Tommy Hawkes (Robert T. Hawkes)
When did you begin worked here and what did you do before you joined the Health Science Center?
I came to work at TCOM on March 1, 1977, and worked here until the summer of 1984. I returned to UNTHSC in April of 2000. Prior to 1977, I worked as a photo journalist for one of my family’s small-town newspapers, The Citizen-Journal in Arlington. Between 1984 and 2000, I worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and JPS Health Network.
What are you duties as Photo Supervisor?
My duties at UNTHSC have changed some over the years. I have always done photography work at the school, but the emphasis in those early years was to support the teaching effort. We created slides and photos used in classes and printed materials. One month alone we created over 36,000 35mm slides for library and classroom use. I have always taken pictures at school events, and four of the five Presidential Portraits in the eighth-floor boardroom are my work. I am the official repository for the schools’ diploma records, and, along with ID photos and portraits, I also make passport photos.
What do you enjoy most about working at the Health Science Center?
People who are associated with health care tend to be more caring, and I discovered when I left in the ‘80s that I missed the warmth and comfort of my fellow workers. I realized that some of the finest people I had ever met made up the staff and faculty of this school and had become like family to me in so many ways. When I was fortunate enough to be able to return in 2000 I realized the school had grown and changed, but that underlying concern for others still existed at the base. After a few weeks, my wife asked me what it was like to go back after nearly 16 years, and I replied, “It must be like moving home to a small town where people greet you with, ‘I haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been up to?’’’
I liked working at the Bowling Alley building, but I am proud of what this campus has become and the work that goes on here. One of my good friends and his wife, Ray and Edna Stokes, were the first and second employees of the school, and they set a high standard for the quality of the people which make this an environment of good character, personal dedication and the best place I have ever worked.
What do you like to do when you aren’t at the Health Science Center?
I do enjoy my time away from here, and I stay busy in my off time. My wife and I live on eight acres south of here near Rendon. There is always something to be done with that much land, but we do manage to stop and enjoy the sunsets nearly every day. I was the president of Arlington Sportsman’s club last year, and I teach Hunter’s Education for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. I enjoy the outdoors and take family and bridal portraits outside whenever possible. I like woodworking, and I will be setting up a woodshop in my barn next year. We enjoy traveling. This will be our 14th year to host trips for my cousin’s travel business. We would like to go to Europe, but one of my goals is to see the last 13 states in the U.S. that I have never been to. I would like to spend more time with my grandkids and our church friends in the future, and we would like our home to be the place our friends and loved ones come to “get away.”