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August 2002

Release Date: August 20, 2002

Syndicated Columnist Maxwell to Begin AEP/WTU Professorship at ASU

William W. "Bill" Maxwell, a nationally syndicated editorial writer and columnist for the St. Petersburg Times, will begin his tenure as the AEP/West Texas Utilities Distinguished Professor in Residence with the start of fall classes Monday, Aug. 26, at Angelo State University.

At ASU Maxwell will teach classes in journalism and English. Maxwell joined the St. Petersburg Times in 1994 and considers his role as an editorial writer and twice-weekly columnist to be that of "teacher and gadfly." More than 200 U.S. newspapers, including the San Angelo Standard-Times, carry his column, which is syndicated by the New York Times and the Scripps Howard news services.

His views appeal to a broad political spectrum and he has at times been labeled both conservative and liberal. He does not, however, consider himself a conservative but rather a pragmatic liberal. Samples of his columns may be viewed at the following World Wide Web address: His book, a collection of his columns called Maximum Insight, was published last year by the University Press of Florida.

AEP/West Texas Utilities established the Distinguished Professor in Residence Program in 1997 to help ASU bring to campus outstanding individuals in a variety of fields for extended interaction with students, faculty, staff and the public.

Maxwell will be on campus for the entire fall semester and will teach a journalism course on opinion writing and an English course on ethnic contributions to American literature.

Maxwell began writing opinion columns in 1980 for Florida newspapers in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce and Gainesville while he was an English instructor at a Florida community college. His Florida teaching experience includes stints at Florida Keys Community College, Broward Community College, Indian River Community College and Santa Fe Community College. He had previously worked as a reading and writing specialist for Governors State University as well as an English instructor at University of Illinois-Chicago Circle, Northern Illinois University and Kennedy-King College in Chicago.

He holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach. He received a master's degree in English language and literature from the University of Chicago where he also worked on a doctoral degree on 18th Century and Restoration comedy.

A native of Fort Lauderdale, he grew up in a migrant farming family. After a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, Maxwell returned to college. During his college tenure he worked as an urban organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and wrote for several civil rights publications. He also served as an investigative reporter in Florida for the Fort Pierce Tribune where he focused on labor and migrant farm worker affairs.

He has received numerous honors, including 1989 and 1991 awards for general excellence in commentary from the Florida Press Club. In 1989 he won an editorial writing prize from the Unit Awards in Media contest from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. He received the Community Champion Award from the American Trial Lawyers Association in Orlando.

Previous AEP/West Texas Utilities Distinguished Professors in Residence have been San Angelo novelist Elmer Kelton, Academy Award-winning actor Karl Malden, renowned physicist Jay Davis, former U.S. Ambassador Edward Rowell and E.R. "Dick" Brooks, former chairman and chief executive officer of Central and South West Corporation

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