Dr. Susan Wagner Remembered For Dedication To Students


Written by: Ashley Green (cehdcomm@tamu.edu)
Post date: March 28, 2016

Susan Wagner, clinical associate professor of kinesiology, passed away on March 22nd, after a battle with cancer.  Dr. Wagner spent the past 39 years dedicating herself to students in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University.  She retired in February.

“Dr. Wagner was a consummate professional and one of our most valued and respected professors.  She literally taught her classes until her final days because of her dedication to her students, our department, and our profession.   She will be greatly missed as a friend and colleague but we know that her spirit will live on through the thousands of students and colleagues she has positively impacted throughout her career,” said Dr. Rick Kreider, professor and head of the Department of Health and Kinesiology.

Dr. Wagner received her bachelor’s in physical education from the State University of New York College at Cortland in 1972, her master’s in physical education from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1975 and her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M in 2008.

Dr. Wagner joined Texas A&M as a lecturer in 1977 before becoming a clinical assistant professor in 2008.  During her time at Texas A&M, Dr. Wagner received numerous awards including the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching from the Association of Former Students in 2001, one of the highest awards of recognition at Texas A&M.  She was also chosen as teacher of the year by her students three times: 1999, 2004 and 2010.

Dr. Wagner was also very involved with the College Station Independent School District School Board and the CSISD Education Foundation.  The walls of her office in the Blocker Building were adorned with paintings done by school children from College Station.  She was also very proud of a photo showing the joined hands of children, thanking her for supporting their Head Start/Pre-Kindergarten program more than ten years ago.

Dr. Wagner’s dedication to the craft of teaching physical education and coaching was felt strongest in her students, past and present, who cherished their time with her.  Below are excerpts from the hundreds of emails and handwritten messages sent to Dr. Wagner’s family in appreciation of the impact she had on the lives of her students and colleagues.

In lieu of flowers, Dr. Wagner’s family requests that memorials be sent to the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas, 77840.  Please designate gifts “in memory of Susan Wagner” in the memo line.  Gifts received will be applied to an endowed scholarship being established in Dr. Wagner’s memory for a physical education student in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University.

“I cannot thank you enough for sharing your endless knowledge and passion for teaching. You have made such a positive impact on my life through your love for this profession. You have motivated me to be more than “just a teacher.” Because of you, I thrive to be a leader, a motivator and a life changer…Thank you for being an inspiration and a phenomenal example for our students. You are admired and loved by so many.”  - T.P.

“Words fail me here, because I truly cannot thank you enough for the impact and influence you have made on my life. Since the first day in your class you have made teaching seem less like a job and more like an opportunity. An opportunity to better someone else. An opportunity to better yourself. An opportunity to change lives. I look forward to the opportunity of having the same impact on my students someday…Thanks for being our light.”  - Z.C.

“Swagner, thank you for making your classroom feel like a home.  Thank you for keeping your door open and thank you for sharing your gift of encouragement.  I wasn’t sure where I belonged in college, but the first class of yours I took, one with a curricular foundation of building relationships, showed me that I’d found the right major.  Thank you for teaching by example.  For being there for us; for helping us when we needed it and listening to us when we needed it.”  - B.E.

“Susan Wagner played many roles in my life over the past 20 years.  She was truly one of the best college professors that I had at Texas A&M.  She was loved by her students; but what’s most important is that she loved us back, and we knew and felt it.  How many teachers can you say that about?  She taught me more about Pedagogy through her own incredible teaching style than I could have ever learned from any textbook. After I graduated, she became my mentor but more importantly, she was my friend! She was a beautiful example of how to treat others and the countless students’ lives she touched will forever be changed because of her inspirational influence.  She instilled in me a love for "teaching" and for that I will be forever grateful.”  - Mary Beth Henthorne, Instructional Assistant Professor

“I knew Susan to be the consummate professional educator in every sense of the word.  She had the heart of a servant-teacher, always stepping forward to volunteer for committee work, course revisions, curriculum improvement, and program evaluation – she did whatever was needed to help our department and improve the experience of our students.  And whatever she did, she did well, with her whole heart, to the best of her ability. She never short-changed her work or her students.  The faculty had nothing but the utmost respect for Susan, admired her dedication to her students, and received from her inspiration to do better themselves.  HLKN will most surely miss her.  She leaves behind a legacy of grateful and well-prepared students shaped into professionals due in large part to Susan’s influence in their lives.”  - Stephen Crouse, Ph.D., Professor

“I remember when Susan joined our faculty as a young woman in her early twenties. From the very beginning she was an excellent teacher with outstanding professional citizenship qualities. Her students loved her and so did our faculty. When I became department head I "inherited" many outstanding faculty, but none more outstanding than Susan. We were all enriched by her presence. My thoughts and prayers are for her family and all of us who feel such a great sense of loss.”  - Leonard Ponder, Professor Emeritus