At the Board of Regents’ meeting Nov. 21 Sam Houston State University’s Dr. Paul Ruffin, distinguished professor of English received the Regent’s Professor Award.
Last year, the Board gave out the Regents’ Professor Award. So far, nine professors have been given the honor.
“I’d like to thank this wonderful university for all it’s been to me: for giving me the opportunity to serve, for recognizing my contributions, and for rewarding me for my efforts,” Ruffin said. “SHSU is my professional home, and I hope to continue to serve it well for many years to come.”
In 2003, Ruffin was awarded the rank of Distinguished Professor of English, which was at the time the highest rank in the Texas State University System.
Frankly, it is a wonderful feeling to be honored in such a manner by the TSUS Board of Regents,” Ruffin said. “I was most flattered to have President Gaertner nominate me for the position.”
According to the resolution granting Ruffin the honor, it is a “lifetime designation bestowed by the Board of Regents upon tenured faculty members who have been acknowledged by their peers and students as exceptional.”
“I guess I’d have to say that since I arrived here, I have worked very hard to excel in all the areas I have been expected to excel in,” Ruffin said. “I think I have been a good teacher, though some students find my methods a bit unorthodox.”
Ruffin is involved with countless projects, including a book per year since 1993, editing books, poetry, essays/reviews, a weekly newspaper column as well as feature news stories, and launching the University’s Creative Writing program, and also launching the Texas Review and Texas Review Press.
When he was a kid, Ruffin said that he did not plan for literary success.
“I grew up poor in rural Mississippi, son of a man with a third-grade education whose greatest aspiration was to buy a service station — with what, I never figured out, since we couldn’t afford indoor plumbing until I was in junior high – and keep me around to change oil, pump gas, and patch tires until I could take over the station and run it myself,” Ruffin said.
“But like so many others before and after me, I had a dream, and I went for it.”