Getting to Know...The Student Life Office’s Patrick Noltemeyer
April 15, 2010
Patrick and Megan Noltemeyer in Costa Rica1. Position at Centre? Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of Community Service & The Bonner Scholars Program
Patrick and his brother, Daniel
Patrick and his brother, Daniel
2. Where did you grow up? All of my childhood was spent in the suburbs of Louisville, Ky., and a lot of that time was spent outdoors—I was an active Boy Scout, and during my high school years I spent a lot of time at Cedar Ridge Camp just outside of Louisville. Just about every Sunday afternoon was spent with my cousins on the basketball court or the homemade football field outside of Grandma’s house.
3. What are some of your hobbies? I love being outside, and so anything that keeps me outdoors makes me happy. Growing up, my parents instilled in me a love for gardening, but right now most of our plants are indoors. Together with my wife, Megan, and our dog, Macie, I enjoy Geocaching—using GPS coordinates to track hidden items throughout the world; it’s kind of a high tech scavenger hunt! Finally, spending time with family and friends—seeing concerts or traveling together—is time that I cherish.
4. What are a few of the things you enjoyed most about your years as a Centre student? Taking a wide variety of courses was the foundation of my Centre career— learning how to think critically and write well were important skills that have paid dividends since. Becoming a brother in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity was one of the best decisions I ever made. Many of those fraternity men remain my closest friends and stood beside me as groomsmen at my wedding. I also remember “Cowan-sitting,” when a group of us would show up for dinner around 5:00 and stay until Cowan closed—chatting, making jokes and enjoying the camaraderie that makes Centre a special place. Finally, I was fortunate to be a student during the Vice-Presidential debate in 2000 that brought the world’s attention to our special place—it was a thrilling time to be a member of the Centre community.
5. Favorite artist and/or work of art? Photography is my favorite medium—specifically nature and landscape photography. Ansel Adams is my all-time favorite photographer, having captured some of the world’s most amazing vistas that look stunning even in black and white.
6. Favorite novel or poem? I love to read when I have the opportunity, and one of the most thought-provoking books in recent memory was The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell—fascinating concepts about community and development.
7. Most memorable trip or vacation? For our honeymoon, Megan and I spent 10 days in Costa Rica. We started out at some natural hot springs and hiked up the Arenal Volcano, then travelled to the Monteverde Cloud Forest where we zip-lined for miles down the mountainside— definitely one of the scariest/most exciting things I've ever done. We wrapped up this trip of a lifetime in Manuel Antonio, spending time in one of Costa Rica’s National Parks, complete with monkeys, iguanas and an amazing coastline. I don’t think anything will ever top that trip!
8. Favorite board game? I love playing games with friends and family. Though not a true “board” game, CatchPhrase is one of those games that always leaves me laughing in the end.
9. Favorite album? All Points Bulletin— a farewell live album by Dispatch.
10. Favorite singer and/or band? I love listening to music—and generally lean more toward alt country or jam bands than anything else, though my taste is fairly eclectic. Dispatch, though they’ve since broken up, is my all-time favorite band, blending reggae, folk, rock and punk into a blend that makes each song unique. I have to also say that “Your Mom,” a Phi Tau band from when I was in college is still one of my favorites.
11. Favorite food? A well-prepared steak tops the list.
12. Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I enjoy the large family gatherings with everyone around the table, and taking time to give thanks for all that we have is something we don’t take enough time to do—having a holiday that encourages us to do just that pushes it to the top of my list.
13. Three people, living or deceased, who you’d invite to the same dinner party? First, my wife, Megan—dinner is a special time in our daily routine where we can catch a bit of respite from a busy day and spend time focusing on each other—I can’t imagine a dinner like this without her. Next, I find inspiration in our country’s leaders, both past and present. Having both John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama to discuss creating positive change in our local, national and global communities would be amazing.
14. Thing you enjoy most about working with Centre students? I look forward to going to work, and that’s due to the caliber of students with whom I get to work each day. The thing I love most about Centre students is their willingness to engage—be it with new subjects in the classroom or the creation of new service activities in our community. With each service trip or abroad experience, Centre students leave a positive impression on their community because of their willingness to engage with those around them.
15. Favorite Centre tradition? Walking through the corridor of faculty members the day of Commencement is a memory that will be with me forever. Seeing the faces of those teachers who had helped to train me in an array of academic areas and prepared me well for life post-graduation was incredible as we began our graduation experience.
16. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre? I would definitely be working as a Camp Director—spending most of my time outside, singing songs around the campfire and helping the next generation appreciate Earth’s richness and diversity.
17. Educational experience that's been most helpful to you? During my sophomore year at Centre, I took the World Religions course with my now friend and colleague, Dr. Rick Axtell. Each week we explored the tenets of a different faith tradition, and each week I would call home and tell my parents, “I think I might be Buddhist…or Hindu…or be converting to Islam.” Rick presented each subject with such fervor and passion that I not only learned about different religions but was challenged to critically examine my own faith. This class taught me the importance of critical reflection and to appreciate the beliefs, values, and faiths of others.
18. Best thing about growing up in your family? I have a big extended family—about 60 of us get together for the holidays at Grandma’s house. Being part of such a large, loving and supportive group of people was one of the best things about my childhood. My younger brother, Daniel, has also been an incredible source of joy and inspiration, and has much to do with my positive outlook on life and my drive to positively impact our community. Spending time with Daniel is priceless.
19. Favorite place on campus (and why)? The Campus Center is definitely my favorite place—not only because my office is there, but because it has truly become the living room for campus. If I were a student, I could see myself spending a lot of time studying and catching up with friends in the comfortable lobby area in front of the first floor fireplaces. This new building is a terrific resource for our campus.
20. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely? Challenge yourself and breathe deep. College is a terrific time to explore personal identity, discover academic passions, and experience positive change on an individual and community level—but none of this would be possible if you don’t step out of your comfort zone and try new things. In order to grow we must all push ourselves past the edge of comfort and to get the most out of college, a student must be willing to take on those new experiences.