Music professor George Harshbarger said he still loves his job and looks forward to coming to work every day, which is why he’ll miss it so much when the current school year ends.
Harshbarger is one of the seven professors who decided to take advantage of the university’s offer of early retirement to all faculty members who are at least 60 years of age. He said he is grateful to the university and president Lesley Hallick for offering this incentive.
“Somebody said to me once, ‘You retire when you have enough and when you’ve had enough,’” said Harshbarger. “Well, neither of these is true for me.”
Harshbarger came to Pacific nearly two decades ago because he liked the area and it was within traveling distance of his aging parents and in-laws. Before teaching at Pacific, he taught at the University of Hawaii Hilo for eight years.
After 18 years at Pacific, he said his favorite thing is the people.
“The students are bright, eager, motivated and, for the most part, just really nice people, and that goes for my colleagues too,” said Harshbarger. “I will miss interacting with all the wonderful people.”
Between teaching several classes and serving on the Faculty Personnel Committee as well as the Standards and Appeals Board, Harshbarger is never at a loss for things to keep him busy.
He served as the chair of Pacific’s arts division for eight years and directed the Pacific University Choral Union, which he traveled with to China in 1998. He recalled the trip as one of his fondest memories.
Harshbarger said he has enjoyed teaching music fundamentals and watching his beginning students’ progress. “It feeds my spirit,” he said.
Although he never got the chance to teach a class in musical acoustics like he always wanted, he said he has no regrets about his time at Pacific. The music professor described his job as “stimulating and pleasant. It’s just been a nice place to be.”
Before he retires, Harshbarger plans to finish the last two chapters of a book he is writing about the fundamentals of reading and performing. This is just one of the many projects he has dedicated himself to throughout the years.
He said his retirement will allow him to dedicate more time to volunteering, woodworking, riding horses and traveling. “I’d like to take my wife to Venice,” he said.
“I’ve done most of the things on my bucket list,” Harshbarger said. “I’m looking forward to making a new one.”