With all the lights turned off in the classroom, Dr. Bill Trimyer starts playing music from Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and then makes a full-costume thriller of an entrance from behind a curtain, dancing the Jackson choreography.
The students go crazy, but it's all just part of a class on death and dying that Trimyer co-teaches with Dr. Steven Wray — a class filled with surprises and packed with useful knowledge.
Both professors wear lab coats when they do a lecture on autopsies, just one more little touch that makes this the largest (as in most popular) class on campus.
Trimyer also takes students on international trips — including Israel, Egypt, Greece and Turkey — and to a nearby 700-acre yoga center, where they see what it's like to eat and breathe meditation in a temple. (But not really eat, not there. "On those trips, I take them to Wendy's.")
He praises Averett students, including the athletes. "I always say, if you're not quite good enough to play at Duke, Averett is your second choice."
In addition to teaching at Averett, Trimyer has worked as a trauma center counselor, has served as a church pastor, has been in charge of the university's personal counseling … and is something of an amateur archaeologist. But being professor of religion at Averett, he says, "is the best job I've ever had."
He explains, "It's a small university, so faculty tend to stay here [unlike faculty members at large universities who are more prone to accepting jobs elsewhere], and I really enjoy the people I work with. Our students come here because in a small setting, they can find themselves, discover who they really are. Our faculty help them do that, help them feel at home so that discovery can begin."
Master of Arts, counseling psychology, Goddard College
20+ years teaching at Averett; five years as a hospital chaplain; 20 years as a pastor; 22 as a pastoral counselor
Grief and Bereavement, Childhood Sexual Trauma, The Moral of the Story- Ethical Lessons from Literature and Movies, Ecopsychology, Stress Management, Anger Conflict Management, Spirituality in Business and Commerce, Developing Spiritual Disciplines
Editor of "The Servant," newsletter for Ministry to Ministers Foundation
more than 40 articles, weekly Bible commentary for 10 years for a newspaper and one book published