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Skateboarding Professor, sometimes referred to as Skating Professor, is an advice animal-style image macro series based on a photograph of University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Tom Winter riding his skateboard on campus. The captions typically incorporate various technical terms and references relating to skateboarding culture into expressions that are often heard during college lectures.
Redditor Tr0llzor posted a photo to the pics subreddit on April 4th, 2012 of Doctor Thomas Winter, a professor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln who became notorious for getting around the campus with a skateboard. The post hit the front page with 31,534 upvotes and 2521 points overall.
Later that day, an image macro featuring the photo titled “Hip Professor Harold” was posted to the Advice Animals subreddit, but only received 6 points. On April 5th, another image macro of the professor was posted with a caption referencing a skateboarding trick known as a manual. This post received 6674 upvotes and 1319 points overall.
Doctor Thomas Winter, a classics and religious studies professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been teaching since 1970. He has been skateboarding around the campus since 1993, when he made the conscious effort to lead a more active life. In 2008, Winter was profiled by the Daily Nebraskan in which he called himself a “role model” for students who see him skating at age of 62. On Rate My Professors, Winter has an overall score of 3.3 out of 5. Shortly after rising to viral fame, Professor Winter announced that he will retire from his position following the end of the school year on May 10th, 2013.
On April 6th, several image macros from the Reddit thread were posted to FunnyJunk, Skateboarding Magazine and the popular Tumblr blog Pleated Jeans, where it received over 14,000 notes in three days. In the following 48 hours, Dr. Winter’s skateboarding photo was featured on Yahoo! News, Mashable and Digital Journal. By April 9th, 2012, the Quickmeme page had garnered more than 500 submissions of image macros.
Lincoln Journal Star – Skateboarding professor becomes Internet sensation
Digital Journal – Tom Winter, 68-year-old skateboarding professor goes viral
Daily Nebraskan – Skateboarding professor Thomas Winter announces retirement