Students say farewell to Judge Bachman PDF Print E-mail
Written by RACHEL GAST Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:32
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Former Bowling Green Municipal Court Judge Jim Bachman smiles as BGSU students file past him, thanking him on his last day of teaching. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green State University students and professors interrupted class last week to say farewell to Judge James Bachman. Bachman spent six years as a prosecuting attorney, eight years as a defense attorney and 18 years as a judge in the Bowling Green Municipal Court. After he retired from the bench, he decided to teach criminal justice at BGSU. Thursday, April 25 was his last day of teaching.
His colleague, Dr. Christine Englebrecht, organized a farewell party in the BGSU Health Center as well as a mob of students and professors to file into Judge Bachman's last class to say good bye.
"I don't know if he likes surprises," Englebrecht said. "But I knew he would love to see all of his students wish him luck."
"It's hard to put into words how much Judge Bachman means to the students," she explained. "We needed to show him how much he means to the criminal justice program and to the university."
The Justice Student Association presented Bachman with a gift, rendering the judge speechless.
After the class stood to applaud, Bachman thanked them and told them about the two times he asked Englebrecht to meet him for lunch, only to be distracted by a student's questions. "I was too afraid to call her and ask a third time."
Englebrecht said, "When a student asks for help, he drops everything," which includes lunch plans.
"You can't get mad about it," Englebrecht said, laughing. "That story is the epitome of the judge."
"Although he's retiring, he's already told me that if the students need anything to just call him."
Michelle Lucius said Bachman was "a fun teacher." Senior Justin Romie said "Judge Bachman is an intelligent, experienced professor who is always willing to help students. He helps students get a great introduction to the criminal justice program."
Bachman said Introduction to Criminal Justice is his favorite class to teach. "Most of the students are first-year students and they're coming out of high school. It's my job to help them transition from high school to college."
The lifelong resident of Bowling Green emphasized to his freshman students "that no matter what profession you're going into, you need to start thinking about it now. Do something now in the profession you want to enter after graduation."
It wasn't hard for Bachman to shift from jurist to professor. "Before I was a judge, I was a lawyer. My wife's a lawyer too, so we attended a lot of legal conferences. I started teaching other lawyers in the area" what he had learned at conferences.
His mother, father and sister were all teachers as well, "So it's ingrained in us, I suppose."
Bachman said his philosophy, passed down from his grandparents, is "As long as God gives you two feet and a good mind, you should be out working." Bachman has been a judge, lawyer, or teacher since 1963.
"Until I find my next employment, my wife does have a number of things she's wanted me to do for many months."
Englebrecht said, "It wasn't hard to get students to show up," to surprise him in his classroom, "despite it being the last week of classes. I can honestly say Judge Bachman cares about each and every student."
 

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