Chemistry Teacher Uses Broad Education to Inspire Wide-Ranging Worldview

Posted December 19, 2014 / Last updated December 19, 2014

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From The Blue Jay, Vol. 87, No. 4, State Champion Extra

By Baasel Syed, Staff Writer
Peter Muller '81

Peter Muller ’81

Teacher Feature: Muller also in his element with arts, languages

If they haven’t had him for class yet, many students might wonder who the pensive, witty, bearded man is who they see in the fourth-floor hallways.

He’s chemistry teacher Peter Muller.

No stranger to Jesuit, as a member of the Class of ’81, he joined the faculty following the retirement of longtime Chemistry Department member Harry Clark.

When he was a student at Jesuit, he was known for top achievements in virtually every activity in which he was involved.

His students today enjoy watching video clips of Muller on Prep Quiz Bowl.

Students cheer and beg to watch Muller tear through competition as a high-schooler, and moan when he might miss a question.

So dominant in academia was Muller that some classmates remember calling him “Peter Perfect.”

After high school, Muller took his talents to study at some of the most prestigious universities including Tulane, University of Chicago and Princeton.

He also was a Rhodes Scholar, studying at Oxford University in England. He originally went to study Classics and foreign languages.

As a result, he’s studied   French, German, Latin, Greek  and Hebrew, and even a bit of Mandarin Chinese. Not surprisingly, his “favorite subjects while attending Jesuit High School were languages,” he said, adding that he considers the development of languages among “human’s greatest achievements.”

When not continuing his study of languages, Muller said he likes to be outdoors, walking and running in the park, as well as playing the piano.

He said he has a love of classical music, and students can hear his favorite orchestras playing during lab days.

He’s also a movie fan, preferring the classics,  “especially thrillers like Alfred Hitchcock movies.”

With such a background and love of liberal arts, what drew him to study and teach chemistry?

Primarily, it was something new and engaging.

While previously living in Germany, he worked as an attorney, then later as a securities lawyer in London.

While his broad education gave him the opportunity to travel the world and living the life he wanted, those individual career paths often left him wanting more.

“None of the jobs really engaged me or kept me interested for long periods of time,” he said.

The timing was right when a  classmate, Mike Giambelluca, former principal of Jesuit, as well as Muller’s friend, Fr. Raymond Fitzgerald, S.J., asked him to consider returning to his alma mater to teach.

In classic fashion, Muller thought, “Why not,” returning to Carrollton and Banks to begin yet another adventure.

His own journey serves as a strong example for his students to study an expansive range of disciplines. You never know where the path of life will take you.

The chemistry lessons learned are but a very small part of the larger worldview a man like Peter Muller can offer his students.