.
“If I could have, I would have been in college forever. There was always some course I wanted to take and I loved being a grad student. I lived with the maintenance man during grad school so I didn’t have to pay rent. All I had to do was pay for the phone bill.”
Hertzog advises his students to take life like you’ll never reach tomorrow.
“Don’t push the river. It flows by itself. Do everything you always wanted to do. Don’t put off anything. Don’t wish you would have, and don’t rush things. Enjoy being young.”