Ron McNeel


Professor of English

M.A., Northern Arizona University

I was born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1952, and grew up in what was then farming country on the west side of Phoenix.  I was, and still am, bad at sports; but I was the salutatorian of Tolleson High School in 1970, and I got a ticket out in the form of a scholarship to Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff.  I still love the mountains and pine forests around Flagstaff.

I had a lot of fun in college, and I studied some, too.  I completed a bachelor’s degree in 1974.  My extended major (54 semester hours) was in English; my minor (21 semester hours) was in philosophy.

I was out of school only long enough to raise some money to get back to graduate school, also at Northern Arizona University.  I completed a master’s degree in community college education, with an emphasis in the teaching of English, (51 semester hours), in 1977.

Teaching jobs were elusive, so I worked 9 seasons as a firefighter on U.S. Forest Service Hotshot crews in and around Flagstaff.  I tried graduate school from 1979-1980 at the University of Oregon in Eugene, but ran out of money and sunshine.  I returned to my Forest Service job.

Along with summertime firefighting and wintertime bus driving up and down an icy mountain road for the Flagstaff ski area, I started teaching part-time for a community college in Flagstaff.

In 1985, on a fire in the central mountains of Idaho, I got word that NMSU-Alamogordo wanted to interview me for a job.  Lucky for me, I was able to make the interview.  I got the job, and I’ve been teaching here ever since: developmental and transfer-level composition classes; technical and business communication classes; American literature.

Since 1994, I have been on the slow track toward a Ph.D. in Rhetoric Professional Communication at NMSU-Las Cruces.  I have completed 60 semester hours in the program, and I am now ABD in the program: All But Dissertation.

Along with the teaching at NMSU-Alamogordo, I have taken on some administrative duties.  I have twice served as interim Division Head for Business, Humanities, & Social Sciences.  I have coordinated English and reading studies since 1995.  Lately, I have been coordinating all of Humanities, as well as facilitating the development of our budding technical communications program.

I have been married for 25 years.  My daughter, my wife, and I have all taken classes at NMSU-Alamogordo.  My daughter, Jennifer, is finishing her senior year at NMSU.  My wife, Lyn, works in the NMSU-Alamogordo library.  My son, Daniel, is a freshman at Tularosa High School.

I enjoy fly fishing, but I’m pretty bad at it.