BAAS director Delores Jackson reflects on 20 years of service in Air Force

Jackson calls her service 'experience of a lifetime'

BAAS director Delores Jackson reflects on 20 years of service in Air Force

When Midwestern State University (MSU Texas) honors its veterans Thursday, one of those speaking will be Delores Jackson, director of the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) program. Jackson spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force before making her way to Wichita Falls. She calls her service the “experience of a lifetime.”

Jackson entered the U.S. Air Force in 1974 after graduating from high school in Cleveland, Ohio. During the next 20 years, she lived in many states and countries, spending her first 10 years as a medic and the next 10 years as an EEO counselor, conducting workshops in human relations, working with sexual harassment claims, and in training and development.

While serving in the Air Force, she attended colleges and universities from one coast to the other – 10 different universities in all. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Methodist College in North Carolina (now Methodist University), and her master’s in human resource development from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Jackson retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant in 1994.

Jackson’s husband, Aaron Jackson, also retired Air Force, was an electrician and electrical instructor. Upon his retirement, officials at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls offered him a job as an instructor.

When they first moved to Wichita Falls, Jackson worked with the city in family services. She and her husband lived in the French Quarter apartments (now Waterford Glen), catty-cornered from MSU Texas at Midwestern Parkway and Taft. “Every time I passed it (MSU Texas), I would think ‘I sure would like to work there.’” In late 2001, that wish became reality. She accepted a job as the military liaison to Sheppard Air Force Base, connecting military members to MSU Texas.

In her current position as director of the BAAS program, Jackson feels like she is well-suited to counsel nontraditional students as her experience in the military, and with completing her own degrees and attending so many different universities, helped her understand adult students. “I understand the desire to complete a degree with all the things that interfere with life. And I know the ultimate satisfaction of completing that degree.” Jackson earned her master’s in counseling from MSU Texas and her doctorate from the University of North Texas.

Delores Jackson photo in Air Force uniform

Jackson is proud to have served in what she considers the “greatest military in the world,” and to having been a part of its role in preserving democracy and peacekeeping efforts around the world.

She is also proud of the military’s stance on diversity and is thankful that she was able to work with people of all cultures and ethnicities. “The military values diversity and makes sure that people of all cultures have the chance to serve,” she said. “I not only learned about people and cultures, but also the work it takes to maintain democracy. It was the experience of a lifetime. I would do it all over again.”

MSU Texas Veterans Day Ceremony

MSU Texas will honor the veterans in its family at 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 11, at the main entrance to the Hardin Administration Building. MSU Texas faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend, and to consider dressing in red, white, and blue.

After the Redwine Carillon strikes at 11 a.m., the ceremony will begin with MSU Texas carillonneur Jim Quashnock playing the “Star Spangled Banner.” MSU Texas Veterans Affairs counselor Ismael Peoria and Interim President James Johnston will give welcome remarks. Quashnock will toll the bells 11 times to commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Peoria will recognize the veterans in the MSU Texas family by branch of service. Delores Jackson will also speak. Dean of the Dillard College of Business Administration Jeff Stambaugh and Dean of the Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences Sam Watson will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Fred Dietz, vice president for enrollment management, will give closing remarks.

Dietz, Jackson, Peoria, Quashnock, Stambaugh, and Watson all are veterans.