A Q & A with Professor Helmke

Known for his advising national leaders during the Cold War, Apartheid and other times of national and international crisis, Professor Helmke is in his first year as Trine University’s as a communication instructor.  He also has lectured as several universities on several different topics at places such as Georgetown University, Ball State University, and Purdue University.

Why did you decide to come to Trine, near your hometown of Fort Wayne after four decades as a reporter, advisor, and political strategist?

Well, I had been in [Washington] D.C. for 42 years and wanted to try something new. I received federal government retirement and my parents are located on Lake James. I soon afterwards received an opportunity to teach from Dr. Brooks who I met several years ago while working under former Indiana senator Richard Luger.

Did your family background [his father was a state senator, grandfather a city attorney/GOP chairman] help you decide to want to get into politics or what determined that for you?

I grew up with it; it was what was discussed at the dinner table every night. My brother eventually became mayor of Fort Wayne for 12 years.

What is the biggest thing you enjoy about politics and what bugs you the most about it?

I enjoy the people, serving the public, and the stories they everyone shared. What bugs me the most is that it is more partisan now than it used to be, more hate. [Democrats and Republicans] used to be able to fight during the day and go out for drinks at night, but not anymore.

Favorite topics to teach students?

Politics and communications. I believe you can both master politics and business through communications.

If you could tell students at Trine one thing about life in college, what would it be?

Learn to always learn, and never stop learning the rest of your life. The job you have in the future may not exist today.

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