Pair of Retirees Leave After 41 Years of Combined Service to RGC

Sul Ross State University President Bill Kibler presents Dr. Carson (in the photo at left) and Dr. Stone with framed biographies and resolutions granting them Professor Emeritus status. Both were recently celebrated at a retirement reception.

By Laura Nelson

Terry Carson and Greg Stone will wear their academic regalia for the final time while representing Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College at the fall commencement ceremony scheduled for Dec. 12 inside the John Harrell Auditorium on the campus of Uvalde High School.

After graduating from Uvalde High School, Terry Carson drifted through the summer, playing in his garage band, working full time and dancing the night away at Garner State Park. With little thought about the future, his mother called him one day to tell him that classes had started at Southwest Texas Junior College. He enrolled and attended one semester before joining the Army National Guard. After serving, he returned to his school work and completed a degree in marketing from what was then Texas State University in San Marcos.

He eventually returned to Uvalde and helped a friend start a farm equipment business where he worked his way up to president and general manager. He also taught as an adjunct instructor at SWTJC and attended school part-time to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through the Uvalde Study Center, known today as Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College.

Once the accidental scholar decided he enjoyed academia, he wanted to complete a doctoral degree. At the time, there were no internet classes and only three accredited schools in the U.S. that offered a flexible schedule with the degree he wanted. Fortunately, his sister had just moved to Sarasota, Fla., and the University of Sarasota was one of the three universities on the list. He took a class during the Christmas break and finished a Doctor of Business Administration there five years later, attending classes during breaks and all summer.

In 1999, Dr. Carson went to work at Rio Grande College and will retire as a full professor and the Chair of the Business Administration department. He also served RGC as Dean. He takes pride in explaining business theories and showing students how to apply them in practical situations plus he enjoys leaving the classroom knowing students learned through participation and discussion. His work in area businesses puts him in a unique class of educators who not only earn a terminal degree, but also have decades of practical experience to pass on to students. His commitment to education and his genial good humor coupled with a natural friendliness make him a favorite not only among his students, but also with the faculty and staff he works with.

He also believes in bettering the community that nurtured him. Terry is a familiar figure in Uvalde as he has volunteered his time to serve on a variety of boards such as the Uvalde Area Chamber of Commerce, the St. Henry de Osso Family Project, the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department, and the First United Methodist Church, among others. This dynamic community leader will assume the President’s duties on the Uvalde Board of Realtors in January.

Terry plans to use the flexible schedule retirement brings to continue selling real estate and perhaps taking on some development projects. He will continue teaching a few graduate classes, but even after he is no longer employed full time at RGC, his leadership and his devotion to education will linger.

Del Rio born and raised, Greg Stone was always interested in different people; that is, people from the “outside” such as the children at Laughlin Air Force Base who had lived all over the world.

That curiosity helped lead him to his career, and after more than 40 years in higher education, he retires from Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College as a Professor of Spanish and Linguistics.

Dr. Stone remembers his 30-minute, 6th grade Spanish class taught by Otila Gonzalez. She was fresh out of college and also helped him through some of his high school Spanish. With two more years of mandatory Spanish classes in junior high, he knew quite a lot of the language by the time he was a senior in high school, but he had little practice speaking it. That changed quickly when his family moved to a different home in Del Rio. His new neighbors were from Mexico City, and the boys, who were near his age, spoke very little English and it was up to Greg to help them adapt to Del Rio High School. The young men became friends and Stone received an individual immersion education into a culture and language right in his home town. He spent weekends in Ciudad Acuña with his new friends and quickly added spoken Spanish to his list of skills.

Originally set to study chemistry at the University of Texas in Austin, he soon changed to a Latin American Studies major, and finally decided to major in Spanish. He placed out of the first two years of Spanish courses, so he took a junior-level Spanish literature course as a freshman that ultimately put him on a different path.

Noted UT professor and Spanish literary critic, Dr. Ricardo Gullón, taught Stone in a 19th century Spanish literature class and was impressed by his student’s grasp of the language. In fact, he mentored Stone and urged him to spend his junior year at the University of Madrid and said he could find him a place to stay. Stone traveled to Spain and moved into the home of an 89-year-old woman, her daughter, and their longtime housekeeper. By this time, Greg knew he wanted to become a professor and he eagerly soaked up the culture that living in this environment offered. He finished a year in the Hispanic Studies program with students from all over the world, completing all of his coursework in Spanish.

When he was ready for graduate work, he was accepted to Harvard and Brown, but Stone decided those schools were far too expensive. The University of Minnesota offered him a teaching assistantship. He earned enough graduate hours to enter the Ph.D. program at UT. After earning his doctorate, he took a one year appointment at UT-San Antonio, and then spent the next six years teaching at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. During this time, Stone spent his summers in Del Rio and taught adjunct for Sul Ross Rio Grande College. After Duluth, he moved his family to Tennessee and taught at Memphis State for three years. He was looking for a position in Texas when a full-time position opened up at Rio Grande College in 1990, so he moved his family once again to Del Rio where they have lived since.

Dr. Stone teaches cultural and literary courses and enjoys putting students in touch with other cultures across the world. He takes great pride and pleasure when he sees students learn they can read a piece of 18th century Spanish literature and understand it.

Stone said, “It is a source of great pride that so many of my students at RGC, one of whom is just now completing her doctorate, have gone on to careers in teaching Spanish. I would like to feel that I have contributed in some way to their success.”