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Retired General Takes on New Mission at Virginia Wesleyan University

Senior Citizen Audit Program Adding Diversity and Experience to Campus Culture

University News | September 12, 2023

Retired Air Force Brigadier General David A. Herrelko is no stranger to new challenges. After a prominent military career followed by a stint teaching at the University of Dayton, the 75-year-old has embarked on a new mission of lifelong learning at Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU). 

Since spring of 2020, General Herrelko has been a regular figure on campus, auditing a series of courses that piqued his interest. His academic journey began with Professor Diana Risk’s SPN 375 course, "Mexican Art and Culture", and has expanded to include upper-level Spanish classes with Professor Felipe Hugueno and a deep dive into German comedy with Professor Susan Wansink. 

Now, he's expanding his intellectual horizons even further, immersing himself in the world of ancient North African authors under the guidance of Professor Haller in the Classics department. According to General Herrelko, this has been a "rich, deep, rewarding seminar" that is led by a real expert in the field. 

General Herrelko brings to the VWU community a rich background that spans various fields including engineering and avionics. His educational accomplishments range from a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T to a Ph.D. from UCLA, topped by a recent B.A. in Ancient/Classical Greek from Wright State University. 

VWU's vibrant community has welcomed General Herrelko with open arms, offering him a warm and receptive space to continue his learning journey. From the first friendly greeting by Eddie of campus security, to the diligent assistance of the library staff, Herrelko notes that VWU has been a "healthy, happy place" to learn and grow. 

An integral part of the VWU experience is the caring faculty, who are invested in the holistic development of their students. As Herrelko remarks, the professors here are truly attentive, taking the time to genuinely engage with students and foster a nurturing environment where everyone feels heard. 

General Herrelko appreciates the unique dynamic of VWU’s classrooms, where students of all ages come together to exchange ideas. He believes that the intergenerational dialogue enriches the learning experience, providing younger students the opportunity to gain insights from someone with a wealth of life and professional experiences. 

Beyond the classroom, VWU has provided a space for meaningful connections and mentoring opportunities. Herrelko enjoys being a part of this vibrant community, where relationships bloom through shared learning and experiences. 

In embracing the spirit of lifelong learning, General Herrelko demonstrates that education is a journey without an endpoint. Through his positive experiences at VWU, he illustrates the enriching potential of embracing new learning opportunities at any stage of life. His story serves as an inspiration, a testament to the enriching experience VWU offers to learners of all ages. 

For more information or to audit a course, please contact Virginia Wesleyan University’s Office of Enrollment at 757.455.3208 or enrollment@vwu.edu.