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Montgomery College Student Success Stories

Not the Retiring Type
Insights, Fall ’04

Tom Logan ’73On June 30, 2004, Tom Logan ’73 took the long drive home from Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, and entered the unfamiliar world of retirement. Would it feel strange to not drive back to MC the next day as he had, religiously, for well more than 30 years? The answer was “yes,” it did feel strange. But it also felt very right to a man who first set foot on the campus as a student in the early 1970s, and who had worked at MC ever since. “I knew too many people who had worked—because they loved the job—longer than they should have. I wanted to retire when I was healthy, and I’m glad I did. I can go out and play with the dogs, and do things that require big chunks of time. I’m having a great time, and I feel good.”

When he first started as an MC student “a million years ago,” Logan had an English professor who instilled in him a passion for learning. After completing his associate’s degree at MC, Logan continued his education at the University of Maryland and at George Washington University. He reminisced about those hectic years with a smile on his face. He had juggled teaching photography full time at the College (and eventually, also chairing the Visual Communications Technologies Department), earning his bachelor’s and then master’s degrees, raising a family, and freelancing.

“That was back when I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with it all,” he mused. In 1988, Logan became the instructional dean of Fine, Performing, and Visual Arts, and the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center (PAC) at the Rockville Campus, a job he held for 16 years. “There were lots of individual successes— you know—nothing earth shattering,” Logan claimed modestly when asked about his greatest professional accomplishments. He’s pleased that music is part of the academic vitality of the campus and that all four of the art departments work so well together, sharing galleries and students. “I don’t know that I had much of anything to do with it other than allowing it to happen.” He expressed extreme satisfaction that the PAC puts on countless annual shows (put together and performed by the students in the music, speech, dance, theatre, and American Sign Language departments), including four main stage productions, dance concerts, a professional guest artist series, a music series, and a Saturday morning children’s series. “Plus, it’s a facility that’s available for the community to use.”

Logan can also take pride in having been part of the team that created Montgomery College’s Arts Institute, as well as helping to facilitate the consolidation of Montgomery College’s art departments with the Maryland College of Art and Design, now called the School of Art and Design at Montgomery College. When asked what advice he would give to current students, faculty, staff, and those contemplating retirement, Logan hit home the idea that students ought to demand what they pay for in a college education. “Don’t walk out of a classroom feeling confused or unsure. Insist that the professor help you to learn what you are there to learn.” For the faculty and staff, he shared a favorite quote from Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” And for those on the brink of retirement, he urged them to know when the time is right to make a graceful exit and to allow themselves years of health, activity, and happiness following the close of their professional lives.