Hawkins relays love for Troy in newly-released book

Published 12:03 am Saturday, September 28, 2013

For Dr. Doug Hawkins, telling the story of how a small town in Southeast Alabama was chosen as home to one of four training schools for teachers was extremely important. It was just as important for him to tell the story of how State Normal School has become one of the best universities in the Southeast.

The telling comes from Hawkins’ love of both Troy and Troy University.

Hawkins’ story of the growth of Troy University is told in “Turning Points: History of Troy University,” which hit the book stands this week.

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“The book was two years in the making,” Hawkins said in a tone that expressed both pride and relief. “Telling this story was something that I had wanted to do for a long time. And, once I got started, it took longer than I thought.”

What Hawkins thought would be an “easy” six-month project turned into a year and then two years and more.

Hawkins said the effort and time the book required were more than anticipated but the end product is personally satisfying.

“I hope that ‘Turning Points’ will mean half as much to other Trojans as it does to me,” he said.

In order to get the information correct, writing any kind of history requires a great amount of research.

“I made a real effort to make sure the information is right. But, if Margaret Pace Farmer was living she would find something wrong,” he said, laughing.

The book contains more than 200 photographs, many from the Troy University’s archives.

Hawkins said he used a large number of aged and recent photographs because they tell the story in a visual way.

“We all like to look at photographs because they quickly bring back memories,” he said. “I was proud to find some old photographs that were in color. I think ‘Turning Points’ is unique in the number of photographs and the length of time covered.”

The photographs chronicle the history of Troy and include businesses, churches, schools and homes as well as the physical growth of Troy University.

The history of Troy is covered in the first chapter, which takes Troy from the wilderness to the county seat.

“Turning Points” is unique in that it includes many “firsts.”

“People seem to always be interested in things that happened first and there are a lot of first things in the book,” Hawkins said. “I’m especially proud of the portraits of the presidents of Troy University, beginning with Joseph Macon Dill in 1887. A chapter is devoted to each president of the university.”

Hawkins said he knew the past four presidents of Troy University personally.

“Dr. C.B. Smith lived on the same street as I did,” he said. “He was the principal of a high school where his mother, who was a graduate of Troy Normal School, taught.

“I met Dr. Frank Stewart and talked with him often about the Greek system and the impact that it could have at the university.”

As a member of the university’s board of trustees, Hawkins had a professional and personal relationship with Dr. Ralph Adams and continues to have the same type of relationship with Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr.

“The chapters on Dr. Adams and Dr. Hawkins are more personal and give greater insight into these two outstanding educators and great men,” Hawkins said.

“Turning Points” is both a written and pictorial history of Troy University and was penned by a man who “truly loves Troy University.”

Hawkins has served on the Troy University Board of Trustees for 33 years. Sixteen of those years were as president pro tempore.

During his many years of service, he has been instrumental in the “turning points” that have shaped Troy University.

Early in his career as a trustee, Hawkins was involved with organizing the Greek system and building exposure for the university through the move to NCAA Division I athletics.

He was an early advocate for the university’s internationalization.

Hawkins has been a practicing veterinarian in Troy for 54 years.

He believes that success is in one’s heart and mind, not in the opinion of others. However, it is his desire that the opinion of others toward “Turning Points” will be positive because he has put his heart into the doing of it.