by Emily Mosier
Precisely 47.97 years. That is how long Dr. Peter Howard has spent teaching at Troy University.
For nearly half a century, Howard has been sharing with students his greatest passions: language and culture. For half a century, he has chosen to stay at Troy, the school he loves.
Howard is a professor of classics and the department chair of World Languages and Cultures, and he is the longest serving faculty member on campus.
“Why not stay?” asked Dr. Howard. “A lot of people will start in a place and then jump to the next place, and the next place, and then the next.
“Do what you do where you are.”
Howard has taught courses in Latin, Greek, classical civilization, German, English, and linguistics. He is also a faculty member for the University Honors program and Study Abroad.
Howard said his favorite course to teach is whichever one he is currently instructing.
“My favorite part [of my job], is individual moments with individual students, when the light comes on, when you reach them with your teaching,” Howard said.
Howard earned his Bachelor of Arts in Latin and music history in 1967 from the University of Alabama. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1973, he began teaching at Troy. He earned his Ph.D. from Florida State four years later.
Throughout his career, Howard has served as the president of the American Classical League, served for more than 30 years with the College Board’s AP Latin Exam, been state vice president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, and received a variety of awards from multiple distinguished organizations. He is also a member of the International Frisbee Association.
When asked about his proudest achievement, Howard said that he tries not to keep track of those types of things.
“I’ve never had any desires to climb in any organization,” Howard said. “I’ve always just kind of helped out with people when they needed it, so [I’m] not ambitious. I just say ‘yes.’”
According to Howard, his interests include music, opera, theater, and travel. He has attended more than 300 Broadway shows and visited all 50 states, as well as 39 countries. In 1989, he traveled to Germany to see the opening of the Berlin Wall.
“My advice to students is to take advantage of the Study Abroad program here and see the world,” Howard said. “You won’t get a better season of life than now to do it.”
Howard’s interests led him to be active in the University’s theater productions for fifteen years, serving in roles from actor to chorus director.
“Probably the best moment would be singing the national anthem before the performance [of “1776”], backstage with the actors dressed up as founding fathers,” Howard said, referring to a musical Troy produced in 1987.
When asked if he had any regrets, Howard simply shook his head and said “Nope.”