DUNWOODY, Ga.–After retiring from a 25-year career in the chemical industry, Ben Tovrog, Ph.D., shifted his focus to helping Perimeter College students succeed.
In 2002, Perimeter hired Tovrog to teach chemistry, something he’d always wanted to do. He’s also a tutor in the college’s Learning and Tutoring Center (LTC).
“I love teaching and would gladly work for free,” Tovrog said.
“But policy doesn’t allow this, so my wife Gail and I decided to recycle my teaching salary and fund a scholarship for deserving Perimeter students.”
The Perimeter College Development Office manages the Tovrog family scholarship which awards multiple scholarships each semester. Establishing the T2W2 fund is one of Tovrog’s proudest accomplishments.
Many of the students that the award helps remind him of himself when he went to college. Tovrog grew up in a working-class community on Chicago’s south side and attended public schools. He struggled in college initially, but credits two chemistry professors for helping him succeed.
“From that experience, I knew I wanted to be a college teacher,” Tovrog said.
But after graduate school, Tovrog would begin his successful career as a researcher and manager at Amoco, one of the nation’s largest chemical companies. Early retirement, 20 years ago, gave him the opportunity to finally fulfill his dream to teach.
“This second career has been richly fulfilling because I get to help students grow and succeed,” Tovrog said, noting that students affectionately call him Dr. Ben.
“I see myself as a coach or personal trainer and the student as an athlete. Athletes learn by doing, receiving instruction and mastering their craft by spending many hours practicing. It’s the same for learning chemistry.”
When not teaching Tovrog works in the Dunwoody Campus LTC, where he said he gets to continue helping students succeed.
In addition to teaching and tutoring, Tovrog enjoys the diversity of Perimeter’s students and being able to use his background in the chemical industry to discuss career success with them.
The chemistry instructor beams when seeing former students realize their potential and occasionally invites them back to Perimeter to share their experiences with current students.
“Every time I hear from former students who have graduated, taken a new job or achieved professional success, it fills me with pride and inspiration.”