Dr. Henry Antkiewicz’s life has taken him many different places over the years.
“I am from Detroit,” Antkiewicz said. “I went to the University of Michigan for my B.A. and my M.A., and then I went to Ohio State University for my P.h.D.”
Antkiewicz said that after each degree he decided to do something else. He joined the Peace Corps after he got his bachelor’s degree, and they trained him as a teacher.
“I never thought of myself as a teacher,” Antkiewicz said. “They sent me to Tanzania. When I went there it was still called Tanganyika in East Africa.”
After leaving the Peace Corps, Antkiewicz came back, got a master’s degree and taught at Finley College in Ohio. He received a scholarship and went to Warsaw University in Poland for a year.
“And I came back to do my P.h.D,” Antkiewicz said. “In the mean time I married a lady I met at Finley College.”
Antkiewicz said when he got his P.h.D it was a difficult time to get a job. He said he applied for a job overseas and got an offer at the University of Zambia in South Central Africa, where he and his wife, Susan, stayed for almost ten years.
“We decided to come back to the United States,” Antkiewicz said. “I was unemployed for a year in Detroit. I got a position at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obsipo.”
Antkiewicz said a job emerged at ETSU, and he made an application and sent it in 30 years ago. Today he teaches Russian, Chinese and Japanese history, as well as an online world history course and an introductory American history course for international students. One thing he has noticed over the years is how things have changed.
“Originally there was a considerable amount of money that came into the university from the state of Tennessee,” Antkiewicz said. “And now that amount has changed. It has lessened, and the university has had to figure out how to continue offering its programs by finding different sources of financing for the budget.”
Along with teaching at ETSU, for the past 10 years Antkiewicz takes ETSU students to China.
“We’re trying to arrange a trip this summer,” he said. “I think it’s a very valuable experience for our students to be able to go right on site and see the things that they’ve been studying. I think taking ETSU students to China is one of the most exciting aspects of my stay here.”
Antkiewicz said one of his favorite memories of going to China involves a place called Yellow Mountain.
“It took me 11 hours to climb up to this famous mountain,” Antkiewicz said. “And it took me 20 minutes to come down by cable car.”
Antkiewicz’s advice for students is that they should attempt a language and plan to study abroad.
“Take advantage of everything ETSU has to offer,” Antkiewicz said. “This includes sports, campus recreation – any kind of organizations that are on campus. Get to know a lot of people. Learn what other’s experiences are.”