“Not only do I get to teach biological science to wonderful kids, but I have wonderful colleagues who work together with pride, pray together with love, and reach for the same goal: to see each other and our students in heaven some day.”
He is a professor by day and an author by night. Richard Trout (72) joined the OC faculty last fall as an associate professor of biology, opening a new chapter in his storied career, in a setting where his college career began.
Professor Trout has been around the world, under the sea and at the top of his profession as a teacher and an author since he was an OC student in the early 1970s.
In those days, he spent a lot of time in the cafeteria to be with his sweetheart Mavis (Pfund 72), and planning student activities with his fellow class officer, Dr. Harold Shank (72), now a professor of Old Testament at Oklahoma Christian.
“I lived at home as a student while my dad preached at Mayfair Church of Christ, but since my girlfriend (now my wife of 40 years) was a student, I ate on campus twice a day so I could be around her more often,” Trout said.
You’ll often find him in the cafeteria again these days, connecting with students outside of his zoology or anatomy classes.
A story spinner, he’ll tell of his travels, scuba diving and his biological specialties in ecology, human safety, and wise use of the environment.
He also might be collecting names and stories from students that could end up in one of his adventure novels.
Any OC alum would recognize the characters of Mickey Banister, a root beer-swigging FBI agent, marine biologist Randy Heath, who gets shot in the back, and Sir Philip Patterson, an English eccentric who deals in illegal antiquities.
There’s also the rugged Senator Lynn McMillon from Alaska, who is more at home in the pristine wilderness of his home state than in stuffy senate conference meetings in Washington, D.C.
The real Dr. Lynn McMillon (63), distinguished professor of Bible, likes the character, especially since he gets to be a good guy.
“Living it through these books is plenty fine with me,” McMillon said.
Those familiar OC names and many others, such as current student Drew Nevius, make appearances in Trout’s popular MacGregor Family Series. The MacGregors are a family of five adventurists who ensure that good always wins over evil with wild adventures all over the world.
The books are published by Pelican Publishing Company and are marketed through the OC bookstore and major book outlets. National Geographic selected two of the novels for the JASON Project science curriculum for middle schools. The seventh book, Eclipse of the Jaguar, will be published this year.
Trout’s next book is being marketed as historic fiction with a Biblical theme. But amidst that research, his lecturing schedule, and his busy life with Mavis, their grown daughters and grandchildren, Trout also is helping other aspiring writers on campus.
He will lead a writer’s consortium to encourage faculty and staff who have interest in writing books, short stories, magazine articles and journal publications.
Trout said he fully enjoys being back on the OC campus after spending more than two decades at Oklahoma City Community College, where he received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.
“Not only do I get to teach biological science to wonderful kids, but I have wonderful colleagues who work together with pride, pray together with love, and reach for the same goal: to see each other and our students in heaven some day,” he said. “I challenge anyone to find a better place to work!”
However, should Trout want to live vicariously through fiction, his fellow alumnus, colleague and friend Lynn McMillon has it all figured out.
“I would characterize him as the head of a major banking syndicate – quiet, unassuming, but powerful. Nothing of significance moves without his approval and financial backing. Donald Trump has to learn manners just to be able to meet with Rick the second time,” McMillon said.
Sounds like a page-turner.
By Dawn Shelton