Austin College Professor of English Dr. Roger Platizky has retired after 30 years at Austin College. He was granted professor emeritus status in May.
During his career at the College, he taught a variety of English literature courses as well as several cross-disciplinary topics. His teaching specialties include Victorian poetry, especially Tennyson and Eliot, and modern British literature. He has had opportunity to incorporate interests in gender studies, literature and medicine, LGBT studies, and the culture of Western Civilization into his teaching.
His research interests incorporate all those topics, as well as the place of AIDS in literature, the social construction of epidemics, and psychanalytic studies. His book, A Blueprint of his Dissent: Madness and Method in Tennyson’s Poetry, analyzes Victorian and modern psychological conflicts represented in Tennyson’s work. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as a Ph.D. in Victorian Literature, at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Platizky served as sponsor of the student organization ACCARES for many of his years at the College, serving as a campus and community educator regarding HIV/AIDS issues. The professor is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and served as president of the Iota Chapter at Austin College. In addition to his work at the College, Platizky has served as a volunteer for Home Hospice of Grayson County and other organizations, and has given several poetry readings at the Sherman Public Library.
In 2017, Platizky was honored by the Board of Trustees with the Homer P. Rainey Award for Outstanding Achievement and Service to Austin College, the highest honor a faculty or staff member can receive from the College.
His students—this year’s and those from years ago—are quick to speak of the excellent teaching he offered and the kindness and compassion he practiced, in addition to what the professor referred to as the “academically demanding parts of my professional nature.” (Translation: his courses are hard.) Among other accolades, he received Austin College’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994 and was
Installed as the Henry L. and Laura H. Shoap Professor of English.
“Even trained professors are only as good as their students, colleagues, and campuses permit and inspire them to be,” Platizky said in a message to current and former students earlier this year as his retirement neared. “You have left me with many good memories that I will take with me into this next chapter of my life. I am always glad to hear from you and wish you continued success, much happiness and good health.”
In his retirement, Platizky will continue writing a World War II memoir about his uncle, Sidney Herzig, using hundreds of original letters and postcards as well as Herzig’s diary for resource material. He plans to spend time connecting with friends and family and pursuing his interests in elegiac poetry and illness narratives.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.