English Alumni Spotlight
I am currently working for the Denton County Sheriff’s Office as its public information officer, in which capacity I furnish the news media with information about crimes that occur in the jurisdiction. Most of what I do involves television news reporters, but I also write press releases and gather information for newspaper and magazine reporters. I am often called out at all hours of the night to handle the media at crime scenes.
After I graduated from ASU with an M.A. in English, I taught English at two community colleges for a year. I was a non-traditional student (read: old), and I knew I’d probably never get a job with tenure, so I took a job with a newspaper as a copy editor. After a few months, I was offered a job as a reporter at the same paper, and I reported on government and politics for five years before being offered my present job by the incoming sheriff after the 2004 election.
I chose ASU because I had visited San Angelo a couple of times in the early 1980s and liked the town. I was working in the Washington, D.C., area, and my wife wanted to move back home because her mother, who lives in Abilene, became seriously ill. I had already decided to go to college, and ASU was in the right place at the right time. I’m glad it was.
I got a very good education at ASU, probably better than I would have gotten at a larger university. I’m not interested in literary criticism, and while I did take a class or two in criticism, it wasn’t the main focus of the department the way it is in larger universities. Since then, I’ve attended graduate classes at the University of North Texas, and I sometimes get a bit impatient with students who are not well-read in literature, but who, nevertheless, believe that a particular school of criticism is the truth with a capital ‘T’ (which we all know rhymes with ‘P,’ and that stands for ‘pool’) because of the emphasis placed on it by the department. At ASU, the emphasis was on getting a good, well-rounded education in English grammar and literature, enough to be able to make a good decision about what specialty I wanted to pursue.
I learned a lot of lessons about myself while attending ASU, and it permanently changed me in a lot of ways that needed changing. I learned that making a commitment and following through was more important than making the highest grade or being the smartest student in the class, and I learned that kindness toward others was one of the most important characteristics to have in life. I’ll be forever grateful to Dr. James Moore, Dr. Terry Dalrymple, Dr. Wally Bost and Betty Smith, then-curator for the West Texas Collection, not only for the benefit of their professional and educational expertise, but for their advice and examples on how to be a caring human being. I’ve had other mentors since then – a very talented editor and the sheriff I now work for – but the ASU faculty examples are still very much a part of my character.
I am also an amateur Shakespeare scholar, and I owe my obsession with Shakespeare to ASU, most particularly to Wally Bost.