Professor, Associate Vice President Dr. Thomas A. Fields Named “Bringer of Light” by Texas A&M-Kingsville Group
KINGSVILLE - April 07, 2009
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Dr. Thomas A. Fields, associate vice president for research/dean, college of graduate studies and professor of communication sciences and disorders at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, has been named a “Bringer of Light” by the campus group Servants of Las Luminarias.
An anonymous collection of campus community members, the Servants of Las Luminarias select those that they feel are “bringers of the light of the knowledge of goodness to the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus community.”
As an honoree, Fields received a ceramic “luminaria,” or large ornamental candle holder, a lily and a framed certificate of recognition. The certificate states that Fields had, through word and deed, “selflessly and consistently shone the light of goodness into our midst.”
Fields came to the university in 1999 as an associate professor for communication sciences and disorders (CSDO). Prior to that, he held faculty appointments at Oklahoma State University, the University of Mississippi and Louisiana State University. Fields also was the owner and operator of rehabilitation facilities that offered home health care, with offices in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
When Fields saw the honor in his office, he took it as something completely different. “Monday was my birthday, so when I saw the flower, I thought Choly, my assistant, had given it to me. Then I saw the certificate and read what it was. I closed my door and took it all in, and appreciated that people were thinking about me.
“Having watched the individuals they honored in the past, there’s never been a question about what they do for the university. To be counted among them as an honoree is very humbling. It just makes me feel good.”
He was named a professor in 2002 and appointed associate vice president for research and graduate studies in 2008. The two roles offer Fields a unique perspective on the students served by the university.
“I have my CSDO undergraduate students, then I get to work with graduate students from across the campus. To be alongside so many students, helping them to achieve their dreams…it’ll pick you up and get you going.”
For Fields, the university has been more than just a place of employment the last ten years. “When I came to Kingsville, I had recently lost my wife to cancer, and I was feeling pretty low. Texas A&M-Kingsville gave me a new life.”
Fields met second wife Dr. Trudy Anderson while at A&M-Kingsville. She was a faculty member with the department of psychology and sociology, and later interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Tragically, she would pass away from cancer in April 2008.
“Losing Trudy took away a little of the brightness. But the university came around me and supported me through it all, I very much appreciated it. The university community is my friend.”
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