Dr. Jeffrey Delotto, professor of English, is retiring this semester. Although he will miss aspects of being a professor here at Texas Wesleyan, he said that “It’s time. I feel that it’s time; I’m satisfied that it’s time.”
Delotto has taught sophomore creative writing and literature courses, as well as, freshmen English courses. He also served as chair of the department and interim Dean, but he realized that his passion resided in teaching.
His favorite part of teaching is having students succeed and letting him know that he or one of his courses has made a big difference in their lives.
Delotto said that he enjoys spending time alone and listening to “The Rolling Stones” and “Bob Dylan.” He particularly loves one of Dylan’s songs because it inspires him as it speaks about independence and freedom.
Delotto grew up in Miami, Florida, and went to three different colleges in his undergraduate education as he did not know what career path to take. He then went to Florida State University as a graduate. When he dropped out of college, he began reading philosophy, poetry and religion. He said that he also loved biology and geography.
“I realized that when you study literature, you get to study all those things,” said Delotto. Also, he remembers that most of his professors were “remarkably happy” in the things they did and presented.
In his years of teaching, Delotto realized that “he had to be the kind of professor that [he is].” He discovered his own identity as a professor, and that was liberating for him.
Delotto applied for a teaching position in English at Texas Wesleyan University in the spring of 1983. He remembers that he had just finished applying for the CIA but was not hired. That is when he applied to Texas Wesleyan.
“Wesleyan has always encouraged me to be who I believe I need to be as a professor,” said Delotto. When he was pursuing his graduate degree, he was encouraged to follow his goals, which is what he feels Texas Wesleyan did for him.
One of his most memorable experiences at Texas Wesleyan was with one of his students, who at the time was taking his advanced writing course and was disabled because of complications due to diabetes.
He shared that William’s goal was to go to law school to advocate for the disabled, but two days before that spring semester, he passed away from complications from diabetes.
“Part of what made our class special was William, and if it had been an online class, we would not have had William,” said Delotto. He remembers him as someone who made a big difference in class because he taught many students that there is hope no matter what the challenges are.
Dr. Carl Smeller, associate professor of English and humanities, met Delotto in 1999 when he came to Texas Wesleyan for a job interview. Smeller said that at the time, Delotto was the interim Dean.
Smeller shared that he will remember Delotto for the great stories that he shared with Smeller in the hallways.
He said that he asked students to write an essay about people who had influenced them when he taught a grammar course for education majors. Several students wrote about Delotto’s advanced writing class. Smeller said that Delotto “has had a tremendous influence on the students.”
“Delotto has always been a leader within the department and our school,” said Smeller. “He is also a person of good humor,” and he has a “very distinctive personality… because he has so much presence,” said Smeller.
Dr. Elizabeth Battles, professor of English and director of Wesleyan’s honors program said, “He has been a real mentor. She said that she has been very fortunate to have worked with Delotto.
Battles also said that he is a very creative instructor. “This year, with the virtual teaching, I am listening to him teach, which has been very instructive for me; he’s a really good teacher,” she said.
Battles said that Delotto has always found ways of innovating the English major, and part of his project was initiating the sophomore creative writing course, which has been popular.
Elaina Audette, an English major, has taken Delotto’s creative writing for the spring of 2020 and spring of 2021. She also took Delotto for the introduction to the profession of English in 2019.
Audette found her passion for creative writing in taking Delotto’s creative writing courses, which she previously did not know. Her career interest transitioned from wanting to be a teacher to being a publisher or editor.
“I wish one day to be as successful as he is, and I am grateful to have learned from him,” said Audette.
Audette said that Delotto helped her expand on her skillsets as a writer through his feedback. Audette understands that when Delotto provides students with constructive feedback, he is trying to help students improve their writing.
Jonathan Kutney, a student who has taken Delotto for British Literature II and advanced writing, said that Delotto was one of the first professors he had when he first came to Texas Wesleyan.
In advanced writing, Kutney learned from him to know his audience. “Delotto taught me the value of understanding who you are writing for and how your style can best appeal to a larger audience, thus improving your marketability as an author in any genre or field,” said Kutney.
Delotto is planning to create more poems and accompany them with his watercolor pieces. “Maybe you will see me at an art show somewhere,” said Delotto.