A Non-traditional Path to Success

05/15/2024 Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth pursued his education at McMurry as a non-traditional student in the ’90s, following his service in the US Army. During this time, he balanced his studies in sociology, mental health, and social work with employment at Woods Psychiatric Hospital. 

After graduating from McMurry, Hollingsworth pursued a Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington. He continued to work in the mental health field, focusing on children exhibiting behavioral issues. He eventually progressed to senior vice president of operations at Harmony Family Services, where he worked with conduct-disordered children. He was also a police officer for several years working with people with antisocial personality disorders. 

Motivated to further his education, he pursued a doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University in Florida while simultaneously teaching as an adjunct professor at McMurry. Upon completing his doctoral dissertation, he assumed the role of visiting professor at McMurry, later transitioning to a full-time position in 2003.

“I thought I would be a counselor and therapist for the rest of my career,” Hollingsworth explains, “but teaching became my deepest love.” 

Throughout his tenure as a professor at McMurry, Hollingsworth has received numerous accolades, including the EE Hall Award for scholarship and research, the McMurry Outstanding Faculty Award, The Gordon R. & Lola J. Bennett Award for Outstanding Faculty, and the Graduates Faculty Appreciation Award. Additionally, he has been the recipient of several grants and fellowships for research over the past two decades. 

Hollingsworth has written four books: “America’s Third World Societies,” Cambridge Scholar’s Publishing, United Kingdom. (2023). “Native America in the Twenty-First Century,” Cambridge Scholar’s Publishing, United Kingdom (2017). “Social Problems of Children in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Cambridge Scholar’s Publishing, United Kingdom. (2012). “Children of the Sun: An Ethnographic study of the street children of Latin America.” Cambridge Scholar’s Publishing, United Kingdom. (2008). For the past 10 to 12 years, Hollingsworth has been heavily involved in the field of Native American studies. 

For Hollingsworth, the joy of his profession lies in his experience and the opportunities to travel the world doing research, writing, observing, and working with colleagues and students at McMurry. 

“I enjoy working with our students,” he says, “It’s deeply rewarding watching them succeed and eventually walk across that stage. We get close to our students here, and I would not change that for anything else.”