Dr. Rex P. Kyker was my speech professor during my first year of study at Abilene Christian College in 1975. Later he taught me American Public Address and Business and Professional Speaking in my master’s program. Of all the professors I had at Abilene, he made the biggest impact on me.
Dr. Kyker was a popular speaker and a gifted teacher who received the Teacher of the Year award in 1976. He started Pi Kappa Delta (a forensic honor society) and was “The Voice of the Big Purple. ” He chaired the speech department for many years. It is no exaggeration to say that Dr. Rex Kyker was an iconic professor at ACC.
I believe we all need a professor like Rex Kyker at some point in life. I was not a particularly good student back in my undergraduate days. I was young, immature, and lacked the discipline needed to be successful in my studies. Even so, Dr. Kyker encouraged me to keep trying and later he suggested that I enroll in graduate school. When I completed my masters, he moved me in the direction of a doctorate.
I would not have done this had it not been for Dr. Kyker’s support. He wrote letters in my behalf–in the days before computers could spit them out. But more importantly, Rex passed my name along to a professor at North Texas State University.
I had given up on the idea of graduate school since I had applied to many places with no success. The rejection letters did their job and convinced me to believe that I should choose a different path.
One day out of the blue, a Dr. William DeMougeot from the speech department at NTSU called and said he’d like to interview me. I had not even applied to study there but Rex worked behind the scenes with a willingness to vouch for me and use his connections to help me out.
I have numerous Rex stories–maybe I’ll tell a few someday. But for now, I’m very convinced that my wonderful life as a college educator would never have happened if Dr. Rex Kyker had not given unselfishly of himself at a time when I needed it the most.
Rex passed away in December of 1996. I don’t know how God attributes the good that we have done–but I know that Rex deserves to share in whatever goodness I may have accomplished.