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Thursday, Dec 1, 2022

Retiring German professor reflects on 39 years at Mercer

<p>German Professor Edward Weintraut will be retiring this May after 39 years at Mercer University. Photo by Eliza Moore.</p>

German Professor Edward Weintraut will be retiring this May after 39 years at Mercer University. Photo by Eliza Moore.

Edward Weintraut doesn’t think of teaching as a job, but rather as something he loves. 

“I love seeing students’ eyes light up when they hear or see something new, especially when it relates to the German language,” he said. “I sort of build on that moment of panic and then gradual recognition. That fuels my desire to keep teaching.” 

Weintraut has taught countless classes in German, Senior Capstone, Freshman Seminars and Great Books. He was also department chair for eight years and an associate dean of the college for 17. He will be the last German professor at Mercer as the foreign language department undergoes changes.

Weintraut was born in Philadelphia in 1953. He received a Fulbright scholarship to study German in Germany. From there, he moved on to get his masters and Ph.D. at Ohio State University before receiving a call asking him to teach German at Mercer in 1983.

He did not expect to teach German for the duration of his career and has particularly appreciated how the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requests that the faculty teach in courses outside their own discipline. This experience is relatively unique to Mercer and has helped him grow in ways he never anticipated. 

He also notes the faculty who have helped him grow during his time at the university, including John Dunaway, Ted Nordenhaug, Peter Brown and “the heart and soul of the College of Liberal Arts,” Joe Hendricks.

Weintraut is known to be a strict, engaged and caring professor. 

“Dr. Weintraut is an exceptional professor because he went above and beyond to try to reach students through as many mediums as he could,” said Cecelia Poehlman, a senior who has taken four of his classes. “The care with which he structured his classes and how he made time for students outside of classes really showed a dedication to his work and to his students.” 

After retirement, Weintraut plans to publish more scholarly articles and write stories about his family history for his grandchildren.

He is also excited to focus more on his love of music and has been taking courses on blues harmonica and blues improvisation. He hopes to one day achieve his goal of playing the piano and harmonica at the same time. 


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