Honoring ACC’s First Employee, Anita Brewer Howard

Honoring ACC’s First Employee, Anita Brewer Howard


I liked Anita, I really really did like
her, and you know I’m not unique. everybody liked Anita she just had that
warm personality. Anita was fun, she had kind of a wry sense of humor, subtle,
she also was the best dresser. she was a very strong woman
but she was easy to approach and easy to converse with and that made her
receptive especially the people in the community. She was a working mother in an
era when that didn’t happen that much and she had a job that at that time not
that many women were reporters and because she is so smart and just so
personable I think she moved into covering all kinds of hard news. she was
sent to Dallas when Kennedy was shot and interviewed Sarah Hughes who was the
judge that swore in LBJ her actual writing was an interesting
style. as I recall her writing it varied quite a bit in subject matter.
which showed, I think, her intellectual capacity to be able to delve into so
many different topics rather than, ‘I’ve got the courthouse beating I’m gonna go
cover the courthouse’. No, she was out there interviewing and talking to people
with a wide range of interests and that, I think, that reflected her curiosity and
her ability to be able to look in to see a few things that maybe other people
didn’t see anything and write about it. and she won awards and it was not it was
not just her own little special niche which she had, but she got a number of
good awards for being the best in her profession at that stories. she was tuned
in to an incipient movement in the early 1960s part of a national almost
revolution in higher education with the development of the Community
College concept and thought that Austin needed that kind of a that kind of a
school I was appointed to become president the first president of Austin
Community College but I wanted Anita to go with me I pleaded with her to make
this transition to ACC and she agreed and in fact she became the first
employee of ACC because she went to work the week before I got there she was
so critically important to the founding of the college that I think in some ways
she should her value to ACC exceeded the the contributions of the the political
leaders Anita was there to push push push push push
quietly, but so effectively she’s the founder of the journalism program at
Austin Community College ACC was very smart to bring her on
board to do that and and then her teaching, no better teacher. she had so
much experience and so much knowledge and she could impart to students and and she always had such an upbeat kind of
friendly manner and students loved her and she taught all our journalism courses
over the course of the years that we had at that time which was intro to mass
comm news writing which was really probably what she was best at and
editing as she she was always positive and she just kept going I mean how many
people continue to teach into their 80s and she retired full-time but continued
to teach as an adjunct which means she taught usually two or three courses and
she continued to get up in front of these 18 and 19 year olds and share her
experiences in the world Anita is to me a model for aging she was
smart and she was kind and she was always engaged in the world
and interested in what was going on and you know I hope I think we all would
like to go into our nineties like that

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