Veteran teacher shares his experience


Courtney Hunter

Saddleback College instructor Bob Cosgrove has been teaching at Saddleback since 1981. He teaches English, Greek and Roman classical mythology, and world literature classes.

Born in October of 1941, Bob Cosgrove grew up outside of Chicago.

He enjoyed being a Boy Scout. He was also very fascinated with his neighbor’s beehives and that is where he started bee keeping, a hobby he still entertains.  “Bees are very gentle, my neighbor growing up had six beehives and I would go over and kick them. I got many toe prints in my back also; I was a stubborn kid,” he said chuckling.

He is a commercial beekeeper. He has removed 78 beehives from Saddleback since 1981. Another interesting thing about Professor Cosgrove is that he flew around the world in 1967.

It took him three months and he stopped in different countries along the way to explore until it was off to the next destination. He also has published two educational books.

Cosgrove went to an all-men’s military college, followed by Purdue University for his graduate degree.

He did not want to become a priest, which was popular back then, he said, and enjoyed his teachers and their lessons on school and life.  

“I taught summer camps, swimming and rope tying to children and enjoyed it,” said Cosgrove.

While in college, Cosgrove was a bartender. In grad school his professors hired him for their private parties. He watched how they interacted with one another and quickly picked up on their lingo and mannerisms.

Saddleback was the first community college that Cosgrove taught at. He started his teaching journey at Texas Tech University as the Director of Writing for three years.

He then headed to Southwest Missouri State University as Director of Writing and was later the Assistant Head of the English Department. He spent another three years at Illinois State University and started his career at Saddleback in 1981.

During this time, in the mid 80s, Irvine Valley College was called Saddleback North and was seen as Saddleback’s little brother.

IVC and Saddleback were rivals at this time. Cosgrove helped bring the schools together. Funding and budget issues were a big problem and he was able to satisfy both the schools needs. “We were not going to lose our accreditation but we might have had to write another report the following year,” explaining that the college wasn’t exactly up to par with all the standards it needed to meet the requirements of ACCJC (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges).  “I secured from the District about $44,000 to hire folks to complete the report. We met the deadline. We satisfied ACCJC. We were not required to write another progress report,” said Cosgrove.

Cosgrove served as President of the Academic Senate between 1985-87, 2006-07, and 2008 to May 2010. He also served as President of the Inter-College (IVC/Saddleback) Academic Senate for a year back in the 80’s.

He has a huge tie collection.

“I have at least 300 ties, I wear a different tie to each class that relates to that days topic,” said Cosgrove.  He was sporting a bug tie today.

“I would love to take my wife traveling over seas more and am very proud of the fact that I teach at a 6 a.m. class here on campus.”

Ending the interview Cosgrove said, “My soul was made in California, this is where I belong.”