Thomas Horne proud of his thirty-two years at TU

From 1993 to 2004, he was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Since 2004, he has been a political science professor, teaching various courses in political philosophy, film and the environment with a political focus.

The Collegian: So what has your history with the university been like, and what’s prompting your retirement?

Horne: I turn sixty-two years old in June. I started to teach in 1972, so I’ve been teaching for forty-three years, spending thirty-two of those years at TU. That seemed long enough.

C: How has it been to spend thirty-two years here?

H: Watching the university grow from what it was in 1983, in terms of quality of students and faculty, in every way, has been a pleasure. TU was a nice regional university when I started, and now it’s making its way towards being a national university.

C: What have you been a part of during your time here?

H: Well, every class is exciting. I was part of the honors program for quite a while. When I was dean, I played (a) role in starting film studies, and had a little to do with starting environmental studies as well. One of the highlights of my time was when a student asked me to officiate at her wedding. I took a nice trip to Colorado and got to meet her family. I’ve seen a lot of students go on to do some really nice things. Right now, I’m writing a letter to a former student who’s now working with Oxford University and traveling around Europe.

C: What sort of changes have you seen around the university?

H: Just think about the buildings. When I first got here, I was driven to the old Mabee center and the chairman had to park next to a dumpster. He said that all of this was going to change, and that they were getting new buildings, and new dorms and apartments. Back then, TU was mostly a commuter school. Of course, he didn’t say it would take thirty years. That might seem long to me, but not in terms of the university’s history. Students are better, as well. They’re smarter.

C: What did you do as dean?

H: As dean I helped start film and environmental studies. Trio Tulsa (piano, cello and violin trio of faculty members) might not have survived if me and another faculty member didn’t help. I raised a lot of money to upgrade facilities on campus. They were not huge upgrades, but still. The years when I was dean, the university had some financial problems. But I was happy to work with the then president. That was pretty gratifying. And for quite a long time, we had an unusually good group of political philosophers at TU. That was unusual for a school our size.

C: Have you been a part of anything exciting during your time here?
H: Now I mostly sit in my office and do my work. My years as dean were interesting and exciting and fraught with conflict. But being a professor is very quiet.

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