William Keith Shannon

William Keith Shannon
PCC, 1973-1975

After graduating from Prestonsburg High School, I spent two years at Prestonsburg Community College (PCC) and transferred to the University of Kentucky (UK), where I obtained a bachelor's degree in print journalism. I then moved on to the UK College of Law, where I received my Juris Doctor degree. I returned to eastern Kentucky, where I practiced law in Pikeville for several years. I was unable to shake the "journalism bug," and later took a job as the manager of WMMT-FM, the non-commercial community radio station at Appalshop in Whitesburg. In 1986, I moved to Huntington, WV, practiced law with a firm in Ashland, KY, and simultaneously obtained a master's degree in broadcast journalism from Marshall University. During that time, I also worked as a television reporter at WSAZ in Huntington.

In the late 1980's, my wife, Mitsuko, and I moved to South Carolina in order for her to complete her medical residency in child psychiatry. I practiced law in Charleston for several years and eventually we settled in upstate South Carolina, just outside of Charlotte, NC. During that time, I spent a few years doing freelance legal research and writing from home, so I could be a stay-at-home dad to our two daughters. Still struggling unsuccessfully to kick my journalism addiction, I began to write a humor column about my adventures as an at-home dad, entitled "Stark Raving Dad," for the local edition of The Charlotte Observer. (I recently published a collection of those columns as an Amazon Kindle e-book under the title "My Boss Wears Diapers: Tales From A Frazzled Dad.") When my daughters entered school, I began to take some part-time teaching jobs and quickly discovered that I love teaching. This has brought my professional life full-circle: I am back at a community college. I am now in my twelfth year of teaching full-time in the paralegal technology program at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC.

I am extremely thankful for my PCC experience in those early years. From an educational standpoint, I felt as though I went into my junior year at UK with a solid academic foundation. I was as well prepared - or better prepared - than many of my classmates who had attended UK or other large universities their first two years. But even more importantly, from a practical standpoint, PCC provided the financial means for me to continue my education: I received a scholarship from PCC that paid for my tuition for my remaining two years at UK. In addition, I had the unique experience of being a freshman at PCC during the time my mother was a sophomore in the nursing program there. (Yes, as weird as it sounds, I went to college with my mom. And, yes, there were the usual college hi-jinks involving wild parties and rude behavior, but when I was finally able to get her to slow down long enough for me to lecture her, she finally stopped all that nonsense and hit the books.)

As an instructor in a community college, I am inspired daily by the memory of the professors I had at PCC. I remember the significant impact they had on my life - they taught with a unique combination of academic professionalism and personal involvement that made a huge difference to me. I try to bring that type of approach to my teaching at Central Piedmont Community College. I wouldn't trade my experience at PCC for anything.