RETIREMENT: Garry Spencer, Electrical Engineering Professor, retires after 40 years

by Daphne J. Thomas

Garry Spencer retired Sept. 18, 2018, nearly 40 years to the day that he stepped on campus armed with a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a desire to make a difference through teaching. He says if he hasn’t learned anything over those years, he has learned this: I believe that teaching is one of those rare professions where practitioners can invest themselves in the lives of others and see a return on their investment in the form of personal success for those whose lives they touch.

Garry Spencer

If his career accomplishments are any indication, Spencer has learned plenty over the years and so have the thousands of students who sat in his classes. Since joining the faculty of State Technical Institute at Memphis Sept. 15, 1978, Spencer has served as a faculty member, program coordinator of Electrical Engineering Technology and chair of the Technologies department. He was named Outstanding Technical Teacher of the Year by the American Technical Education Association in 2007 and is a four-time recipient of Memphis Joint Engineers Council’s Featured Engineer of the Year award. He’s even been published in the American Technical Education Association Journal and Nuts & Volts Magazine, the most popular hobbyist electronics magazine in circulation.

Spencer also has written several software programs over the years that Southwest faculty and staff still use today, including Computer-Assisted Student Scheduler, Historical Course Search, Room Finder, Advising Center Program, Class Search Mobile Web App and Job Search Mobile Web App. I have maintained and upgraded these programs to meet the changing needs of the college, he said.

While Spencer’s impact on college operations was significant, his impact on students was immeasurable. He founded and served as faculty advisor of the Southwest Robotics Club and served as statewide chair of four curriculum alignment committees for Tennessee Board of Regents. I have done everything possible to ensure that our students will be successful in their careers and in life, he said.

Spencer plans to pursue his favorite hobbies as a ham radio operator and SkyWarn Severe Weather Spotter for the National Weather Service.

Congratulations, Garry!