English professor celebrates 50 years of bringing literature to life

English professor celebrates 50 years of bringing literature to life

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Midwestern State University community is celebrating a professor who brought several characters to life during his 48 years at the campus.

"Drama is literature brought to life, and literature is drama of the mind," Dr. Tom Hoffman said.

While teaching at Texas A&M in Canyon, TX, Dr. Hoffman had a grueling schedule. So he began looking for other opportunities. He traveled to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX for an interview. Before heading back to Canyon, TX he and his wife went to visit her father in Wichita Falls.

Dr. Hoffman's father-in-law suggested he apply at Midwestern State. Hoffman began in the theater department but was told at the time there were no openings. Having more than one degree, he headed to the English department as well.

"He said I don't have a thing for you but I'll take your resume. Two weeks later he called and said I have a man going to Colorado for his doctorate. Would you like a job? I said certainly would and he said can you be here in five days," Dr. Hoffman said.

Five days later he and his family were in the city not knowing they'd make a life for themselves here. His first class was a sophomore survey English class that had 90 students.

"I mean it was daunting because I had taught drama, speech and business and professional speaking before, but most of my classes had fewer than 30 students," he said.

During the next 48 years, he would bring literature off the page of a book to his students.

"I study a character for weeks and sometimes months before I then bring that character to class," he said.

He had opportunities to go to larger universities and teach but said the students at MSU kept him here.

"I found them to be much more serious about their education," he said.

While he's going from reading to the masses, to quite a smaller audience comprised of his grandchildren, teaching is something he's going to miss.

"After teaching 50 years it's not easy to stop," he said.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

Copyright 2016 KAUZ All Rights Reserved