“I’ll be here when Jake Gaither comes riding back with Jesus on a cloud.”
Bad press and rumors will not stop Florida A&M University associate professor Bill Proctor from serving the university and its students, Proctor said.
Issues involving Leon County Commissioner Proctor’s finances and taxes were published in the Tallahassee Democrat about two weeks ago.
And while some people doubted whether proctor, who teaches political science courses, would continue to teach at FAMU, Proctor said his resolve to serve FAMU is growing greater with time.
Proctor, who has been teaching at the university since 1986, said he would not let the bad press affect him or his abilities.
“It was a one-day story,” Proctor said. “(The story in the Democrat) has no relationship with me and FAMU. I will let nothing come between me and my love for FAMU.”
Being in the news did not bother Proctor. For Proctor, being in the news might as well be in his job description.
“I’m supposed to be in the news,” Proctor said. “I’m singularly the biggest newsmaker in Tallahassee. I have dominated the news this year.”
Proctor, a self-proclaimed baby Rattler, said he is confident in his teaching skill. What makes his classes so knowledgeable, he said, is his experience with the local government.
But Chris Minias, 21, a senior political science student from New Orleans, said it is Proctor’s willingness to help students that makes him a great asset to the university.
Minias, one of many students displaced by hurricane Katrina, said Proctor was always willing to talk or help him with a problem.
“He would call me just to check up on me,” Minias said. “He’s really out there with everything.”
Minias said Proctor and he are so close that they have each other’s personal phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
“He’ll actually sit there and strike up a conversation,” Minias said. “He does so much for the students.
“It doesn’t matter how long he’s been there or whether he’s part time. It’s about what (teachers) know. I feel that he has a better grasp on things,” he said.
Just like being in the news, helping his students is like second nature for Proctor. He believes that all teachers should be there for their students-and not just during class hours.
“I don’t know what other teachers are doing,” Proctor said. “I’m sure they’re willing to help. That’s what I’m here to do-to train students in season and out of season.”
Proctor said him helping his students is almost like helping his own family members.
“In a way, these students are like my sons and daughters,” he said. “You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to reach out.”
Although Monique Gillum, 19, a sophomore political student from Gainesville, does not have as close of a relationship with Proctor as Minias, she believes that he will always be there to help his students.
“I’ve never needed to (seek Proctor for counseling), but I’m sure he’s one of those people,” Gillum said. “He has a passion for teaching young black people.
Gillum wants people to differentiate Proctor’s school and government duties and not let one disrupt the other.
“I hope that what goes on in his government job doesn’t affect his job here,” she said.
Proctor said he plans on being at FAMU until he retires, which plans not to do for a while.
“I plan to retire when I’m 75; that’s my game plan,” Proctor said.
Contact Brandon D. Oliver at email@example.com
Commissioner Bill Proctor has been a member of the County Commission since 1996. His present term has run from Nov. 2002 to Nov. 2006.