Retired NCCC science professor awarded emeritus status

Retired North Country Community College science professor Peter Biesemeyer, seen here on the front porch of his Malone home, has been awarded emeritus status by the college’s Board of Trustees. (Photo provided by NCCC)

MALONE — The North Country Community College Board of Trustees has awarded emeritus status to retired science professor Peter Biesemeyer of Malone.

A 31-year employee of the college, Biesemeyer retired in 2016. During his career at North Country, he anchored the Science Department’s offerings in Malone, teaching courses ranging from Human Biology to Anatomy and Physiology to Environmental Science. He helped develop the college’s Health Sciences program and was the recipient of a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1994.

“In his time here, Peter earned and was promoted to the highest possible rank, professor, a feat that does not come easily and recognizes the excellence of his performance as a faculty member,” said Joe Keegan, the college’s vice president for academic affairs. “As a member of the Science Department, Dr. Biesemeyer (or Dr. B, as his students fondly referred to him) served the college with honor and distinction for 31 years and, in the eyes of his colleagues, including me, is most deserving of this recognition.”

Biesemeyer is the 28th NCCC faculty member to be awarded emeritus status since the college’s founding 50 years ago and the first since 2011, when Anne Lincoln was selected for the honor.

Biesemeyer said he was grateful to receive the recognition, which the Board of Trustees approved at its Nov. 30 meeting.

“I’ve always felt appreciated by the college and for all my work there, and this is another confirmation of that,” he said.

Asked about his long tenure with the college, Biesemeyer said it was primarily the students who kept him coming back year after year.

“The students at the Malone campus have always just been so nice,” he said. “I had taught at a private college in New York City for eight years before I came up here, and it was mostly young students fresh out of high school. When I came up here, my first class was an evening lab that had eight older women in it, all moms. They stayed the entire three hours, stayed around to help clean things and put things away, and then they asked me if there was anything else to do, and then they thanked me. I said, ‘I’ve died and gone to heaven.’

“And of course my colleagues. I’ve had a lot of good bosses over the years — Mel Chambers, Beth Johnson and Judy Steinberg — they are the three best people I’ve ever worked for. The college has always been just a very friendly, welcoming environment. Being able to work in a job I love, in a place I love, the Adirondacks, you can’t beat that.”

An avid outdoorsman who grew up in Keene, Biesemeyer has completed six rounds of hiking the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. He was one of the first people over age 70 to hike the 46 in winter. At age 78, he remains active in the outdoors.

“I’m hiking probably more than ever and look forward to skiing,” Biesemeyer said. “For so many years I always envied some of my retired friends who used to be able to go hiking and skiing whenever they wanted to, and now I’m one of them.”

To be granted emeritus status, a professional staff member has to serve NCCC for no less than 10 consecutive years and have rendered distinguished service to the college. Emeritus members are identified as such in the college catalog and entitled to other rights and privileges accorded the college’s active professional staff, including office space, library and email privileges, appointment to ad hoc professional staff committees and participation in college functions.