Marriage, Mastery and the
Pursuit of Greater Purpose
I'm writing soon after retirement. After 22 years at Estrella Mountain Community College, 6 at the Maricopa Community College District Office, 6 at Northern Arizona University prefaced by short stints at The University of Illinois and The University of North Carolina its time to start a new life. So much to do; so little time to get it done.
I've had it easy compared to many Americans and almost everyone anywhere else. Sixth of seven children born to a family the Great Depression deprived of everything but a sense of right and wrong and family pride I had the best of parents. I was raised on a farm free to do unsupervised important work that contributed to family success. I was also born healthy and have a close to obsessive-compulsive work ethic but those aren't the major reasons I've had a good life. All the above plus marrying Marylyn Patton, and staying married to her for close to fifty years, put me on third-base.
No place is perfect but being a professional employed by The Maricopa Community Colleges was a lot like being raised by my indulgent parents on our farm. When I first came to Estrella a colleague named Steve Shriver facilitated the consensus belief that "We build better communities one life at a time because your success it our success." I drank the Kool Aid and seized the freedom to "Make dreams come true."
I was allowed to pioneer development and deployment of high quality Internet-enhanced courses and write and provide my students with printed, bound desk-references that as perfectly as possible reflected continuously improved business and management practices as reflected by continuously updated and personally published Internet pages; at no cost to students.
Mistakes cost money. Students taught by me were also supported by an interactive on-line career development program that makes it easier to make logical career choices and seamlessly attain personal career development goals.
Partnerships now make it possible for Southwest Valley parents to send gifted 10th grade children to Estrella; and for they themselves to complete an associate degree at Estrella followed by Northern Arizona University baccalaureate and master's degrees; without leaving their Southwest Valley homes. Furthermore, the Northern Arizona University degrees offered at Estrella help community members advance in the jobs most Southwest Valley residents hold.
As a capstone the Maricopa Foundation established a $1000/year scholarship to be awarded in my name to veterans enrolled at Estrella Mountain Community College.
We have been incredibly lucky. Married the right woman and employed by the best higher education system in America. It doesn't get better than this.