Bill Peacy’s seventh- and eighth-grade science teachers inspired him to be inquisitive about the universe.
“I did a research project looking at spontaneous generation of life, a simple experiment from the 19th century. It was my beginning to follow the scientific method,” he said. “While in high school, my chemistry teacher encouraged me to follow my abilities into the sciences. I enjoyed his class and decided to focus on chemistry. While enrolled in advanced chemistry class, he allowed me to spend my free period helping him with the lab for the first-year chem class. I really enjoyed helping the students and passing my knowledge to them.”
While in high school, Peacy also began tutoring students who were having trouble with basic math. The high school director thought it would be better to set aside one time to help all of the students, so Peacy got a classroom and, in essence, was teaching a basic math class.
After starting at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Peacy enjoyed helping several students in his dorm who were in the standard chemistry course. Several years later, he even married one of these students.
Peacy initially took time off from school to become a police officer in order to provide for his new family. When he returned to grad school, he thought he wanted to be a high school teacher and began taking courses for certification at Northeastern Illinois University.
“After several clinicals in my education courses along with my duties as a juvenile officer, I decided to change my focus and teach college-age students,” he said. “My advisor, who was also the Chemistry Department chair, loved the idea and gave me every opportunity to help students in need of academic assistance. He even hired me to teach as a part-time instructor. He was so supportive after my teaching assignment that he found me my first full-time teaching position, so I transitioned from a police officer to a chemistry professor.”
Peacy has taught chemistry at Northeastern Illinois University, Olney Central College and Triton College. He then became an associate dean of Technology, Math and Physical Sciences at Waubonsee Community College. In 2005, he came to College of DuPage and currently teaches general chemistry and Introduction to Forensic Science and Chemistry.
He wants his students to gain the knowledge required to succeed in their chosen program.
“In my classes, I hope the students learn chemical information and are able to apply the knowledge to chemical problem solving,” he said. “I also hope the students gain critical thinking skills that can be used in day-to-day life.”
In looking back on his education and career, Peacy remembers the teachers who inspired him to do his best.
“My high school teacher, Mr. Morlot Williams, taught our class advanced chemistry without textbooks. He was, and still is, an adjunct faculty member at College of Lake County. I wanted to be like him as a teacher,” he said.
“My advisor and chemistry professor in grad school was another big inspiration. Dr. Paul Poskozim had the philosophy that it isn’t always the answer that is important, but the path to reach the answer. He believed that logical and scientific support of your ideas was just as important, if not more so, as the correct answer. In short, it is OK to think outside the box.
“Lastly, my dad is one of my greatest inspirations. Through his health problems and the other health tribulations in our family, he keeps a positive attitude and remains very active. He believes in moving forward and not giving up while also being realistic. I hope I can be half the man he is.”