E.G. Hallum, Rogers State University’s longest-serving professor, is retiring after 37 years at RSU.
The professor of communication came to RSU in 1970 “for just a little while,” but said he and his wife, Jeanette, fell in love with Claremore and the pair decided to make it their home.
As a professional actor and spokesperson, Hallum has acted in films and on stage and made numerous radio and television commercials during his career. His acting credits, in addition to many stage productions, include a role in the 1989 Weird Al Yankovic movie “UHF” and the long-running OETA mini-series “Oklahoma Passage.” He has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
While on sabbatical in New York, he studied acting with Lee Strasberg of Actors Studio. Among other projects, he performed in “The Trial and Death of Socrates” at Lincoln Center.
Early in his career, he toured Asia and the South Pacific with the U.S.O. and performed in several seasons of summer stock. In 1980 he received the Governor’s Arts Award for outstanding direction of “Will Rogers at Home,” a highly successful professional amphitheater production in Claremore.
Hallum was born in south central Oklahoma and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he earned Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Art degrees, both with honors. He is retiring after 43 years in higher education and prior to coming to RSU taught at Midwestern University in Texas.
“I returned to Oklahoma when my father died and had no intention of staying in Claremore, thinking I wouldn’t like what was then a two-year college,” Hallum said. “Little did I know that a four-year university would come to me right here in Claremore.”
During his tenure at the university Hallum has been division director of fine arts, director of numerous theater productions, member of the faculty senate, chair of the Academic Policies Committee, consultant for a Title III Teacher Improvement Process and a recipient of both the Pixley Award and the Herrington Award for excellence in teaching. Hallum said his list of past students include former Senator Stratton Taylor.
“Fairly early in my career, I came to believe that teaching is almost a sacred enterprise having three basic commandments: Thou shall know thy subject; Thou shall not be boring; Thou shall love thy students as thyself. All else is footnotes.”
Hallum was well-liked by students, staff and faculty, said Dr. Jeffery Gentry, head of RSU’s Department of Communications and Fine Arts.
“His experience as a professional actor and spokesman has infused his teaching with unmatched credibility,” Gentry said. “An educator like that is impossible to replace.”
Recently at a retirement party in his honor, Gentry presented Hallum with a plaque to commemorate his 37 years of distinguished teaching, service and scholarship to RSU.
“He has a great sense of humor and will always be a treasured friend and colleague. He will be missed, but his contributions continue through his impact on thousands of students in this area over many years,” said Gary Moeller, RSU professor of liberal arts. “He has made our community a far better place.”
Hallum said he will miss teaching but is looking forward to retirement. He and his wife plan to travel, possibly to Ireland and Greece, and he plans to occasionally teach a class at RSU as well as do some volunteer work.
“Rogers State University has been a rewarding experience for me. I will miss so much seeing my students and colleagues each day. Both have been wonderful,” he said.