I went to the office today and began looking at the plaques of all the graduates, starting in 1991, the end of my first year at UCO.
Now I really feel old. I also realized I can't add (why I'm a journalist and not an accountant). the figure of some 2,500 students should be doubled. I think I've probably had about 5,000 students overall--an average of about 100 a semester). The journalism department always graduated a lot of students, reaching about 100 a year (fall, spring, summer) before we merged with communication in 2005. Since then we're averaged about 150-180 graduates a year.
I started looking at all those names, and many of them I don't know...and from earlier years also, names and faces fading from memory.
But many stand out, and after yesterday's post, I know there are many I recall, looking at the reflections of the names engraved on the plaques, engraved with their faces on my memory of outstanding students and good times, of lives influenced.
I received two notes on Facebook and one on the blog from people I left off yesterday's post, Ashley Romano and Vallery Brown, and Cynthia Mitchell. I'm thankful for Facebook because it has hooked me up with many of my former students who I'd lost track of, like Trisha Pinckard and Tim Barker of OSU, among others..
Here are their notes. They make professing, and journalism, worthwhile.
Ashley: "It occurred to me that I never said thank you before I left journalism and snuck off to the art department. I remember being a senior in high school and taking a college visit to UCO. You showed me around the department. You reminded me of my grandpa, bright-eyed and full of finesse. I was sold. I enjoyed my time in the department and most of my ... See Moretime at The Vista (wink, wink). You taught me how to be a decent writer and a better observer. You introduced me to New Mexico, and now I can't wait to go back each fall. I think more than all of this though you taught me to be a problem solver. For that, I am indebted to you. It seems so impersonal, writing this on Facebook. But thank you, Dr. Clark.'
From Vallery: "I'm proud to be among that 2500. I was only dipping a toe in the water when I started taking j classes at UCO. But your passion, teaching and mentorship kept me going. I purposely stacked all my classes so I always had you or Dr. Hanebutt. ;). I blame you for my career in news! And my imminent MA in journalism!
"To you! And all the toes you pulled in the water! :)"
Cynthia: "This post is great. When I first started at the paper I'm at now, they made reference to you, and your OPA classes. I was proud to say I was once a student."