The Final Novembeard

Professor+emeritus+David+Wagner+taught+European+history+at+NIU%0Abetween+1961+and+2005.+During+that+time%2C+he+sported+%28and+continues%0Ato+keep%29+what+he+claims+to+be+the+%22oldest+continuous+beard+on%0Acampus.%22+His+wife+of+over+30+years+says+she%27s+never+seen+him%0Awithout+it.%0A

Professor emeritus David Wagner taught European history at NIU between 1961 and 2005. During that time, he sported (and continues to keep) what he claims to be the "oldest continuous beard on campus." His wife of over 30 years says she's never seen him without it.

Connor Rice

This has certainly been a hair-brained experiment.

I felt relatively alone in this year’s Novembeard. None of my friends participated with me, and the people I saw around campus led me to believe shaving is pretty “in” right now.

But I’m not embarrassed or depressed by this fact. On the contrary, now that it’s come to an end, I’m thankful.

It should go without saying that as we grow, we learn things about ourselves. This applies both to growing up and growing beards. As I’ve progressed throughout the month, I’ve been forced to mull some things over, from my crippling social anxieties to the societal implications of No Shave November. Being held to a weekly column has required me to give a second thought to ideas that I more or less took for granted.

This beard (if you can really call it that) is a symbol of everything I’ve learned about myself this month. I feel it to be indicative of newfound knowledge. By isolating (and insulating) with my facial hair, I gained a perspective I didn’t have before.

So, readers, I encourage you: grow a beard. This doesn’t have to be a “beard” beard, though. It’s more like a metaphorical beard. Try looking at life differently somehow. Take a step back and consider everything, no matter how ludicrous it may seem. Let your mind wander, and it will come back to you with new insight.

Wise men are often portrayed with long, flowing beards. I’m nowhere on that level yet, but now I understand why.

Professor emeritus David Wagner taught European history at NIU between 1961 and 2005. During that time, he sported (and continues to keep) what he claims to be the “oldest continuous beard on campus.” His wife of over 30 years says she’s never seen him without it. The Northern Star caught up with him to get some of the stats.

Date of last shave: Summer of ‘64

Grooming techniques: Cut and wash

Favorite beard (besides your own): Ernest Hemmingway

Certainty that you have the oldest beard on campus: 99 percent sure