It was a quiet and rainy day in Westerville, Ohio when a tall white-haired man lingered on the first floor of the Courtright Memorial Library. It was almost like he was some sort of celebrity the way that one student after another would be in line just to have a conversation with him. 

That celebrity is John Kengla, an Otterbein English professor.

John is an Otterbein English professor who graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1967 with his Bachelor of Science in Educationand in 1972, graduated with his Master of Artsin English. John also teaches classes at Eastmoor Academy for Columbus City Schools.

The best thing about Otterbein is being able to watch my students develop individually,” John Kengla said. “I enjoy being there for their writing and personal transformations.”  


John received Otterbein’s MLK Award for Peace and Justice in 2003, honoring the many service-learning projects that he has developed to meet the needs of the Westerville community. He has developed new service-learning courses and provided seminars on innovative service-learning pedagogy. 

“John has a way of making every student in his class feel wanted,” Abbie Jones, a junior psychology major said. “He is so kind to every person he sees on campus and has truly helped build the image of Otterbein.” 

After 35 years at Otterbein, John and his wife, Regina Kengla, decided that they would retire from their full-time teaching roles and stay on as part-time professors. 


“I think under the circumstances, John and I knew the university was facing financial challenges,” Regina Kengla said. “We knew it was a good opportunity to retire and still be able to teach students.” 

Regina Kengla has also been a student-favorite professor. 

“She is very dedicated and passionate about her teaching,” Joey Buckland, a junior taking Regina’s ‘Family More Than Kin’ course said. “You can just tell she is always prepared for class when she walks in and wants the ultimate best for her students.” 

In 1972, Regina received herbachelor's degreeat Duquesne University, and in 1976 her Master of Artsin Education. She is a member of the International Writing Centers Association and coordinates the Writing Center and Supplemental Instruction services for Otterbein. 

“Wow, I mean Otterbein has just been home,” Regina expressed as she took a deep breath. “This place has allowed me to grow with so many students and faculty.” 

The Kenglas are more than professors at Otterbein, they are people who have impacted many lives of students and continue to do so with such grace that their shoes will be close to impossible to fill.