Our people: Non-traditional student

Clovis resident and Eastern New Mexico University instructor Lonzo Lassiter began what he calls the second half of his life at age 50 when he attended college for the first time. Prior to that, he worked in construction and carpentry but after three surgeries, doctors told him to find something else to do for a living. A few weeks into recovery, Lassiter became bored and began taking classes at Clovis Community College.

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“I was hooked,” Lassiter said. “The next semester I took a full load. One of my classes was a communications class and that hooked me too. I learned that I’ve been miscommunicating my entire life.”

He became involved with the theater department at CCC and that’s where he learned stage lighting and audio production. That knowledge lead to his involvement with the Clovis Music Festival.

Even then, Lassiter said he never thought he’d want to teach. After transferring to ENMU and graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in communications, he became an adjunct professor while working as a student employee at KENW-TV. As a full-time instructor, Lassiter said he enjoys working with students more than he ever thought he would.

What’s your favorite TV show, past and present? One of my favorite TV shows from the past is “All in the Family.” It was very entertaining and was able to showcase some of the social problems of the time in a way that really made you more aware of them. It presented as many sides of the argument as possible in a comedy setting but it caused you to think about the social injustices of the time. There are few shows I currently watch and one of my favorites is “Breaking Bad.” It is very entertaining with lots of action and I love that it is shot in Albuquerque. You get to see how a person can get caught up in a bad situation, make a bad decision in search of a solution to the problem and then things just go from bad to worse. Much like “All in the Family,” it deals with current problems facing society today.

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One movie I could watch over and over again is… “Little Big Man” with Dustin Hoffman and Chief Dan George. I have probably watched it five times within the past year. It is a classic in my opinion and one of the best. The acting, cinematography, casting and music are an incredible combination that create a fantastic movie.

In an alternative life, I would have been a… Folk singer in the ‘60s. I love that style of music and many others, but that was such a great time for music that carried a message besides being entertaining, and it would have been really cool to meet some of those folds such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

If I had an open plane ticket to anywhere, I would go to… Ireland. It just has so many cool places to see.

The most unique place I’ve ever traveled is to… Merida, the capitol city of the state of Yucatan, Mexico. I went there as part of a class from ENMU with Dr. Mary Ayala. I studied Mexican culture and civilization and Mexican literature. It was an amazing place, as were the people.

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What is your favorite taste? My favorite taste and smell are both coffee. I love my coffee. I cannot function without it.

If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place? I do not believe money can solve the most important problems in the world. Better communication and understanding each other’s cultural differences would improve the world so I guess if the money was spent toward that end it might make a difference.

After a long, hard day, I love to… Go home, hide out in my private space and listen to music. I love many different types of music and my choice of music depends on what kind of day I have had. I might listen to hard rock one day and old blues the next. Sometimes I just have to dig through the albums and CDs until I find one that seems to fit my mood that day.

What is your most prized possession? One of my most prized possessions is a Hamilton Railway Special pocket watch my dad gave me on my 21st birthday. It got damaged a few years ago when I left it in my jeans and my wife washed it, but I plan to have it repaired no matter the cost. My dad bought the watch used from Herb Edwards, who was a jeweler here in Clovis in 1952 when I was nearly 1-year-old.