Updated: Mar 19, 2021
By: Sydney Graff
The spotlight has landed on Dr. Tom Copeland, professor of psychology and counseling and director of the Hardin-Simmons University Julius Olsen Honors Program.
Dr. Copeland began his work at HSU in the fall of 1994. In 2005, he was given the opportunity to become the director of the honors program. He enjoys balancing teaching psychology and managing the honors program, as his passion lies in both.
Dr. Copeland has also had the opportunity to participate in a multitude of faculty committees over the years, such as the Academic Committee, Faculty Development Committee, Faculty Evaluation Committee and others. From 2018-2020 he was Faculty President, but with that taking up much of his time, he decided to draw back a bit.
“This fall I’m enjoying just teaching my classes and trying to get back into focusing on the honors program, which I feel like I’ve neglected over the past two years,” Dr. Copeland said.
With his rekindled attention and dedication to the honors program, Dr. Copeland also reflects on the aspects of HSU for which he is grateful. He has great memories that have come from his tenure here at Hardin-Simmons. He especially highlights the authentic relationships he has made with both colleagues and students who have become friends of his.
The most memorable time for Dr. Copeland was when he had esophageal cancer in 2005 and 2006. He had to struggle through the difficulties of chemotherapy, radiation and a massive surgery which led him to be out of commission from late November of 2005 until almost March of 2006. He felt truly loved during this time as people would surround him with prayer, cover his classes if he felt too sick to come in and send him cards and gifts.
“It really changed my life,” Dr. Copeland said. “It was by far the hardest time in my life, and my friends and colleagues at HSU were honestly the hands and feet of Jesus for me. It was pretty special, and I’ll never forget it.”
While looking to the future, Dr. Copeland would like to keep teaching and running the honors program for another five or six years. His passion for teaching others is apparent in how he abundantly gives his time, effort and heart into everything he does here at HSU. He expresses his appreciation for the “extended family” HSU has become to him.