View the photos full screen or see the Flickr set to get a closer look at Professor Long. Photos by Nick Onken.
Why Students Cheer for this Science-loving Superhero.
Who is 6’6”, wrestles deer for a living, and uses Lucky Charms and Tang to power up every morning? It may sound like some eccentric new comic book hero, but guess again! Meet Assistant Professor of Biology Eric Long. Though this Pennsylvania native joined the Seattle Pacific University community only three years ago, the student body named him the 2008–09 Professor of the Year.
No matter how daunting the course, his class rosters fill up fast. Why? It may have something to do with his PowerPoints. Take something normal — such as learning about turtles in vertebrate biology — and Dr. Long makes it hilarious by blaring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles music in the background and showing YouTube videos of turtle fights. While he might claim his presentations are the result of fatigue-caused delusion, students never fall asleep during class.
Or perhaps Dr. Long’s classes fill up because of his fascinating research. Who doesn’t want to hear about adventures with mountain lions, or how to capture deer with helicopters and rocket nets? Students who visit SPU’s Blakely Island Field Station to take summer field classes can witness Dr. Long’s current blacktail deer research firsthand, and understand just what it takes to be a wildlife biologist. But above all, students take Dr. Long’s classes because he deeply respects undergraduates, and works hard to get to know students. He helps students understand difficult concepts, and often discusses the challenges of reconciling Christian faith and science with students over coffee. Outside the classroom, he spikes volleyballs and dunks basketballs with students on intramural sports teams.
And it doesn’t end there. Countless dinners and game nights have taken place within the welcoming walls of the Long home. Both Dr. Long and his wife, Carina, are involved outside the SPU community as well, serving as small-group leaders for Quest Church in Seattle.
Of course, no one is without his or her flaws. Forsaking the advice of dentists, Dr. Long has been known to gulp down gallons of Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper, his favorite sodas. And, be wary of this prof when playing board games. He has a treacherous side, and you might see it. Despite his defects, Dr. Long’s popularity is well-deserved.