Completing his fourth year at Andover, Michael Legaspi, Instructor and Interim Chair in Philosophy and Religious Studies (RelPhil), will continue his passion for teaching religion at Penn State University next year.
“I love Andover, and I have a lot of affection for this place. I always have and always will. Teaching here has been a real joy simply by being able to come into the classroom every day and work with students who are bright, intellectually curious and highly motivated,” said Legaspi.
Besides teaching and serving as the Interim Chair in RelPhil, Legaspi served as Assistant Coach of JV Football, Assistant Coach in Boys Squash, House Counselor in Stearns and Samaritan House and Complementary House Counselor in America House. He was also the faculty advisor for Southeast Asian Club and Philosophy Club.
Legaspi’s relationship with Andover goes back to 2001, when he began teaching at Andover’s Summer Session.
“I see Andover more through my kids’ experiences than anything else because this place has opened up their eyes and made them so much stronger, independent and competent. One reason why this place is so special is that it’s built on relationships and everyone here is striving toward the same common goal,” said Legaspi.
“We are trying to be the best that we can be, and what I like about Andover is that rather than have that be a competitive and hostile reality, it’s what brings us together and brings us closer so we have a sense of shared struggle and suffering,” he continued.
As a professor in classics and Jewish studies at Penn State, Legaspi will continue teaching courses in Judaism, Christianity and the Bible and will be required to write, publish and maintain an active research agenda.
“I’ll be going a lot to libraries [and] conferences and pumping out articles and books on religious topics, so it’s going to be demanding from that aspect,” said Legaspi.
Though he looks forward to his new position, Legaspi expressed that the one thing he will miss the most about Andover vwill be the students and sharing his passion for religion and philosophy with them.
“I can’t think of anything more fond and satisfying than helping students pursue the big questions in life, and it has been a privilege to explain these ideas to such intellectual and bright students,” said Legaspi.
Legaspi added the only part of the Andover experience that he will not miss is the active pace of life.
“I think it’s a really stressful environment for everyone, students of course, but teachers as well. I think it’s hard to have a family and personal life and doing everything in a way you want to, so I’m looking forward to a more manageable pace of life,” he said.
Outside of the classroom walls, Legaspi said that one of the most memorable experiences he’s shared with the Andover community was during this past year’s Andover/Exeter Day.
“I’m a huge football fan, and when we finally beat Exeter in such a dramatic way, I think that was probably the most intense Andover community experience. I remember we were all caught up in it, but I think it was so awesome to not just beat them but to beat them so dramatically,” said Legaspi.
While teaching at Andover, Legaspi stayed active in the academic world, continued his research, went to conferences and kept the desire for publication and research alive.
His hard work paid off in 2011 when he won the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise for doctoral research and book “The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies.” After receiving the award, Legaspi was invited to speak at universities all across the country, including Harvard, Princeton and Duke, as well as Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Vincent Avery, Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, said “As a colleague, I will miss [Legaspi] most for his breadth of vision and sensitivity. He wears his considerable scholarship lightly, clearly relishes initiating young people into the joys of inquiry and cares deeply about good education. He is a fine teacher, and we will miss him.”