Prof Shares Love of Campus With Future Generations
Everyone who visits Professor of Philosophy and Educational Foundations Paul Wagner in his office remembers it. While guests can expect books to line the walls of most professors' offices, Wagner's offers more – a feeling that only exists in places filled with someone's character and passion. Surrounded by windows, Wagner's corner office houses a desk, computer and shelves filled with philosophy and ethics books, along with a small rug, high-backed chair and a walled-off partition that gives it an at-home feeling. The welcoming setting, as well as the nature-filled views of the campus, makes it the envy of many at University of Houston-Clear Lake.
"When I heard this office was available 25 years ago, I jumped at the chance to be here," says Wagner who joined the university 33 years ago when it was still in its infancy and then became one of only two professors to advance from an assistant professor to full professor in just seven years, both of whom occupied the current office space. Although the other professor moved on to another university 25 years ago when he relinquished the prized office, Wagner has stayed in touch professionally on several publications.
When asked what his favorite memory is during his time at UH-Clear Lake, Wagner hesitates.
"That's a tough question," says Wagner. "I have all sorts of memories…this has been my life."
So much a part of his life, that Wagner has left a lasting legacy to UH-Clear Lake, a bequest that will fund "The Wagner Lecture Series." Through the series a visiting philosophy professor will make a presentation at UH-Clear Lake on an annual basis, which is one way Wagner believes will guarantee to keep the discipline that has been his life's work going strong after he is gone.
About the bequest, Wagner comments, "I want to make sure philosophy lives on at UH-Clear Lake. This is my way of scratching on the wall: ‘Kilroy was here.'"
His work in ethics began with the realization that most bad things could be traced back to a wrongdoing.
"All the systems and laws that might be in place cannot make up for or stop what wrong or irresponsible people might do," adds Wagner.
His courses are taught in the School of Education and School of Human Sciences and Humanities, offering educators enrolled in the Doctor in Educational Leadership such classes as "Ethics and Social Responsibility in Educational Administration." Wagner's years of research in the field of ethics has resulted in such books as "Ethical Decision-making in School Administration," "Understanding Professional Ethics," "The Ethical Legal and Multicultural Foundations of Teaching" and "Moral Self-Assessment Protocol."
And, just in case people think that Wagner's life might only include philosophy and ethics, his many other interests prove them wrong. With four children, three grown with children of their own and one who's only nine, he's kept on his toes. He enjoys running, although he's now limiting his mileage to only about 20 a week, but can proudly boast that he has run more than 35,000 miles in his lifetime including multiple marathons.
If asked about his passion for opera, Wagner will definitely put on his professor "hat" and explain that one of his favorites is Poulenc's "Dialogues of the Carmelites" precisely because of his study of ethics.
"This type of art is good at stimulating moral idealism," explains Wagner, which is reminiscent of Wagner's favorite advice.
"Protect yourself from moral blindness."
And with the sun shining in the book-lined office that has become like a second home, surrounded by the life he has chosen at the place he has chosen for his legacy, Wagner seems to have done just that.
Supporting programs at UH-Clear Lake through bequests and wills like Wagner did is a very easy process. For more information about leaving a bequest, contact us at (281) 283-2019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.