and lessons on how to live a meaningful life
By Annelise Trubelhorn ('99)
This is just one of many stories from Madison magazine's award-winning Professors You Love series, written by JMU students and alumni, about the professors that have made the most impact on their lives — then, and now.
Annelise Trubelhorn ('99) and professor of health sciences Mark Warner
Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. — Anonymous
My favorite JMU professor reminds me of the above quotation, and it will come as no surprise to anyone who is lucky enough to meet him that the special professor is Mark Warner. Dr. Warner is a professor in the health sciences department and vice president for student affairs.
I remember the first day that I met this special man. During my freshman year, my best friend and I were working out in the Godwin gym. Dr. Warner came over to say hello and introduce himself. From that day on, I was always thrilled to receive a hello when I passed him on campus.
Throughout my years at JMU, I participated in the Canterbury Episcopal Campus Ministry, where he served as the faculty associate. He offered many ideas and techniques on leadership and morality to all the members. During my senior year, I enrolled in his Leadership class on Tuesday afternoons. I looked forward to this weekly class in the new ISAT building. He began each day by writing on the board: "You make a Difference!" He instilled in his students confidence that could be used in future leadership roles. He also distributed special "Life" Business Cards, which I still carry in my purse to this day.
Dr. Warner's special business card describes how to live a meaningful life. I have incorporated many of these thoughts into my daily living. Each thought on the business card was covered through various assignments in his Leadership class. For example, one thought advised the individual to "balance life: integrate body, mind, spirit and community." To teach this, Dr. Warner assigned students to complete community service hours.
Professor Warner distributed special "Life" Business Cards
I chose to volunteer with Special Olympics and teach children how to swim. Through this humbling experience, I gained a new understanding of working with children with disabilities and I also had a lot of fun. I was able to help others in my community by using an ordinary gift.
The "Life" Business Card Dr. Warner created is published in his 1998 book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Enhancing Self-Esteem, which is in its fifth printing.
Dr. Warner's unique style of teaching was just one of the things that made him an outstanding role model. I pattern my own teaching after his example. I'm a middle school science teacher pursuing a master's degree in science education. My Tuesdays with Dr. Warner served me well. He was right on top of today's educational trends. He taught his students to take charge of their learning, encouraged us to think critically and think for ourselves, enabled self-confidence and showed us that we are each uniquely important. I hope that I can equip and motivate my students in the same way.
About the professor
Mark Warner ('79, '81M, '85Ed.S.) is senior vice president for student affairs/university planning and analysis as well as a professor of health sciences. He is commonly heard saying, "I started my JMU journey as a freshman in 1975 and have never left." Warner met his wife, Jennie ('79), as an undergraduate. Their oldest daughter is a student at the College of Charleston, and their youngest, Katie, is a sophomore at JMU. Warner received the JMU Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998.
About the author
Annelise Trubelhorn ('99) teaches seventh- and eighth-grade science at Tampa Preparatory School, and this year she is also coaching soccer and softball. She is pursuing her master's degree in science education at the University of South Florida. Before joining Tampa Prep's faculty, Trubelhorn taught at St. John Greek Orthodox Day School for three years.