Thomason Retiring After 35 Years at TCU

By Desaray Hickombottom, Communication Studies major, Class of 2020

A photo of Journalism Professor Tommy Thomason in 1996.

A photo of TCU Journalism Professor Tommy Thomason in 1996.

Tommy Thomason, a Journalism professor and the director of the Texas Center for Community Journalism, is retiring after 35 years at TCU.

During his time in the Schieffer College, Thomason has taught a number of courses including Media Writing & Editing; Public Affairs Reporting; and Issues in News.

Before joining the faculty at TCU, he served as a journalist with the Associated Press and worked in public relations in Dallas.

When asked what his favorite TCU memory has been, Thomason said, “it’s not one memory, as it’s just thousands of interactions with students. Especially with students that come back after graduation and tell me how what we did in the classroom made a real impact on their lives.”

Thomason said that he recently hosted a conference with a New York Times journalist who was his own student several years ago.

“Moments like that make you realize that you’re investing your life in people,” he said. “When I look back it’s not remembering some great award, it’s the faces of students who’ve came back and thanked me for how much I’ve made a difference in their lives.”

After Thomason retires, he plans to travel with his wife.

“I have deliberately tried to hold off making specific plans because I don’t want to enter retirement with a to do list,” he said.

He also said he realizes traveling will only last for a few months, but he has the choice of teaching part time or going back into journalism.

“It’s really funny because I’ve been getting job offers from newspapers throughout Texas,” he said. “I’ve turned them all down, but told them to ask again in six months.”

A headshot of Journalism Professor Tommy Thomason in 2012.

A headshot of TCU Journalism Professor Tommy Thomason in 2012.

When asked about his legacy at TCU will be, Thomason said, “I don’t want to leave a plaque or anything like that. My legacy is in the lives of my students who are doing journalism throughout the United States. If I’ve made a difference in their lives, then that’s what’s important to me.”

His students are the main thing he will miss about TCU.

“I can come back and visit the buildings, I can call up my colleagues, but these students will be scattered to the four winds and the experience you get from teaching students is exciting and what I’m going to miss the most.”