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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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When life gives you Lemmons

Texas+A%26amp%3BM+communication+and+journalism+professor+Larry+Lemmons+smiling+as+he+energetically+instructs+his+JOUR+203+Media+Writing+I+class+in+Bolton+Hall+on+Sept.+8%2C+2023.%26%23160%3B%0A%26%23160%3B
Photo by Ana Renfroe

Texas A&M communication and journalism professor Larry Lemmons smiling as he energetically instructs his JOUR 203 Media Writing I class in Bolton Hall on Sept. 8, 2023.   

Former broadcaster Larry Lemmons has always been in tune with his sense of adventure, using it as a stepping stone for his media career. Now, he’s using his same attitude to leave a lasting impact on students.

Currently a communication and journalism professor at Texas A&M, Lemmons offers a wealth of over 30 years of media and broadcast experience to the next generation of storytellers. Lemmons has worn many hats in media as a military disc jockey, documentary film producer, news producer, reporter and news anchor. Despite his decades of expertise, Lemmons said he never wanted to be complacent for a job.

“You just stayed in one place; you could have been running things by now,” an old teacher angrily told Lemmons, recalling a moment he was confronted while attending a colleague’s retirement party.

Lemmons said he disagreed, partially because it’s difficult to hold down a job in media, but also because a sedentary lifestyle never suited him.

“I would rather be out exploring the world having new experiences,” Lemmons said. “That’s the nature of the business … But in broadcast … you can spend literally 30 or 40 years in one position. But I then would have to ask, what kind of life is that? For me, that would be difficult.”

The San Antonio native spent most of his formative years moving across the U.S. or living abroad due to his father’s service in the National Security Agency for the Air Force. Despite growing up attending 12 different schools, Lemmons said he had a great childhood and learned to overcome the social challenge of being constantly new.

With every new place he lived or traveled to, Lemmons said he came to understand different cultures, and in turn, he gained the ability to speak to anyone.

“That was difficult at first,” Lemmons said. “But as a journalist, what that has given me is a genuine desire to read the room as it were, wherever I’m at, figure out who’s who and what’s what and how to go about things.”

As a young adult, Lemmons wanted to see the world like his dad, so he joined the Air Force pursuing broadcasting with his associate’s degree from Amarillo Junior College.

“I did not want to be in the Air Force per se,” Lemmons said. “I wanted to do [broadcast] in the Air Force because I knew I’d travel and I would have fun.”

Lemmons said he enjoyed pursuing broadcasting and meeting a wide variety of people, but he only served four years due to his dislike of its hierarchical structure. Returning to the classroom, Lemmons attended the University of Texas at Austin to pursue his bachelor’s in drama, but after graduating, he searched for a new adventure.

Lemmons attempted to break into the theatre industry in England but to no avail. Instead, he lived abroad in Cirencester, Gloucestershire as a brewing trainee at a beer company for six years.

Lemmons said he later returned to studying drama, earning his master’s degree at the University of Washington. Looking to overcome his postgraduate slump, he moved back to Amarillo to join family, taking a break from pursuing playwriting. There, he got another job in broadcast production and Lemmons kept moving. Years later, the classroom once again called to Lemmons, and he received his Ph.D. in media and communication in 2021.

Even now with years of instructing experience, Lemmons said he incorporates his active style and easygoing personality into his teachings.

“I tend to move around [classrooms] and try to make contact with people,” Lemmons said. “Getting to meet people and getting them to respond on an individual level is extremely important … That just makes people receptive.”

Journalism professor Tom Burton has known Lemmons for almost a year and a half. Recalling when he met him, Burton said he was excited to have Lemmons in the department when he first joined as faculty. Burton said Lemmons’ striking, energetic personality comes through whenever he teaches.

“Larry has a career as a broadcaster,” Burton said. “He’s used to communicating with people and projecting enthusiasm, engaging in stories and just engaging people. I think that’s critical if you’re going to be a good instructor. If you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re teaching, your students can’t be enthusiastic.”

Burton said Lemmons’ addition to the department provides another aspect of media due to his extensive experience with news as an anchor and broadcaster.

“He knows what a news story is, day to day,” Burton said. “He also knows the pressure of deadlines because broadcast has perhaps the most critical deadlines.”

Communication professor Adam Bajan has known Lemmons since they both joined the department at similar times after obtaining their doctoral degrees. Like Burton, Bajan said he knows firsthand how energetic Lemmons is since their offices are located directly by each other.

“It’s nice to have him next door,” Bajan said. “He brings an interesting perspective and some great energy to the department.”

Bajan said professors like Lemmons will be in high demand as A&M’s Department of Communication and Journalism continues to grow.

“Being in journalism was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Lemmons said.

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  • Young Larry Lemmons, then an Airman First Class (E-3), focuses on his shot while filming on a camera during his time in the Air Force.

    Photo courtesy of Larry Lemmons.
  • A 1987 newspaper clipping from the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard depicting Cirencester Brewing Company employees and trainee brewer Larry Lemmons. 

    Photo courtesy of Larry Lemmons.
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About the Contributor
Ana Renfroe
Ana Renfroe, Head News Editor
Ana Renfroe, Class of 2025, is a journalism junior with a minor in professional writing from Bryan, Texas. Ana has served as The Battalion's head news editor from May 2023 to May 2024. Previously, she was the assistant news editor for the spring 2023 semester. Ana has covered breaking news, politics, and more. She typically covered the Texas A&M System and university administration, Texas and Bryan-College Station politics, student government and more. Ana previously hosted and produced episodes of The Batt Signal, The Battalion's news podcast. Additionally, she was a copyeditor and feature writer for Maroon Life magazine, and helped contribute to the Aggieland Yearbook.
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