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Teacher of the Issue: Captain Robert W. Boyce

Teacher of the Issue - Boyce - Yank and Flan
Captain Boyce takes a selfie

We discuss the life of a teacher who has done almost everything imaginable.
Ben Yankelitis, Mike Flanagan

Captain Robert Boyce has become an important figure at our campus after coming to Malvern in 2001. From his transcendent knowledge regarding chemistry, to his stories which never fail to excite, CAPT. Boyce has effectively disseminated his wisdom to the privileged few who have been graced by his company. We sat down with him to see how his life has brought him to such stardom, starting with his upbringing.

Boyce told us he is, “a Delaware County Boy, from a place called Fernwood, part of Upper Darby Township.” He grew up and attended Bonner. Father Melton, his counselor, was a very important figure in his life.

Melton helped get Boyce a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. With this scholarship, Boyce went on to join the Navy because, “he liked the military and thought everyone should serve.” He did not think he would go on to be a career naval officer, but in fact he did.

After serving 26 years in the Navy, Captain Boyce had three children in college and four more on the path to college. He needed more income to support his children. He had three job offers; one from the Hanford in Washington, General Electric RCA in New Jersey, and one from the Philadelphia Electric Company in Limerick.

Boyce took the job in Limerick and said he, “believed fate had something to do with it, because my late wife was diagnosed with cancer here in Philadelphia where she got care she would have never gotten any place else.”

At the plant Boyce initially helped to reduce costs and increase efficiency and later worked with acquisitions. He had the chance to participate in many business deals. While reducing overtime for workers to reduce costs Boyce even received two death threats that were investigated by the FBI. Thankfully, nothing happened to the Captain.

From these experiences Captain Boyce has derived several important lessons which he has brought to the classroom.

First and foremost is Integrity. In his previous occupations, work could not be done without integrity. Dealing with nuclear submarines and power plants required honesty and accountability. This holds true with the classroom.

According to Boyce, integrity is vital in a student-teacher relationship, and it’s a two-way street. Students need to put forward their own work, and teachers can’t take lessons from professors and claim them as their own. Respect has to exist from teacher to student and from student to teacher in order for a class to be successful.

The second lesson is the consistent application of rules, or standards. Without expectations set by a teacher, a student has no goal to be aiming at, which can lead to a lack in performance. A teacher is also responsible with providing applicable education. Captain Boyce mentioned that one of his students, “learned more about life than about physics” which isn’t a bad thing.

Finally, a teacher needs to reinforce the principles set forth. Standards are meaningless if they do not also have enforcement to go with it. He ran a strict ship, which ensured the safety of the crew he oversaw. The enforcement of vital rules and codes allowed him to navigate his vessel about the open seas.

Captain Boyce has done a lot in his life, including selfie-taking. When asked if he would host a Community Time story telling session he said, “Yes.”

About Ben Yankelitis

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2 comments

  1. Douglas Henson, RMCS(SS) USN-Ret, Crew Member USS Narwhal

    Thank you Captain for your long and distinguished career in and out of our beloved U.S.Navy. I have always considered you and Vice Admiral Michael Colley, to be the finest Naval Officers, I ever had the pleasure to serve with.

    I am so pleased that you are continuing to educate young people with your values, the Lord knows our young people and our Country need help in these troubling times.

    I left active service when I left Narwhal in1978, but continued to serve in the Naval Reserves completing 26 years of service in1994. I have enjoyed a wonderful career as a civilian, working in the engineering field supporting NASA during the Space Shuttle Program, and then Special Programs in support of other projects. I retired when I turned 62 and now life in Florida with my wife, and am now battling cancer. I wish you fair winds and following seas.

    • Thank you. I too learned from Admiral Colley,who has recently passed away. The future of the world lies in the hands of this young generation and they need to be holistically educated especially in the sciences. God Speed.

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