Allan Saxe has a twinkle in his eye, an ear-to-ear grin and a distinctive voice. They've been a staple at the front of the classroom at the University of Texas at Arlington for more than half a century. When classes start this week, Professor Saxe won't be there.
"This is what polio does to you, folks," Saxe said as he shuffled slowly to his new classroom at Northstar School in Arlington, with his wife holding his arm to steady him. "I'm 80-years-old, but I never thought of myself that way."
Saxe had polio when he was 8-years-old. Decades later, decreased mobility issues prompted him to retire from UTA.
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"There's a syndrome for everything and post-polio syndrome is one of them. I read all the characteristics and that's me, I got it."
While his steps are tentative, Saxe's mind is still sharp. Last year he started teaching high school civics part time at the small private school. On the day NBC 5 observed the class, Saxe was talking about the upcoming local elections.
"The mayor of Fort Worth is a former student of mine. The mayor of Grand Prairie is a former student of mine. I got 'em all," Saxe told his class with a cheeky grin. "I'm a king maker, in my own mind at least!"
In the span of a year, Saxe went from filling university lecture halls to teaching a dozen high students.
"I'm not good at a thing, but I can talk," Saxe said. "University professors today are very well prepared. They're very professional, but they're less memorable ... today none of 'em are weird. I was the wierdest person there!"
Saxe's greatest lesson isn't about civics or politics, it's about living.
"I've given away every dollar," Saxe said. "It's gone."
His donations across North Texas are in the millions. "I can't throw a ball from here to there, but I have a softball field named after me." It's the home of UTA Mavericks Softball.
Allan Saxe's name is also on parks and waterfalls, the Allan Saxe Dental Clinic at Mission Arlington, and his personal favorite, Allan Saxe Parkway, which leads to the city landfill. That's just to name a few.
"I want a disease named after me," Saxe joked. "Everybody wants a little stake of immortality."
Saxe didn't have to give away all of his money to leave a mark. On the day NBC 5 was at Northstar School one of the founders, Jane Hunn, came outside to greet Saxe as he left for the day.
"What you don't know, I'm going to get teary saying this, you actually set the standard for how we do our teachers and mentors here because you were my professor in political science," Hunn told Saxe through tears. "You taught me that you don't have to love the topic to love the class."
Saxe plans to take a semester off teaching and bring his unique teaching style back to Northstar in the spring.
"There may be parallel universes. There may be another Allan Saxe out there," Saxe said laughing. "Just like me. Weird."