Presidential Speeches

Reflections on Bill Eberly

Sunday, Aug. 22, 2011

President Jo Young Switzer

Carl Jung reflected that “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is necessary raw material, but warmth is a vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

Today we are both appreciative and grateful for the good life of Bill Eberly. During his 37 years on the faculty at Manchester College, Dr. Bill Eberly brought biological knowledge, enormous curiosity, and genuine warmth as he nurtured the minds and hearts of our students – and us.

His life reflected all that we hope for our students at Manchester College ... a principled, productive, compassionate life that improved the human condition. 

Bill was curious about almost everything ...

  • Birds
  • Genealogy
  • Local history
  • His former students
  • Church of the Brethren history
  • Limnology
  • Robert’s Rules of Order
  • The Brethren Encyclopedia
  • Center for History
  • Photography
  • Fishing

Bill Eberly’s life and mind are woven through the fabric of Manchester College ...

  • He graduated in 1948 with a B.A. in biology and then completed his master’s and Ph.D. at Indiana University

  • He joined the faculty here in 1955 and retired in 1992

  • He continued his extensive research in limnology, the study of fresh water bodies, and lectured extensively on blue-green algae, a major source of water pollution

  • In 1963, he was a visiting scientist at the Institute of Limnology at the University of Uppsala in Sweden

  • During the years that he chaired our Biology Department and Natural Science Division, he developed the Koinonia Retreat and Environmental Center, which has brought environmental education and field research to thousands of students from elementary to college age

  • In 1983, Gov. Robert Orr recognized Bill Eberly by proclaiming him a Sagamore of the Wabash

  • For the 1889 celebration of the College’s first hundred years, Bill edited the centennial history book

  • Bill Eberly helped with the earliest planning for our Science Center

  • He researched and wrote The Story of the Natural Sciences at Manchester College, a book that:

    • Cites more than 650 footnotes

    • Includes jokes, cartoons, photos, illustrations

    • Verifies that more than 500 physicians, dentists, optometrists and vets have graduated from Manchester College

    • Confirms that the first Manchester natural sciences graduate to become a medical doctor is a woman

    • List the names of every single science graduate of the College

Bill could not have done this amazing array of things without Eloise. She made his life complete. While Bill was working long hours at the College, she took care of things at home. While Bill was researching, she tolerated his absences. While Bill was writing his last major book, The Story of the Natural Sciences at Manchester College, she proofread every single word of it. Although, to be completely honest, she told me afterward not ever to ask him to write another book because she knew he would say “yes.” She wasn’t kidding.

Bill Eberly was a natural teacher. He taught every single day he lived. We will miss his twinkling eyes and his constant pieces of new information.

We thank God for sharing Bill Eberly with us. He lived a long and good life, and all of us at Manchester College are grateful that much of that good life was spent with us.


For information about speeches by President Jo Young Switzer, please contact the Office of Public Relations, 260-982-5285.


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