Science Athlete Extraordinaire

Contributing Writer


Adam Tournier with Bogey
Adam Tournier with Bogey

Adam Tournier has been a professor of science at McKendree University for five years. Having his Ph. D in Physics Quantum Electronics, Adam, which is what he likes to be called by his students and faculty, teaches general science classes, such as Astronomy and Concepts in Science. Adam also teaches upper level science classes for students pursuing a physics engineering minor. Each fall semester, he likes to add a general university class for first year students called University 101, which is a general education requirement for all McKendree students. Adam’s favorite class to teach is his second semester calculus-based Physics Electricity and Magnetism.

Adam was born in upstate New York. Throughout his childhood he lived in many different places like New York, Connecticut, Scotland, Arkansas, Virginia and Michigan. He moved around every three years due to his father’s job. As a high school graduate, he attended the University of Michigan on a full wrestling scholarship. By the middle of his second semester his first year, he was asked to leave due to academic reasons. He left, but decided that school was still important to him, so he attended a community college for a semester. Adam then applied again and got asked to come back to University of Michigan, however, flunked out for a second time. After this back and forth nonsense, Adam was ready to get his life figured out.

He wrestled for the fun of it at a community college for six years. Finally, he decided to attend University of Missouri-St. Louis to finish out his undergraduate classes. Once he got his undergraduate done, Adam taught at a number of different colleges while in graduate school, did research for the Department of Defense, originally planning to work with the Army or Navy, but the semester after graduate school, he picked up a full time teaching load for a term and was hooked. To get his doctorate in Physics Quantum Electronics, he attended University of Missouri-Rolla, now known as Missouri S&T.

Dr. Tournier, aside from his desire to teach, had many interesting jobs to get him through different points of his life. He worked on a fishing boat in Alaska for many years, worked as a carpenter, worked security and manager at many night clubs, as well as a DJ on The Point, an FM radio station in St. Louis. One memory he has during his radio career is when Howard Stern first came to St. Louis and was interviewed on a different radio station, 104.4 Alice. Adam explained how he faked press credentials on the radio to convince them to let him ask Howard questions live. He then got on the air and started to promote The Point, his radio station, instead of the one that he was live on. The producers on the set were not too happy about that one. At his peak, Adam’s show had one million listeners. “I miss being on the radio. It was fun,” he explains.

Adam is volunteer assistant coach for the Women’s Wrestling team, which is a new, up and coming sport added to McKendree last year and even new in many NCAA schools in general. Adam is in charge of keeping the athletes on both the men’s and women’s wrestling teams at McKendree on their academic toes. He runs the study tables for the teams, which is a required study time for the athletes to attend once or twice a week to make sure their grades are up and make sure they stay eligible to wrestle before and during their season. Adam still enjoys getting on the mats to wrestle with the McKendree men’s team. His knowledge about wrestling is also prominent. Even if they are still young, he’s still putting up a good fight.

Having resided in Illinois since 2006, he has enjoyed teaching and coaching wrestling at McKendree University and around the area of Lebanon. Adam demonstrates great passion for both of these things that he ultimately loves to do every day of his life. He also mentioned that working eight and half months a year isn’t too bad either. “Life can’t get any easier than that,” Adam says. In 2013, Adam applied for and received tenure, so he is here to stay.

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