COLLEGEVILLE -- A professor with over 50 years of teaching under his belt is deciding to retire.

James Hendershot is an associate professor at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University. He started in the art department in 1971 and is now planning to retire after this semester.

As a child, Hendershot wanted to be an architect, going into art was never his first priority but out of spite, he took an art class.

"I took architecture classes and everything and for some reason, I felt that I deserved an A in the class. I really had an interesting piece that everybody enjoyed except for my instructor so I thought, 'I'll show him.'"

Hendershot decided to get involved in more art classes to improve his architecture skills. However, taking more art classes in high school only inspired him to pursue an education at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

"The thing about the institute is that they might have portfolios of students that have applied, as many as 600 but they only accept 100 students."

His odds of getting in were slim but he managed and picked painting as a major. However, getting recognized for his true passion, printmaking was not an easy task.

"I loved printmaking, I loved the feeling of it. Probably the thing I'm closest to is my drawings."

He finally caught a break when the Philadelphia Print Club took a notice.

"One of the two pieces I sent was accepted and I assumed the other was rejected. Three days later I got a letter from the Philadelphia Museum that the other print had been accepted and was going to be in their permanent collection."

Today, Hendershot's pieces are featured nationally including the Library of Congress.

"There are 10 museums that my work is a part of and they were all purchased either through shows or just me visiting and having them look through my portfolio."

After teaching for over 50 years, 48 at St. Ben's and St. John's, Hendershot says one of the biggest changes is how students receive criticism and how professors deliver it.

"You can't approach people or teach that way, criticism is a situation that has changed."

But his biggest take away from his career...

"I've learned from my students. I've learned that when you put something out there, an assignment or you say something or having them work, and then when you see the result or the outcome they make, it's tremendous."

Hendershot will be showcasing his work along with some of his students' work at a gallery that will open Monday at St. John's in the Arts Center.

Follow the link below for more details on the gallery.

More From AM 1240 WJON