Q&A with Cole McClure, adjunct professor of theology & ministry
by Charles Aldrich
Cole McClure is an adjunct professor teaching in RU's Department of Ministry and Theology. This semester he is teaching Family Life Ministry and Survey of Biblical Literature. He serves as pastor at Valley Church in Burton.
What brought you to RU and why do you choose to work here?
"I was a student here, and my family—a lot of my siblings—went here. My parents met here, so I have a long legacy. I love the community here at RU. People are generous, caring and thoughtful, and it's tight knit. I want to invest in students, and I want to give back to an institution that gave me a good start."
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
"Seeing students have transformations. To have believed or felt a particular way at the beginning of the course and to have come to new conclusions and choosing to be different people because of coursework that we did. That’s really rewarding."
What do you do outside your job to stay sane? What are your hobbies?
"My other full-time job is working as a pastor and it’s similar work and rewarding in similar ways. To unload and relieve stress, I hang out with my wife and daughters and that’s great. I get alone time on my drive to and from Flint, because it's an hour drive, so I can podcast or listen to whatever I want and just kind of unwind. I’m a pretty active person so I take on building projects and get exercise walking my dogs."
Where did you grow up?
"I grew up in Flint, Michigan, and went to a small, private, Christian school there."
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Rochester area?
"I love the woods behind the college. The trails and the woods are great for running and walking and just sitting by the river. It’s always been my favorite part about Rochester, and a short distance away you’ve got restaurants and shops all around."
What is your most embarrassing moment?
"My most truly embarrassing moment at Rochester was failing a theology course, and then interestingly, going on to become a theology and ministry professor. It’s embarrassing because I just didn’t do the work. I paid all this money and I was with professors that are respected. I was engaged in lectures, but I just didn’t turn in the work. I had a professor chastise me, and I walked out with my tails between my legs. I decided I wasn't going to do that again."
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
"I’ve been pretty fortunate to not have a ton of big obstacles. I think more often than not I get in my own way so I’m kind of my biggest obstacle often—my own selfishness, greed or pride or my desire to be right. Those are the types of really regular obstacles, but I’m fortunate to not have a moment where I’ve lost a loved one or anything like that. I would say the small obstacle of myself is probably the biggest one for me."
What single piece of advice would you give to students today?
"Be present in your experience in college just engage in it– everything about it. Engage with people, meet people’s eyes, get to know them. You get one shot at it. That’s true for everything in life, but yeah, finding presence, in what is a really cool time in your life, is a hard thing to do. But it’d be what I encourage you to do."
If someone were to describe you in one word what would it be and why?
"People describe me with many different words, some are kind and some are not. I’m pretty bright. Not in the intelligent sort of way, necessarily. I mean just a joyful, excited and exuberant person. So maybe ‘bright’ would be a good one."