As this new year begins, and I prepare for the beginning of a new semester, I find myself thinking, instead, of endings. This semester will mark the end of my 47 (!) years on the campus of UALR. I walked onto this campus as a freshman in the fall of 1965. I was newly graduated from Mount St. Mary’s, newly engaged to a really cute med student, and ready to begin my life as a co-ed. I enrolled in all the approriate courses for my pre-med major, pledged a sorority, and began planning my Dec. wedding. As was too typical of young women of the day, I soon dropped out of school, shelved my pre-med plans to bask in my new husband’s MD degree, and began planning for my first baby.
It would be eleven years and three babies later before I returned to UALR. This time I would be the English major that was my true talent, I would juggle classes, papers, and housekeeping chores, and I would relish the opportunity to at last follow my own dreams. I found mentors (thank you, Dr. Ramsey), dear lifelong friends, and an insatiable love of reading, writing, and learning. After earning my BA, I again left UALR for a fourth baby and a very satistying career in childbirth education. But further education always beckoned and when the Master’s Program in Expository and Technical Writing was established on our campus, I became a graduate student. With a brand new MA in hand, I began my teaching career at UALR in the fall of 1990. Ten years later I found myself heading toMemphisto complete a terminal degree, and in 2003, was thrilled to become Dr. Smith.
I began teaching Rhetoric & Communication II and serving on the Policy Council in 2002, and was honored to be asked to come on board as Associate Director in 2005. I have found teaching Scholars to be a challenging and always interesting endeavor. I am continually delighted by your exceptional talent, your intelligence, and your curiosity, and I learn from you every semester. It has been a great joy to be a part of the lives of so many of you. This June will mark the end of my tenure as Associate Director and the end of Dr. Ramsey’s role as Director. But with each of these endings will come new beginnings. In the coming year, I will eagerly move on to whatever the next phase of my life holds – certainly more reading, writing, learning. I do so with no regrets, but with a sense of accomplishment and many warm memories and heartfelt appreciation for the years I have had with UALR and the Donaghey Scholars Program. I’m still married to the cute doctor and my four children have provided me grandchildren to keep me happily occupied.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” T.S. Eliot