Auf Wiedersehen: Q&A with retired German professor

By Charlie Stoddard and Diane Royer, contributors
Our mentor, friend and German professor has retired.
A graduate of Northwestern University, he has taught hundreds of students at the UNC Asheville since 1975. Courses he has taught include German Civilization, Stylistics, the German Novelle and introductory German courses, also serving as chair of the Foreign Language Department for many years.
Henry Raymond Stern was raised in New Jersey and has a German heritage, which he said inspired him to study German in his sophomore year in high school.
Professor Stern spent the 1960s completing his undergraduate studies in Vienna and Graz, Austria. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Muenster University from 1964 to 1965, an experience he considers to be life-altering. His credits earned at Muenster University were applied at Northwestern Graduate School. At Northwestern in 1968 he said he had the privilege of studying under Professors C. R. Goedsche and Meno Spann, native Germans, career professors and very good pedagogues. Stern received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Q: “What have you seen as some of the major changes since you began teaching at UNCA?”
A: “So much has changed since I began teaching at UNC Asheville in 1975. For instance, the library was only half the size it is today. The bookstore and cafeteria were in the lower level of Lipinsky Hall. The landscaping is phenomenal. Melissa Acker has done a wonderful job and it is so wonderful to look out the window and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.”
Q: “What changes have you seen in the German department?”
A: “I have enjoyed the warm, welcoming environment that UNC Asheville exudes. I have had the privilege of getting to know many great students who have come through the German department. I have seen changes in curriculum twice over the years. It is wonderful to see Wiebke Strehl as chair now. The German department is a wonderful department run by an excellent professional.”
Q: “How would you sum up your career at UNCA?”
A: “I would use a quote by Milton Ready who said, ‘I was pleased to be able to practice my discipline.’”
Q: “How are you spending your retirement years, Professor Stern?”
A: “I am going over a personal inventory, rethinking my time schedule and I’ll be traveling to Colorado to be introduced to my newest granddaughter. I have three sons, two have their Ph.D.s and the youngest studied biology under Professor David Clarke.”
“The one thing I miss is the daily contact with my former colleagues and, yes, I plan to continue to reside in Asheville.”