After thirty years two well known professors will be leaving OCCC becoming what they consider “emeritus adjunct.” Gwin Faulconer-Lippert and Rick Lippert are the two professors who have been in the journalism department for years. Gwin has been at OCCC since the 80s. She started as a media specialist from 1984-1987. The following year she was asked to join “OCCC” as a full time mass media professor, the Pioneer reported in 1987.
At that time Gwin told reporters then she wanted to “Make sure our students from the very beginning get a good foundation and pay close attention to detail. Because understanding detail is what is going to make the student a professional and that is what is going to land a job.”
Without knowing it then, Gwin would impact dozens of students lives personally and professionally throughout her time here at OCCC.
Gwin’s chapter at OCCC started when she came to do a TV show about the college, and they hired her for two years. Then came the time to do the 15 year anniversary special of the college, and there, Gwin interviewed memorable professors on why they loved teaching.
Gwin earned her master’s degree in Higher Education and was taught under the professor who previously led the journalism department. That professor had taken a sabbatical. Gwin was asked to teach her adjunct her classes. When the professor had decided to not come back, Gwin began her teaching career.
“I had to go through the same interview process like everyone else, but I had real insight into what a community college is,” she said. “They were so passionate and so sincere and so fulfilled that it made me want to be a teacher.”
A former Pioneer writer said Gwin was the person who helped her realize she wanted to pursue broadcast journalism.
“I feel infinitely lucky to have learned from such a warm, witty, determined woman. Gwin has always been ready to push students farther. She pushed me closer to my capacity,” Johanna Babb said.
Rick Lippert never thought he would be a teacher. In fact, he actively avoided it.
“When I was taking graduate writing classes at UCO, I was on staff running the television studio, because they had Broadway screen writes, and Hollywood writers, but the whole program was designed to teach you how to teach,” he said. “I didn’t want to teach I wanted to be a film director.”
Rick did talent work for the camera, and in the fall of 1996, the theater director for OCCC asked if him wanted to teach an acting for the camera class.
“I never thought I was qualified, but assured me I was, and hired me on for the class,” he said.
While Rick was reluctant, Gwin said “it will cover your car payment.”
So he thought he could sacrifice one night a week to cover it, which eventually led the previous dean to ask him to teach the film and production class, in addition to acting for the camera.
“The dean gave me an ultimatum on finishing my master’s, because he waived that requirement, but because the college was coming up for accredidation in three years, he wanted his waivers off the books, so I went back to grad school at the age of 45, to get my masters” he said.
Rick began teaching three classes a semester.
Before there was a film program here, the previous dean had suggested a one week workshop in filmmaking.
Rick said in the summer of 1998, they shot a film.
“It was so successful. We had a script commissioned, we found the crew mainly out of Tulsa, we did auditions, it was so successful that we had a waiting list of as many people that we already had signed up. So we shot the same script, with a different cast, and different crew. So we shot the same film with a different crew in one week,” he said.
Rick took the whole spring semester to plan and organize the workshop, which became a regular occurrence, until OCCC made it into the class: digital cinema production.
Rick and Gwin still plan to continue what they’ve always done, aside from grading papers. Gwin plans to continue radio, public television, media training, and homeschooling her granddaughters.
Rick plans to continue with his production company, talent work, and wants to try audio book narration.
“Our pipe dream is to travel around the country and find our students that are working in the business and stop in and see them, and shoot stories about them.” They said.
Gwin Faulconer-Lippert, and Rick Lippert are two professors that have impacted the campus and their students for years. Though they may be leaving campus, their legacy will continue through their students as they begin their new chapter.