AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — World traveler, poet, published author, WT professor emeritus, community activist and penguin enthusiast are just some of the ways to describe Claudia Stuart, a woman who wears many hats.
Stuart was recently named to West Texas A&M University’s Distinguished Alumni list, honoring WT alumni who’ve reached outstanding personal and professional accomplishments.
“It felt so good, so wonderful, and I’m deeply honored and humbled for that,” Stuart said. “Through the years, I’ve sat on various committees with other distinguished alums, and just the contributions that they had made were so remarkable to our university. So, to be in that elite group, it feels wonderful.”
Serving as a Sociology and Criminal Justice professor, Stuart made history at WT, where she was the first full-time, African-American female faculty member when she was hired in 1996. She also taught Sports & Exercise Science.
“It was a period of many firsts for the university, so I really just dug in,” she said. “I just wanted to make sure that the main thing for me to do is do my job, develop a relationship with students, so that I could import knowledge to them, and we could speak back and forth.”
Stuart has been a mainstay throughout WT history. She received a Bachelor of Science from the institution in sociology in 1972, and a Master of Arts in social science in 1985. She went on to receive a Master certification in criminal justice administration in 1985 from West Texas State University.
She even met her husband Harold Stuart, who had a standout football career for the Buffs and is a member of the 2016 Hall of Champions class, at WT. They wed on June 11, 1969, in Canyon.
Stuart is very passionate about poetry and writing. Currently, she has 15 books that have been published.
“I’ve always had an affinity for books and reading, those were my passions,” she said. “Growing up, I was always writing and journaling because with my dad being in the military and going to different places throughout his tours, some of those experiences, I didn’t want those lost.”
As a lifelong advocate of equality and community activist, Stuart said it is imperative for every community to feel represented.
“If there was more diversity and inclusion, especially in city government, we wouldn’t have some of the struggles in some communities that feel they have been marginalized, left out, don’t have their piece of the pie like everybody else,” she said.
For more information on Claudia Stuart’s works, visit Barnes & Noble Bookstores, Walgreen’s or Amazon.