Hesston professor retires a second time
Friesen began teaching art at college in 1956By Phil Richard Hesston College
HESSTON, Kan. — This spring marks Paul Friesen’s second retirement from Hesston College.
A visual arts professor, Friesen officially retired from Hesston in 1978, but he was invited to teach ceramics during the spring semester the past four years.
He says he’s sorry to call it quits at the end of this school year, but he needs to due to a hearing problem.
“I like working with young people, especially those who are enthusiastic and energetic,” he said.
Friesen graduated from Hesston Academy in 1942 and Hesston College in 1944 and, after additional schooling, pastored two churches in Illinois before coming back to the college as an art instructor in 1956.
“At that time, art was still frowned upon by Mennonites yet as vain and useless,” he said. “It didn’t have functional value like home economics and industrial arts, which were seen as occupations with which one could make a living. And the images created by artists were almost looked upon as idols.
“I feel I was fortunate to be given a chance to launch a program in visual arts at a college in the Mennonite Church, even though I thought I’d be a pastor all my life. However, I found myself serving in a pastoral role as a teacher in a church college.
“My seminary experience was valuable as I went into visual arts. Visual arts can be meditative and a significant teaching media.”
Friesen focused his teaching on ceramics and sculpture.
In addition to serving at Hesston College, Friesen directed the art program at Bethel College in North Newton from 1959-63 and continued teaching there until 1989.
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