"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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Retirement clock ticking, comments and more

This story and photo appeared in the online student paper at UCO, The Vista, story by my students Caitlyn Striker, Photo by Aryn Robinson, editor Kateigh Mills.  Thank you. It's symbolic and fitting to me that my first retirement story for an old newspaperman appears online. 
(It was especially emotional and stunning for the outpouring of good wishes from many former students in social media yesterday and today. As a journalist, it helps offset being one of the "most dishonest people" in the country, according to Trump. My students and colleagues knew, I am proud to be a journalist, and of my students who give me hope and energy for the future.) Thank you.

(Aryn Robinson/ The Vista).
Dr. Terry Clark, a longtime UCO mass communications professor, is retiring.
Dr. Terry Clark prepares for his next class in his office in the Mass Communications Building on Jan. 19, 2017. Clark, who has worked at UCO for 27 years, will be retiring at the end of the Spring semester.

By Caitlyn Striker 

May 1 will mark the day that Dr. Terry Clark, the University of Central Oklahoma professor known for his unique and enjoyable classes, will retire.
He will be retiring after 27 years in the Mass Communications Department, where he spent his time as a professor and former department chair, contributing to the evolution of the department into what it is today.
“We have a really good program that I’m proud of,” Dr. Clark said. “We’ve come a long way.”
Dr. Clark has been a pioneer, changing the department in ways that students in recent years don’t know.
“Dr. Clark’s leadership to the department has been invaluable. His willingness to merge the Department of Communication with the Department of Journalism eleven years ago illustrates forward thinking and willingness to take risks for the good of students,”  Dr. Mary Carver, chair of the Mass Communication Department, said.
Clark is not only a professor and former chair, but also a prominent figure in the world of Oklahoman journalism.
Some of Clark’s titles include the Director of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, an Oklahoma Publisher column writer and trustee of the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation.
“His guidance and wisdom have been incredibly important to me as a new department chair the past year. He will be greatly missed,” Dr. Carver said.
His time as professor is coming to an end. The decision came after another birthday passed, and he simply realized it was time.
“One day it was just crystal clear. I said, ‘Clark, it’s time,” Dr. Clark said.
The decision to retire wasn’t an easy one, but Clark said that is how he knows he is making the right decision.
“I’ve put it off because I enjoy what I do,” he said. “With any decision, you’ll find that if you’re leaving for the right reasons, you’re going to miss some things. You’re going to have mixed feelings. That’s a good sign.”
The main thing he said he will miss is the students, however, he may still be on campus as an adjunct professor.
Regardless of his future involvement, one thing is for sure – his kind spirit and lovable personality will be missed by the students whose lives he has impacted.
“His passion for teaching and determination to pour into his students is truly remarkable,” said Mass Communication student, Misty Jordan, “I am going to miss seeing him every day.”
He will also be missed by the professors he has inspired.
“I’m sad to be losing him,” said fellow Mass Communication instructor Desiree Hill, “He is a treasure to our department, but he has impacted so many students that his spirit will be in our department always.”

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