Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: August 4, 2009

For more information contact, Brenda J. Rayner, (901) 333-4247 or Patricia O’Brien, (901) 333-4021


A Note Well Taken

It is not so unusual for former students to call or send notes to Dr. Robert Whaley expressing gratitude for the impact that he has had on the success of their professional careers. The unusual circumstance regarding a recent note from Rod Thomas was that Dr. Whaley was not there to receive it – but his colleagues in the Fulton Building have seen it.

The note, written on a marker board on the faculty door in the Fulton Building said – "Doc, Came by before I went back to New Orleans. Last year of Pharmacy School at Xavier University! I owe you a lot! Rod Thomas." It remained posted on the door until his colleague, Mathilda Doorley, noticed it. "I know the student because he was in my general chemistry class. He's referring to having taken Organic Chemistry with Robert Whaley," said Doorley.

Dr. Robert Whaley, professor of natural sciences, has been out ill this summer and hasn't seen the note. "We're always delighted when students send notes or come back to see us, and especially in an instance like this," said Doorley. "So often, though, students working on professional degrees that take so long are far past us, anywhere from four to eight years, and may tend to not remember 'way back to Southwest.' It's very gratifying when they do."

Dr. Whaley came to Southwest's predecessor, Shelby State Community College, in the mid-seventies and has changed with the times becoming adept with 21st century technology and encourages his students to use the Internet. Betty Rosenblatt, department chair for natural/physical sciences, indicated that Dr. Whaley's focus has always been on the student's needs and in times past has taught students organic chemistry independently, exclusive of compensation, so that those students could complete their graduation requirements. "I'm always impressed when a professor goes above and beyond without regard to money," said Rosenblatt.

"Dr. Whaley keeps up with many of his students, so a note on the door wasn't all that unusual. But a note that big, where everyone could see it: that was different!" said Doorley. She made sure Dr. Whaley would see the message: she took a picture of it and sent it to him in an e-mail last week.

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Photo caption: Note on the faculty door to Dr. Robert Whaley from a former student now in his last year of pharmacy studies.