BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College recently celebrated the impact of longtime psychology professor, Dr. John Hull, during a Last Lecture titled “By the Numbers” that welcomed students, alumni, colleagues, family and friends.
Hull shared that he has a lifelong love of numbers, although he didn’t typically excel in math classes but did well in statistics. That success foreshadowed a Bethany career that spanned more than four decades during which he taught more than two dozen unique courses, including statistics.
Hull arrived at Bethany College in 1976 and is currently the college’s longest-serving faculty member.
Hull has led students to the Eastern Psychology Association annual meetings for more than 40 years, and he has co-authored papers and presentations with more than 110 Bethany students
“There is a word in the legal system that I, at least, do not use in statistics,” Hull said. “Those of you who have had statistics with me know about the ‘P’ word, don’t you? What’s the word we don’t say? Yes. Proof. … We don’t prove anything in statistics. … The legal system talks about proof. Statistics talks about probability. Those are two very different types.”
Statistics, he said, is about finding out the probability of something happening by chance. If chance alone produced a result of less than 5 percent, it’s considered statistically significant research, but there is always a chance that something happened by chance alone.
“And as a human being – or as human beings, I include myself in this – we tend to see connections where connections don’t exist,” Hull said. “We tend to try to see probability of prediction where randomness moves. That’s what we do.”
In his introduction, Provost and Dean of Faculty Dr. Joe Lane described Hull as a teacher who genuinely cares for his students and who invests his time to make sure they learn.
“In his 46 years, psychology has emerged as not only Bethany College’s most subscribed major but its most productive major, Lane said. The department that Dr. Hull has built and represented is the finest and the graduates of that program have walked out of the Oglebay Gates to remarkable graduate school placements, professional positions and career accomplishments that really stagger the imagination. We have Dr. John Hull to thank for this extraordinary record, and we will continue to see the fruits of his labors and the work of our alumni for many years to come.
The lecture is available on Bethany’s YouTube channel.
A reception for faculty, staff and alumni followed the lecture at Christman Manor at Pendleton Heights.
Lane presented Hull with a Bethany College table lamp as a memento of his time at Bethany.
About Bethany College
Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.