The Paw Print
Dr. Clarence Parks, professor of sociology, is retiring after 28 years at Adams State College. Dr. Parks was raised in Texas around the Houston area and received his undergraduate degree from Sam Houston State University and his master’s degree from Steven F. Austin University. Dr. Parks was not originally going to get his Ph.D. but when offered a fellowship too good to be passed up, he dove into a Ph.D. program at Texas A&M.
Dr. Parks’ wife has loved Colorado since she was little. When the job opened up at Adams State College, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity for them to have a family and live their life. For Dr. Parks, the San Luis Valley is a great place to raise kids, especially for outdoors people like the Parks family. They raised both their kids in the Valley and couldn’t imagine raising them anywhere else. Dr. Parks’ wife got her master’s degree from Adams State College and one of their children graduated from ASC as well. Dr. Parks’ wife is also retiring this spring from the Alamosa School District, and their plan is to move to Rawley, North Carolina to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Dr. Parks favorite classes to teach over the past 28 years have been his blues class and his social sociology class, but teaching does not come without its challenges. Dr. Parks’s biggest challenge has been overcoming the problems in a classroom that come with being blind. The current campus construction has also been hard on Dr. Parks. He noted, “I wish they would have waited until I left so I didn’t have to move. I was in that office for 27 and a half years.” Dr. Parks’ policy has been to rearrange his office once every ten years so nothing gets boring. The business building has been very accommodating and friendly to Dr. Parks which he is very grateful for but “routes take a long time to learn, so I didn’t bother learning them for just one semester.”
Dr. Parks said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do when I retire. I want to see what it’s like not having to do anything when I get up in the mornings.” The Parks are especially excited to be grandparents fulltime. Dr. Parks has several projects on his plate right now, so he won’t get bored for a while. Currently, he is working on two books. One book is for people who want to learn the guitar and the other is a semi-biographical novel he has been working on for three years. The second book is called “The Man who Knew the Blues” and it is about a blind kid who wants to learn the blues.
There are several things Dr. Parks will miss about Adams State. “I think I will miss the intellectual challenges that keep the mind alive the most.” The sociology department is a wonderful department with a wonderful department head, and Dr. Parks says he’s very grateful to be at ASC and that students should be grateful as well. He would like students to realize what a great place ASC is and how lucky they are not to be just a number in a computer. His advice to students, along with saving money for your kid’s college, is to go to Colorado University for a year so they can be grateful for what they have here. Also, he has liked getting to know his students through interactions and the informal setting. It is safe to say Dr. Parks will be missed.