The professor with the light saber is how many students know Joseph Pelletier, former assistant professor of psychology and director of research for the School of Behavioral Sciences.
The self-proclaimed “Star Wars” geek has been one of the most popular professors since he started teaching at California Baptist University, but to the surprise of many, he will not be returning this year.
Pelletier has made the move back to his native Texas, where he will be teaching at Houston Baptist University.
The decision to move to Texas was family-motivated. Pelletier’s son, Ford, had been struggling with some health issues and the Pelletier family felt that they were being called back to their home state.
“We prayed on it and came to this decision to go back to Texas,” Pelletier said.
Pelletier’s position at HBU will be similar to the one he held at CBU. He is currently teaching three introductory classes and two graduate classes.
He and his family are currently living with his in-laws in Houston.
Pelletier said the move has been an emotional one, and he refrained from telling students about his departure largely for that fact.
He spoke of CBU with heartfelt words and love and said what he will miss most are the people.
“The faculty and the students were like family,” he said. Pelletier’s personable nature and relatability were not the only characteristics that made him popular among students.
His teaching abilities were equally impactful. “It’s easy to be a good professor when you have good students,” Pelletier said.
Students said they have not only enjoyed being in class with Pelletier, but they have also been inspired by him as well.
Madi Gonzales, sophomore liberal studies major, first experienced Pelletier’s class when she sat in on his lecture during an official visit to CBU for water polo.
“I fell in love with his teaching style; he’s just very captivating,” Gonzales said.
Gonzalez also recalls Pelletier’s kind demeanor and attitude and said he always catered to his students while being a servant to God.
“He taught me many things about life in general, and being a man in particular,” said John Holloway, senior political science major.
Although he will be missed, people have wished him nothing but the best.
“Dr. Pelletier was a valuable member of the School of Behavioral Sciences psychology faculty,” said Dr. Jacqueline Gustafson, dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences. “We wish him great success and happiness in his next chapter of life in Texas. However, we will miss his enthusiasm, energy and passion for research in the social sciences.”