25-year debut comes to an end for a brighter future: Paul Craven


Photo submitted to Simpsonian – Paul Craven

by Katie Burns, ID Magazine Editor-In-Chief

After teaching in the Computer Science Department for almost 26 years, Paul Craven has accepted a new role at Optimizely as their Senior Software Engineer and resigned from the college in June of 2022.

When it comes to being a professor, Craven expressed that being one was one of his biggest goals in life and knew he would fit the role well.

“Teaching was really a part of my identity, quite frankly. It’s not just a job in my eyes. The people I’m teaching aren’t just people,” he said. “It made me realize what a direct impact I make on individuals and that was the coolest thing.”

Craven’s love for Simpson comes in many different forms, but one that stood out the most was his connection with his students.

“There’s this feeling when a class goes well, and students are involved and participating, to be able to get my message across once the lecture has ended. It was the best feeling in the world,” Craven said.

Junior Breydon Paxson, computer science major and computer information systems minor, had many classes with Craven. Since his first year, Paxson knew Craven was one of his favorite professors.

“I went to Grand View for a year. Once I transferred and took one of his classes, I realized nobody matched his energy like others I had there,” Paxson said. “He was always making jokes, and I loved coming to class on Fridays hearing his ‘bar jokes.’”

When it comes to Craven’s teaching, junior Robbie Wagner said the way he taught is unlike other teachers he had in high school.

“Dr. Craven always walked us through the requirements of the projects, but let us students be creative when it came to certain elements of the games we were making,” Wagner said. “I was able to find a creative outlet for myself in his classes.”

Wagner was going to be Craven’s SC Leader for the upcoming year. Once he found out that Craven was no longer going to be at Simpson, he realized he was one of his biggest role models.

“I would definitely consider him as a role model, because he definitely has qualities I aspire to have including creativity and a humanistic outlook in the computer science profession post-graduation,” Wagner said.

Regarding Craven’s position, Paxson wants the person that fills in to have the same effort Craven had with his students to become the best students they can be.

“I think that they’ll have to find someone that loves their students and profession as much as Craven did,” Paxson said. “He put all of his time and effort into making sure we all truly strive and made sure we were in a fun environment while that environment was also hard-working.”

From Craven’s perspective, he hopes the person that fills his role will teach and learn what’s beyond the computer science profession.

“I hope that whoever takes my position realizes that learning new technology that appears in the world of computer science today will keep students in the loop of what they should know once they’re graduated,” Craven said.

Even though Craven is not a part of the Simpson College family anymore, he explained that his love for Simpson will always stay with him.

“The people that I’ve taught and the faculty I’ve met have made an impact on me throughout my time at Simpson,” Craven said.