Midlander reminisces on MC’s impactJanuary 18, 2024

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Janice Ford standing in McCormick Gallery in the Allison Fine Arts Building on the MC main campus.

Janice Ford was one of the first students to take classes on the Midland College (MC) main campus.  

“When I started going to Midland College in the fall of 1974, we were still taking classes in a metal warehouse-type building on Andrews Highway,” Ford recalled.  “Then at the beginning of my second semester, January 1975, the buildings on the main campus opened.  I remember going to class that first day.  Everything was brand new, and there was a huge wind and sand storm.  The staff were so eager to make sure that the campus was inviting and looked good.  The grounds crew kept sweeping sand off the sidewalks.  I think they were fighting a losing battle that day!”  

This would not be the only time that Ford would take classes at Midland College.  She returned later as an adult to take additional Midland College credit courses and professional development training, maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average throughout all her courses.  

“I feel like Midland College is part of my life,” she said.  

Ford was actually still in high school when she first enrolled in English classes at Midland College.  

“I was a senior at Lee High School [now Legacy High School], and I had enough credits to graduate that I didn’t have to take afternoon classes,” she said.  “So, I decided to go ahead and get some college credit at Midland College, and I’m so glad that I did.  Sam Turner was my MC English teacher.  He was wonderful.  He really taught me how to write, and his English composition classes have served me well all my life.  I never wrote much in high school, and I remember having to think analytically in order to write well.  The guidance and classes also helped me navigate to Texas Tech when I graduated from high school in May 1975.  In fact, I started taking classes at Tech four days after high school graduation, and I majored in journalism.  I was definitely better prepared for my journalism classes because of my Midland College English composition class!”

Ford received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas Tech University in August 1979.  In addition to the required courses for a journalism degree, she also took a great deal of Spanish courses as electives.  After college graduation, she worked for various oil and gas companies in Midland for the next 8 years, and it was during this time that she returned to Midland College to take legal assisting/paralegal courses.  

“A friend wanted to take the courses, and I said I would take them with her,” Ford explained.  “I always had an interest in the legal profession, and those classes were amazing!  In fact, I continued to enroll in legal courses for two years from 1985-1987 because they were some of the best courses I ever had.  One of my professors was Nancy Hart.  She required a lot of writing in her classes, and that further improved my writing skills.”

In 1987, the Midland Reporter-Telegram hired Ford to work in the advertising department.   

“Even though, I really didn’t work as a news reporter, I was able to write copy for weekly advertising pages, special editions of the newspaper and the Permian Basin Business Journal,” she explained.  “So, I was able to use my journalism background and the writing skills I learned at Midland College in both my English composition courses and legal courses.”

In 1991, Ford decided to change careers so that she could spend more time with her daughter Emily.  She received a bilingual teaching certification from Region 18 Education Service Center and then worked for two years as an English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual teacher for Ector County Independent School District.  

In 1993, the Midland Independent School District hired Ford to teach Bilingual and ESL courses and later English courses.  She continued to teach until her retirement in 2020.  During this time, she sought additional opportunities at Midland College to enhance her career.

“In the summer of 1993, even though I was certified as a bilingual teacher, I wanted to improve my Spanish so that I could better communicate with parents of my students,” she said.  “I once again enrolled in Midland College—this time taking Spanish courses from Dr. Jim Jones.  Just like the English and legal courses I took previously, the Spanish courses also helped me in my career by giving me more confidence in speaking Spanish with parents and students.  I now speak Spanish fluently and have not only used my Spanish skills in my professional career, but also relied on them in my travels in Mexico and South America.”

Throughout her teaching career, Ford participated in various continuing education/professional development seminars and workshops hosted by Midland College.  

After retirement, she worked for two years as a part-time teacher at the Children’s Learning Center at First Christian Church in Midland.  Ford now enjoys spending time with her granddaughter and traveling.  She has attended schools in Mexico and Argentina, as well as participated in mission trips to Ecuador, Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas border communities. She still calls Midland home and continues to enjoy activities at Midland College.

“Midland College played a major part of my career progression, and the MC Kids’ College program was a huge hit with Emily during the summer when she was a child,” Ford stated.  “Then, when Emily graduated from high school, she attended MC for two years on the Legacy Scholarship before transferring to Texas Tech.  I was very impressed with the College’s continued growth and improvements.

“We definitely take advantage of all that Midland College has to offer the community!  In fact, my 95-year-old father and I continue to participate in many of the cultural enrichment activities that the College offers through the Phyllis and Bob Cowan Performing Arts series and the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series.”  

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