• Name: Gary Mitchell
• Birthday: Feb. 18, 1948
• Hometown: Clovis
• Profession: Executive director and dean, Wayland Baptist University-Clovis campus
• Family: Wife Judy Mitchell, daughter Mara Andrews, grandchildren Thomas Andrews and Aubrey Andrews, and parents WY and Della Mitchell.
Gary Mitchell of Clovis became the dean of Clovis’ Wayland Baptist University campus in 2006 after starting his college career at Wayland in the mid-1960s. Prior to being dean, Mitchell was a longtime Clovis News Journal writer.
Tell us about your pets. Our pride and joy was our 28-year-old paint mare, Princess Joy (a.k.a. “PJ”), who just recently passed away. She had become rather spoiled but certainly had trained us well to bring her a carrot every day to whet her appetite. We also have two dogs, a small Schnauzer-mix named Smokey and a half Australian shepherd/half border collie named Shawnee. Completing our barnyard animal collection, we have two Nubian goats — Sarah and Becca — and a dozen or so cats and kittens, who keep the rodents and pigeons at bay.
What is your theme song? I have two: “It’s Only Words” by the BeeGees and “It Is Well with My Soul”
What’s your favorite TV show, past and present? “The Andy Griffith Show”
What’s so great about your favorite sport? My favorite sport is track and field because it’s a sport in which you are your own toughest competitor — you’re constantly trying to improve your time, your distance or your height
Tell us about a happy time. Every time someone asks me to autograph an “amos the churchmouse” book.
Tell us a story about your mom or dad. My dad is my hero. He hardly ever talks about his World War II experiences in Germany, but one day I saw an old photo of a youthful version of Dad receiving a Silver Star medal in a battlefield ceremony on June 5, 1945. The citation reads: “For gallantry in action in the vicinity of -------, Belgium, on Jan. 8, 1945. Sgt. Mitchell (who was 20 years old at the time) and his squad were occupying an outpost in a building that was heavily shelled by mortars. After the intense concentration, the enemy attacked the building, their forces greatly outnumbering Sgt. Mitchell and his squad. He immediately went to the top floor, and despite his exposed and dangerous position delivered rapid fire on the enemy with his automatic rifle. His effective fire broke up the attack and saved the outpost. His skill and courage emulates the finest traditions of the fighting infantry.” He fought in the Battle of the Bulge under General Patton and also received two Purple Heart awards during the war.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in higher education? One of two things — either playing Indiana Jones, excavating archaeological sites in Israel or typing up book manuscripts on a manual typewriter underneath a palm tree on a South Pacific island and mailing those manuscripts off to publishers in large root beer bottles.
When you were a kid, what did you think you’d be doing as an adult? Being a missionary in China.
If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place? Give everybody a Gideon Bible and a root beer float.
Tell us about your greatest individual accomplishment. At age 53, placing seventh in the 2001 National Senior Olympics Games in Baton Rouge, La., for my age group (50-55) in the high jump competition (I’m sure I must have looked like a baby whale going over that bar).
If I could do anything, I would ... Grow hair.
What is your greatest fear? That someone would see me, and not want to follow Jesus
What is your greatest hope? To be like Jesus
What’s your favorite part about your job? Helping students accomplish their goals and dreams
What do you not like about your job? Having to ask people to pay their bill
Tell us how you met your spouse. She was a student worker in the Journalism Building at North Texas State University, and she made copies of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship newsletter that I wrote and edited for the little I-V group on campus. I thought she was the cutest girl I’d ever seen — and she was.
— Compiled by Freedom New Mexico Staff writer Liliana Castillo