Featured Alumnus: Ryan Swindle, M.A., ’10

    Seal of the University of Dallas.


    When did you attend the University of Dallas?

    2005 through 2010 — I had a wife, two kids and two jobs to keep me honest.

    What was your major?

    I was awarded a Masters in humanities, though I spent all my time in the literature department reading poetry.

    What did you do immediately after UD?

    I became a teacher, for the money.

    Where do you currently live?

    Rockwall, though I much prefer working in Garland to living in Rockwall.

    Tell me about your family.

    My wife Amber and I have been married since 2004 — we’d only dated a month and ten days when I proposed. She was a great catch that I couldn’t pass up.

    My oldest is 10 going on 11. His name is James Caedmon. “Caedmon” was born in 2006, just after I’d read Caedmon’s Hymn with Dr. [Theresa] Kenney. My middlest child, Eden Ryse, was born in 2008, just after I read the Pearl Poet with Dr. [Gregory] Roper (“Ryse,” meaning ‘rise,’ as used in The Pearl). So too we named our recent addition, Esther Pearl, who just turned one on August 26. As Dr. Roper would point out, English majors are inclined to exhaust any who’ll listen, if only with the names of their children.

    What is your current profession?

    I am a high school librarian, which is why I’m always smiling.

    How are you influencing students as a librarian?

    You mean beyond referring them to UD? Well, at the end of the day, I hope to show my students what it means to be heard and what it means to listen: to read, and reflect, and talk with a care that carries.

    What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to be?

    Graduating from UD is definitely high up on the list. Receiving an A from Dr. [Scott] Crider is no small feat, but truth be told, my first few years of teaching were challenging to say the least. I have been humbled on either side of the lectern, and I am the better for it. UD taught me how to read and think, but teaching taught me how to listen and care.

    What are you looking forward to the most within the next 10 years?

    Seeing my children grow in love of God and their fellow man. Seeing my children grow and go, so I can finally get some writing done. Spending another loving decade with my catch of a wife. Seeing my students, degreed and gainfully employed, with providential stories of their own, especially those who attend UD.  

    Did you have any odd rituals as a student?

    Not that I can think of … I’m pretty serious by nature, and probably not all that interesting. I always found it hard to study if my feet weren’t up. I would often leave the first page blank in my notebooks, for fear of not having something worthy of a first page, much less an opening line. UD’s close readings of opening lines will do that to a writer.

    I would always try to match the colors of my notebooks with the essence of an upcoming class — religious lyric felt more like a blue, whereas the Pearl Poet seemed more like a red. I could never sit down for class without having grabbed a sip of water from a fountain. Over the last decade, I’ve taken to reading and thinking with a hat on. Don’t ask me why. Maybe to keep the thoughts from falling out of my aging head. … Maybe I’m just odd that way?


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