Walters State Community College bestowed a rare honor on a retired professor Tuesday. Dr. Orville E. “Butch” Bach Jr. was named professor emeritus of business and economics. He is only the sixth professor to receive the emeritus title.
“Much of Dr. Bach’s scholarship, time and community service were dedicated to this institution. The college, and most of all its students, have benefitted greatly from that dedication,” said Dr. Wade B. McCamey in a ceremony honoring Bach.
“Dr. Bach commanded and earned the respect of students, faculty, staff and the community during his tenure at Walters State. It is with great pride that I officially bestow on him the title of professor emeritus,” McCamey said.
The title recognizes academic expertise and dedication to the college, students, and the community. The decision to bestow the honor is made by a committee, which includes the college’s academic deans.
Bach joined the faculty of Walters State in 1976 as an instructor of business and tourism and retired in 2006, spending the majority of his career teaching economics and business.
He was known as a caring professor who sought to motivate and encourage students. Perhaps he his best known for bringing a chapter of Students in Free Enterprise to campus. SIFE offered students of every discipline the chance to learn about the free enterprise system and develop research and presentation skills. Under Bach’s leadership, the Walters State SIFE team earned many regional titles and placed as high as second in the country.
“The organization had a profound impact on students who participated,” McCamey said.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Bach also served as an unofficial mentor to many Vietnam-era veterans who were attending Walters State during the 1970s and 1980s, according to Hank Barnett, associate professor of accounting who worked with Bach for many years.
“Having been in the military, Butch had a great rapport with the college’s student veterans,” said Hank Barnett, associate professor of accounting who worked with Bach for several years.
Bach was also involved in research, authoring several economic impact studies and reports.
Outside of the classroom, Bach is known for his conservation efforts, including efforts to stop the pollution of the Pigeon River. During summers, Bach served as an interpretive ranger at Yellowstone National Park. He has continued that work in his retirement.
“This is very humbling. I can’t tell you how much this means to me and my family, but I do know that I got so much more from the college than I ever gave,” Bach said.
Bach thanked many colleagues, but singled out Dr. Evelyn Honaker, dean of the business division at Walters State.
“I was fortunate to have one great supervisor during my career here,” he said.
Bach’s photo will now hang on Walters State’s Academic Wall of Honor with the previous five honorees: Dr. Anne Armstrong, professor emeritus of English; Dr. James Ford, professor emeritus of physics and mathematics; Dr. Judith Hector, professor emeritus of mathematics; the late Dr. Samuel R. O’Dell, professor emeritus in history; and the late Dr. Darrell Simmons, professor emeritus of technology.
In the picture: Walters State Community honored long-time business and economics professor Dr. Orville E. “Butch” Bach Jr. with the title of professor emeritus. From left are Dr. Evelyn Honaker, dean of business; Dr. Wade B. McCamey, president of Walters State; Bach; and Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president for academic affairs.