"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A quarter century of memories

Journalism Department 1990 yearbook photo
Woody Gaddis (RIP), Lu Hollander, Vista secretary Nancy Brown, secretary Virginia Dodson, advertising adjunct Susan Gonders, Dennie Hall
Mark Hanebutt, Terry Clark, Charles Simmons
"How many students have you had?" asked a friend and fellow journalist  earlier this year.
I started estimating and I know it's been more than 4,000, probably close to 5,000. 
Part of that hit home this week when the UCO College of Liberal Arts presented me and two other faculty members with 25-year-pens.
A quarter century.
My student numbers include four previous years at OSU, before I came to UCO in 1990 as chairman of the Journalism Department.
Geezer, 2015
So many miles and memories. Tragedies and triumphs. Discoveries and disappointments. Teaching and turmoil. Friends and faculty. Students and survival. Wonder and wrinkles. Administrators  and meetings. Red tape and politics. Change and challenges. Successes and failures. Remarks and regrets. Travels and travail.
I dare not try to mention names of friends and students and experiences. Too many.
But I'm thankful...my students and former students reinforce that every day. My children and grandchildren. The ups and downs of a personal journey.
The campus, technology, the people, Oklahoma, America and the world have all changed in 25 years. My current students were not alive when I started at UCO. No cell phones, no internet, few computers. We started with five faculty members. There are now 22 in merged departments.
So here I am, a "geezer" as one fav ex-student calls me, an "old-dog," a "silver back," but not a "dinosaur." Or, as in the closing words of "Gladiator," "Not yet."

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