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Straight Shooter

U.S. Naval Academy graduate. All-American pistol shooter. Marine Corps staff officer.

That is just some of the experience and leadership Dr. William A. Taylor brought to Angelo State in 2011 when he took his first teaching job as an assistant professor in the Center for Security Studies (CSS). He began preparing for such a position while still in high school in Dallas by refusing to choose between college and the military.

“I was very interested in leadership,” Taylor said, “and I felt that the Marine Corps taught that very well. I wanted to be a Marine officer and I wanted to go to college, and that led me to the Naval Academy. I thought that was a great avenue to combine the college experience with the leadership training in the Marine Corps.”

After graduating from the Naval Academy, Taylor spent six years as a Marine Corps staff officer, first for the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan, and then for the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va. In Japan he helped coordinate field combat training exercises, and in Virginia he helped formulate strategies for the future of the Marine Corps.

“I really enjoyed my time in the Marines and had a lot of wonderful experiences,” Taylor said. “But I always wanted to go to graduate school, get my doctorate and teach, research and serve in a scholarly capacity.”

Again, Taylor marched ahead, earning a master’s degree through Georgetown University’s elite national security studies program and then another master’s and his doctorate from George Washington University. Looking for another challenge, he chose ASU.

“With the CSS being a new initiative,” Taylor said, “it gave me the opportunity to work in an innovative and creative environment where, along with my colleagues, I could help build something from the ground up. That was very intriguing to me, especially early in my career. I knew it would be a challenge, but also an opportunity that doesn’t come along that often.”

Since his arrival, the CSS has combined with the Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice and now enrolls more than 420 students in seven mainly online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a variety of certificate programs.

“Our program brings the academic rigor and faculty experience of a program like Georgetown to a broader audience,” Taylor said. “Our distance learning allows people to attend who might be fully qualified to enter a program like Georgetown, but can’t physically be there. Plus, students can come in and know that they are learning from faculty who have incredible credentials and experience, both academic and real-world. They can get a phenomenal education at far less cost and with far less geographical restrictions.”

Also an author, Taylor is currently working on his second book. His first, Every Citizen a Soldier: The Campaign for Universal Military Training after World War II, was released Aug. 1 as part of Texas A&M University Press’ Williams-Ford Military History Series and is available on Amazon.

Obviously, Taylor has recovered from the culture shock of moving to West Texas from Washington, D.C.

“My parents are still in Dallas,” he said. “My wife, Renee, and I have two young children, Madison and Benjamin, and it’s nice for them to be close to their grandparents. We didn’t know anyone in San Angelo, but have realized it’s a wonderful place to raise a family. Plus, if you look at the ASU community, across the board, I’m continually amazed at the quality and collegiality of all the people on campus. We definitely made the right choice.”

  • Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre is a news and information specialist at Angelo State University. 
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