Dr. Randy Armstrong
Personal Information: I was educated in the Sweetwater Independent School District and at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. I have lived all of my life in West Texas. I am married and have one son. My wife Jody is a Child Safety Specialist with the Department of Family and Protective Services. She was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners in August of 2007. Our son Eric graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, in August of 2011. Additional members of our immediate family include a Scotty named Barclay and three cats named Deano, Frank, and Sammie.
Education and Teaching Philosophy: Until about a week before accepting a faculty position with Hardin-Simmons University in August of 1976, I had always said to anyone who would listen that a career in education was not for me. When I came to Abilene that hot, muggy summer day over 36 years ago, I was convinced that it would only be for a short period of time and then I would move on to something else. I also have to admit to entering the profession not only with great reluctance but also with a large helping of trepidation.
I can see now that joining the ranks of educators in higher education put me on the road to a rewarding life of helping young adults prepare for the great challenges that lie beyond the environment of the classroom. Plato wrote in The Republic that, “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.” I believe that I have lived long enough to confirm that at least for me, Plato’s great intuition and prophecy once again proved to be both insightful and correct.
One of the most satisfying experiences I have had at Hardin-Simmons University was being selected by Dr. Lanny Hall to read the citation for Homer Taylor of Sweetwater, Texas, at the May 2011 morning Commencement Ceremony. It was on this day that Dr. Taylor received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for his many contributions to education in West Texas as both a teacher and administrator. It was made all the more special by the fact that Dr. Taylor was my journalism and drama teacher at Sweetwater High School. It was Dr. Taylor who first interested me in the field that I have now spent the majority of my life in pursuit of excellence.
In addition to teaching, I also enjoy forming a bond with my students both before and after they graduate. In my opinion professors not only have an obligation to nurture young minds but also a great privilege. Diogenes was quoted in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers as having said, “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” Therefore, I say to my fellow educators, let us continue our long and storied tradition of providing lasting foundations through illumination and enlightenment. For as Alexander Pope admonished in An Essay on Criticism, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”
I currently teach the following courses as a member of the Communication Department: Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations Writing I, Public Relations Writing II, Public Relations Cases and Campaigns, Media Ethics, and Survey of American Film. I greatly enjoy my responsibilities as both a professor and administrator. Hardin-Simmons University is a great place to both work and be educated. I continue to appreciate my association with Hardin-Simmons and look forward to contributing more of my time and effort to its admirable cause in the future. It was Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing,” (Labor Day speech, 1903).