Stephen Perry

I swore I would never go to graduate school. By the time I'd finished my Bachelor's degree I was so done with school. After all, I'd been in school for 19 years. I started with three years of kindergarten because my mother taught in a private school. So, I was in school from age three to age 22, and I'd had enough. I don't think I ever even liked school that much. The four years between being an undergrad and finally enrolling in graduate school allowed me to start what I thought would be a good career. I owned my own painting and wallpapering business which supported my part-time radio broadcasting habit on evenings and weekends. Then I married this beautiful young lady who wanted to go on for a Masters degree. I was just prideful enough to decide I couldn't let my wife be more educated than me, so I applied too. Next thing I knew, I was headed from Massachusetts to Alabama to study for what I thought was to become a radio station management career. But instead, I found myself pulled in an entirely different direction, first by falling in love with research and meeting some great professors, then by an 'aha moment' from God. My wife, Kay Lynn, and I had chosen Alabama over Emerson College even though Kay Lynn had not been accepted into the MFA program in theatre directing. We had believed God would point us to the best graduate school decision, and both of us, after much praying, really felt pointed to the University of Alabama, a school we'd never even seen. One Tuesday morning we declined our assistantships at Emerson College, determining to go to Alabama. That same afternoon, we received a call on our answering machine telling us that Alabama had another MFA opening and they offered Kay Lynn a place in the three-year program. One year later, after a semester and a half of graduate school, I was told I would receive a paid fellowship to study in my second year. The catch was that I had to take 24 credit hours when I only needed another 18 for my MA. That was the 'aha moment.' Professors were telling me I needed to apply for the Ph.D., I found out I loved research, my wife had to stay in school an extra year anyway, and now I needed to take more credits than needed for the Masters degree. I plopped myself down on a stool, put my elbow on my knee and my chin in my hand and thought ' 'God, I may be dense, but I think you're trying to tell me something.' And from there, I went on to complete my Ph.D. I was seeking a career, but I found a calling -- what God was calling me to do. As a Professor I have had opportunities to propose new courses for our curriculum, research stimulating phenomena in mass communication, write books, teach courses with as few as two students and as many as 215, teach for a year half way around the world on the beautiful Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius, write magazine articles, edit a prestigious scholarly journal, and sometimes--at least sometimes--have an impact on a young person's life. Most of all, I've got a purpose. I know I'm doing what I do because I'm fulfilling God's purpose for me. As I've aged, I hope I'm a little less prideful and a lot more humble. (Why is my wife laughing?) You see, it was never about Kay Lynn being more educated than I am. It was about God opening a door I'd never have known to walk through. Jesus promised God would send his Spirit to guide us into an abundant life. Not a trouble free, easy going life, but a purpose filled, satisfying life if we let Him. Have you found your life's purpose? I don't know what it will be for you, but I know the One who does.

My Life

Favorite Quote

Live pure, speak true, right wrong, befriend others, follow the King.

Friends describe me


My hobbies

Tennis, Genealogy, Chess, and other basically geeky stuff

Fantasy dinner guests

Benjamin Franklin, C.S. Lewis, Raphael Nadal

Best advice I ever received

Circumstances can't hurt you. It is your response to circumstances that determines if you get hurt.

My undergrad alma mater

Trevecca Nazarene University

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

Datsun 510

If I weren't a professor, I would

try to become an astronaut

Favorite books

How Now Shall We Live, Galileo's Daughter, the Gospel of John

Favorite movies

Pirates of the Carribean, A Christmas Carol, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons

Favorite city

Washington, DC

Favorite coffee

Yuk, how can anyone drink that stuff?

Nobody knows I

am a certified Mayflower descendant of passenger Richard Warren

My latest accomplishment

Re-elected to School Board