‘Put people first:’ Dr. Bill Dorman leaves lasting impact on students, Comm dept.

Published on April 7, 2016.

It’s bittersweet for all parties involved when a professor announces his retirement; students, past and present, remember the good times shared, commend the professor on an astounding job done in the field and rejoice in the fact that he will have a happy retirement.

Dr. Bill Dorman earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication and Theatre at Susquehanna University, and then went on to complete his MA in Communication from Bloomsburg State College and his Doctorate from Penn State. He has been at Millersville University since 1985.

“I came to MU in the infancy of the broadcasting program. We had two courses in TV, 2 in radio, and 2 in broadcast writing.  We’ve expanded the curriculum, added several co-curricular opportunities, and created an atmosphere of professionalism and opportunity,” Dorman said. “We [now] have almost 200 broadcasting majors, and a network of alumni who are a valuable resource.”

Students are what inspires Dorman to wake up each and every morning. “I have found the perfect job for my skills. My students inspire me to give teaching my all,” Dorman said. “Watching them learn, helping them discover and build their talents is energizing–and at times exhausting.”

While students may be one of his primary passions, he said he also likes to golf, do woodworking projects and fish. Family is also a big part of his life. “My best friend is my wife.  I met her in high school,” he said, noting his strong marriage. “We have raised three children, we currently have 3 grandchildren, and we are looking forward to spending more time together, traveling and hiking.”

Despite the fact that Dorman is retiring, he quoted the former Yankees player, Lou Gehrig, saying, “[I am] the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He continued to say, “I have been surrounded by talented colleagues who are nationally recognized scholars.

“I have helped hundreds of students grow into productive careers. The University has provided the department with the necessary equipment to learn and practice the skills they need to enter the broadcasting profession,” Dorman said.

He mentioned the importance of joining organizations, stating that the organizations need the students, but more importantly the students need the organizations. MUTV and the National Broadcasting Society are two of his biggest footprints on campus; he is the adviser for both of the groups.

“It is too easy to think that you’ll get around to joining something…eventually. Get started today,” Dorman said. He mentioned that he knows not all students have enough time to take part of many groups, but he said, “there is always a way to participate if you really want to.”

That is one of the many pieces of advice he offers his students; he has made himself a valuable resource to anyone who comes his way. “Take advantage of the experiences that are unique to the college years. Experiment and challenge yourself with the courses you choose,” Dorman said.  “If you are not involved in an activity associated with your major–change your major.  You have got to listen to yourself and realize what you REALLY want to do.”

He continued, “For my department’s majors, there’s college radio, TV and newspaper.  The curriculum provides the primary foundation, but the co-curricular activities provide opportunities to hone those skills, develop leadership talents, and learn so many intangibles,” Dorman said.

“When those active students graduate, they have up to four years of projects, programs, and articles to show potential employers,” Dorman said.  “And, they’ve built relationships with current and future professionals.  They’ve succeeded and failed and learned.”

Future communications majors will truly be missing out, according to Communications/Public Relations student Danielle Barlieb. “It’s sad that he’s retiring, but I’m happy for him,” Barlieb said.

“As far as comm professors go, they’re all great, but Dr. Dorman really stood out with the way he always incorporated humor into his lectures,” Barlieb said. “He was obviously very passionate about being a professor.”

Another communications major, Senior Matthew Smith, also said nothing but great things about the retiring professor. “Dorman is one of the kindest yet most strict man that anyone could meet,” Smith said.

He continued, “And I’m not saying that as a bad thing because when you took a class with him, you learned without him using the conventional form of teaching,” Smith said. “Outside of the classroom, he would tell you stories about him in school and his early days of teaching and it really gave you an insight into his life and his journey to where he is today. He truly will be missed by everyone that has ever crossed paths with him at this university.”

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