Professor Bohdan Pikas
Professor Bodhan Pikas has been at Niagara University for the past 43 years. Pikas may not be the youngest professor on campus, yet the man who grew up in the strawberry plantations in a house with no water or electricity knows how to connect and relate to his students. He not only has a passion for marketing, but for teaching as well. This is what makes Pikas one of the most intriguing professors on campus.
The U.S. Army Calvary veteran, attended college at the University of New Haven where he met his wife and graduated with an undergraduate degree in three years. He then continued his education at the University of Buffalo where he earned his MBA in one year. Ready to move to New York City for a job in the investment field, Pikas received a call from chairman Dr. Ockerman at NU offering him a position in marketing. When accepting the position at age 38, Pikas became the youngest full-time professor in NU’s school of business.
Initially, Pikas was under the impression that he was teaching marketing, but when entering the classroom he was handed an economic and finance book. Having a minor in economics and finance Pikas knew what he was talking about, but teaching five courses and preparing for each was more than expected.
“We spent all night working on it, No PowerPoint’s!” Pikas said. “I’d walk into class with 30 pages of preparation and half way through the class the kids knew I was in trouble and I knew I was in trouble.”
He quickly learned a valuable lesson from his wife. She told him, “You’re just reading, you’re not teaching.” From that point forward Pikas had his new motto for teaching – “If I’m going to suffer, I’m going to have fun,” he said. “I began talking to the students like they were human” Pikas said.
If you’ve ever sat through any of Pikas’ classes you know he does just that – treats your like you’re human. He is straight forward, to the point, realistic and prepares you for the real world of business.
“I consider them my kids, I watch out for them. When someone talks bad about them, they have to answer to me,” Pikas said while describing his connection to his students. “I walk into the classroom and I enjoy my kids. I enjoy the ability to joke.”
Recently, Pikas began working with students, aiding them through the process that leads to getting their work published in professional journals. “Those are great moments,” he said. “I can go in and teach and get some great laughs going, but that type of thing is really cool.”
Pikas treasures every day when he teaches. It is difficult for him to think of just one most-prized moment.
He doesn’t only care about the success of his students, but more importantly their success in the real world. He prepares students for what they don’t expect and he loves a challenge in class.
When asked how he connects with his students, he could not really answer. “I’m certainly not their age group,” he joked.
However, one could argue he is more on top of what’s up and coming than his students. One thing is for sure – he’s got passion. His passion for marketing, teaching and for his students’ accomplishments leads him to encourage all to be curious. “Curiosity will get you anything. You’re nothing without it,” he said.