ENMU professor, debate coach retiring

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

After 33 years of teaching and wearing many hats at Eastern New Mexico University, Anthony Schroeder, professor of communications and director of the debate and forensics team, is retiring.

Senior communications major Erin Griffith had Schroeder as a professor for two class and as debate coach. She meet him in high school at a debate tournament hosted by Eastern.

Griffith said Schroeder was part of her reason for coming to ENMU.

“He talked us into coming,” Griffith said. “He sent us to camp our freshman year, me and a good friend. Schroeder is very inspiring for what he wants students to accomplish in speech and debate. He has been very supportive of that program.”

University President Steven Gamble first met Schroeder when he was the chairman of the faculty senate. Schroeder helped Gamble to understand where the problems were at ENMU.

“He was very helpful to me,” Gamble said. “He would give me some of the history of the issues facing the university. I needed someone to tell me how we got into the position, and he was always very straight to the point and honest with me.”

Gamble said Schroeder was very student-oriented and good in the classroom.

In retirment, Schroeder’s plans include continuing to do research, consulting and traveling. His wife, an attorney, has a lot of activities for him to do and they plan on staying in the area.

For Schroeder, communications was not his first choice when he went to college. His freshman year, a good friend was standing in line ahead of him and applied to be an engineer.

So, Schroeder did, too.

Schroeder’s first class was drafting, and he hated it. He could remember his father, an engineer, drawing all the time, so he changed his major.

Schroeder took communication, theater, speech, journalism and a minor in education to get on the road to becoming a teacher. He even worked part time at the Arizona Republic newspaper in Tucson as a graduate student.

In 1975, he came to ENMU. Schroeder said he really enjoyed his time at Eastern because it is a growing institution.

Schroeder served as chair for the communication department for 12 years.

Every year, Schroeder took the debate team to state or regional tournaments as coach. He brought so much recognition to the debate and forensics team, he was made graduate dean and director of extended learning.

Schroeder’s debate experience goes back as far as his senior year in high school, when he coached a team that went to the state tournament.

Also, Schroeder helped set up a concurrent enrollment program in which faculty could teach students in other parts of the state and in high school. These students earned college credit.

“We didn’t have to go there, we could teach in front of a camera,” Schroeder said. “I think we have taught all the way up to Mosquero. We did history, Spanish and English classes.”

Mark Isham, professor of educational studies, also retired from Eastern after 27 years teaching. He was unavailable for comment.a