Spotlight on Steve Waller

31 May 2023

Jon E. Marquette,

Native Language Instructor           


The ebullient, dapper and debonair, Mr. Steve Waller, Professor, University of Cantebury, England, was recently our esteemed Guest of Honor, who visited us 3 – 5 April, 2023. Steve is a Linguist and a respected Educator, of whom served as our host including both our English Branch Chief, Alexandra Csongor and our Director, Dr. Vilmos Warta, in August 2022.

“It was great fun to serve as host representing the University of Canterbury to a delegation of Hungarian Educators and Linguistic Professionals. It was a very exotic group to us here at Canterbury and exceedingly rare to meet such a fine representation of Hungary’s finest Linguists. We were all so very delighted you came,” Steve remarked regarding last August’s visit.

“Better Call Steve,” as he is affectionately referred to by both his colleagues and students, serves as the university’s, “Mr. Fix-it,” a mystic guru known and appreciated for his effective problem-solving acumen, negotiating skills and divinely gifted in achieving win-win results.

“In April, it was our turn to acknowledge Steve’s graciousness and warmly invite him to our Medical School,” Vilmos stated, adding, “We were honored to host such a noble gentleman and a legend in his own time, so say his colleagues.”

Monday’s arrival served both as an introductory welcome and orientation, warmly offered by Dr. Alexandra Csongor, English Branch Chief.

“I had met Steve during our visit to Canterbury and so it was only natural Steve should recognize but a familiar face stepping off the train from Budapest, which arrived to Pecs, mid-day,” Szandi remarked.

“Enchanting ride down, quite mesmerizing,” Steve remarked, adding, “It’s not my first visit here, I have friends in Budapest. The lush country side Central Hungary is widely known for is a romantic interlude European train rides are famous for. This was my first visit to the Medical School and truthfully speaking, I’m honored.”

The department’s “ice breaker” was affectionately kicked-off Monday evening and soon developed into a soiree of epic proportions, held at a local favorite, “Bazar.”

Following his opening speech, Vilmos gracefully introduced all in attendance. Soon the momentum revved up into overdrive as Steve unleashed his eclectic sense of humor, wit and entrancing wizardry on our unsuspecting souls.

The arrival of Tuesday morning saw Steve and Reni as VIP Guests to Jon’s class,
“Presentation Techniques,” which was reportedly nothing what Jon had described the night before.

“Obviously, I was misled and hoodwinked as I had expected something far different than a power point presentation on ice fishing on the Canadian/US border. One is baffled at how this might serve the best interests of Hungarian Medical School students, yet Jon’s use of a very special word, “discombobulate,” brought smiles to both myself and Reni, as this was a topic of discussion back in August, in Canterbury,” Steve recounted.

Following class, Steve and Jon departed Korhaz Ter for a cook’s tour of the Medical School, highlighted by VIP Tour of the MediSkills Lab, in which Misi gracefully introduced Steve to a host of Medical Mannequins.

“Quintessentially, your MediSkills Lab is Europe’s best kept secret regarding Simulated Medical Education, Steve commented, noting, “I hadn’t expected to witness the level of technology nor the realism nestled in this area of operations and it was very impressive, chillingly so.”

Steve’s seminar was planned for Wednesday, a behemoth six hour marathon in which he shared personal classroom strategies regarding education, in particular, his student population, which is rich in diverse global cultures.

“Steve simply held court and entranced those of us in attendance, which was more of a discussion when contrasted with a Lecture. I, including several others, were consumed with a renewed sense of inspiration regarding classroom education and many of us were mentally making notes,” Aniko fondly recalled.

Steve proved to be inspirational in areas of education, particular, those which too often prove difficult. A diverse student population is welcomed to most educators scanning the horizon the first day of class, yet it comes with a cultural divide which the instructor must effectively bridge.

Motivating shy, modest students to verbalize their opinion in the classroom is yet another example many educators find impossible. Steve generously shared seasoned strategies and openly proved it when engaging his audience Wednesday morning.

Is humor appropriate during the Medical Examination? Steve’s insightfulness led us in ways which humor can sometimes placate patients and their family members. It is distinctively unique, subject to flexibility and dependent upon personalities.

“Steve’s sense of humor found some of us rolling in the aisles, welcomed relief considering we were at Week 9, the Spring Semester, and at a full gallop regarding our curriculums. The fact we could push back from teaching but for one day and enjoy Steve’s presentation was delightful,” Reni stated.

Wednesday evening’s Farewell Dinner honoring our Guest of Honor was held at the Piccola Toscana Restaurant. As the evening’s conversation increased in both volume and intensity, smiles soon broke out upon hearing Steve recount his recent experiences to our Medical School.

None of which could have been made possible without the professional effort and expertise of our department’s Guardian Angel, Ms. Judit Nemeth, Head of Office, Rector’s Cabinet.

Judit authorized the funding in support of Steve’s visit and Dr. Vilmos and his entire staff are forever grateful for her support.