Click for latest Idle American column
Click here for
(right click and 'Save As' to download)
IS THIS GUY?
PHILOSOPHER, UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT, AUTHOR, HUMORIST, TEACHER, PATRIOT....
all of these-and more! With 5,700 appearances under his belt in 45 of
these United States, Dr. Don Newbury has accumulated
thousands of interesting and hilarious experiences. He's had so many
of them, he's less certain now than in early going
how to prioritize them! Added to them in 2002 was the release of his
first book- When the Porch Light's
On...Stories of People, Popcorn and Parasails.
His hilarious memoirs of 40 years in higher education and more than a million
miles on the speaking trail have been highly acclaimed by numerous
newspapers and thousands of readers. It is now in its second printing. Since the first book, Dr. Newbury
has published books annually, including including Life by the Seat of
the Pants, A Few Geese Short of a Gaggle, Stories from the Sunny
Side, Funnier Than Fiction, A Wheelbarrow Guy in a Digital World,
Honk! If You're Sick of Political Ads,
As the World Churns and Life With IF in the Middle...
Now a fulltime speaker and
writer, Dr. Newbury's reputation as an outstanding speaker is well-known. He
has delighted corporate audiences, as well as trade and professional
organizations and conferences throughout the nation. Each of his
presentations is customized to "fit" his engagements.
His weekly column of humor
and inspiration now appears in about 150 Texas newspapers and is heard on
selected radio stations. The Idle American is now in its
eighth year of syndication.
Though long billed as a humorist and the "nation's 'unstuffiest' college president," he has always been
heartened by comments like, "You gave us much to think about. Your
masterful weaving of inspiration and humor was skilled and appreciated." "Lots of folks can tell jokes and stories, but
i believe there has to be more," Dr. Newbury said,
"Humor is very much on the back burner when you are speaking to
a group at College Station hours following the bonfire collapse, or an
assembly of educators while New York City's 'Ground Zero' is still in
flames following the September 11th carnage." Remaining at the center
of propriety for all engagements has been of paramount importance-far more
important than standing ovations, which he often receives. He has much to
talk about, and delights in finding humor in every day situations. He
recalls delightful accounts of students overcoming great obstacles en route
to university degrees, and helps numerous groups discover "can
do" attitudes in their organizations. His "speaking style"
has been compared to Paul Harvey and Will Rogers.
His most requested speaking topics include:
....THE SECOND-HIGHEST CALLING
....FROM ADAM'S RIB TO WEB PAGES
....PAST PERFECT; FUTURE TENSE
in addition to traditional experiences as an educator, Dr. Newbury's
assignments have included:
- Editor of weekly newspaper
- Sports Director with syndicated sports show heard on radio stations across
- Reporter and correspondent for several major Texas newspapers
- Publicist, Lone Star Athletic Conference
- High School basketball official
- Speaker for conventions/dinners in 45 states
Community leader and Sunday School teacher
A rural Texas native, he is always "at home with people," whether
addressing small audiences in remote areas, or in the nation's largest
urban settings. He champions the work ethic, getting his first "paying
job" in the summer of age 14. He sold snow cones for a nickel in a
Brownwood gun shop, "cashiering"
for the quadriplegic owner to pay for the space. (The sign out front,
"HANDGUNS AND SNOW CONES," seemed as incongruous as the sign at a
lakeside store featuring "HOT DOUGHNUTS AND FISHING
Educated in Brown County, Newbury holds B. A., Master of Journalism and
Ph.D. degrees from Howard Payne University, the University of Texas at
Austin and the University of North Texas, respectively, with post-doctoral
study at Notre Dame. In 2008, he received Howard Payne's highest award:
The Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.
During his 40 years in
higher education, Dr. Newbury spent almost half of his career in
presidencies, including Western Texas College in Snyder (1980-85) and at
Howard Payne University in Brownwood (1986-1997). The year 2010 marked
his 50th year as a platform personality.
Students refer to him as the "popcorn president," since he has
popped and given away more than 24 tons of popcorn on his back porch. They
have known that "when the porch light's on," Dr Newbury is giving
away popcorn. Thus the inspiration for the title of his first book... He has
whiled away hundreds of evenings sharing the popcorn with students, and
other visitors, at his home. While it is considered the norm for college
students to "look up" to their presidents, in Newbury's case, it
worked in reverse. More than 600, in fact, "looked down" on
Dr. Newbury! That's because he was the operator of the parasail boat, and
when they parasailed, they looked down on him and the boat from 600 feet
above Lake Brownwood. Prior to operating the parasail boat, Dr. Newbury
took great delight in giving students more traditional lake rides on
skiis, slaloms, tubes and wakeboards.
Dr. Newbury is married to the former Brenda Pack of Alpine, Texas. They
have three daughters-all of whom have been public school teachers-Julie
(Mrs. Bryan) Choate of Burleson, Jana (Mrs. Kyle) Penney of Tyler and
Jeanie (Mrs. Ryan) McDaniel of Burleson. The Newburys,
who have six grandchildren, reside in Burleson.