Terry Pellman '72: From Urbana to Eden
After graduation from Urbana and completion of Air National Guard training, I returned to Shelby County, Ohio where I had grown up. I then entered a career in social work, becoming a case worker in the welfare department in lima, in Allen County. I next served as a caseworker in the Auglaize County department in Wapakoneta, then became the Director of the Shelby County office in Sidney. I held that position for twenty-seven years before retiring in 2002. During that tenure, I was able to work on reforming the Ohio welfare system, and was pleased to be deeply involved with the reform legislation passed in 1997.
In my retirement, I have been able to pursue other interests, mainly fiction writing and conservative political activities. I now serve as a member of the Central Committee of the Republican Party in Shelby County. I have served two terms as a member of the Sidney City Council, and recently ran unsuccessfully for the office of Shelby County Commissioner.
Since retirement, I have also served as a feature writer for the Sidney Daily News. I am now devoting my time exclusively to writing fiction.
My first book is titled The House on Weston Road, and that was followed by a collection of short stories titled Phobia Dreams: Wistful Stories and Eclectic Tales. My third book is titled Averton, and was reviewed in Publishers Weekly Magazine. On two occasions, I have been a Finalist in the Dayton Daily News Short Story Contest, and was a third-place Winner in 2008.
I am now promoting my first e-book novel on Kindle and Nook titled Looking Toward Eden, which tells of the attempt by fifteen states to secede in the year 2017. That book includes a scene in which the President and Vice President of the United States meet with leaders of the secession movement on the campus of Urbana University. A sequel is near completion.
I graduated from Urbana in 1972, completing my last class as an independent study course in psychology. I had the opportunity to leave for Basic Training on short notice, so I arranged with the college to do a study of the psychology used in the training of Air Force recruits.
That was just one example of how Urbana provided me with special opportunities. The small class sizes, and the feeling of community made the college a perfect fit for me.
Studying sociology and psychology at the college prompted me to enter the field of social work. In particular, the courses I took from Bill Gorse invited me to look at society in a totally different manner. His courses were among the many that challenged me to re-examine the ingrained attitudes and assumptions I had brought to Urbana.
As for my love of writing, I will always look back upon my American Literature course taught by Vivian Blevins as being a turning point. While I had developed an interest in writing in my high school years, my literature studies at Urbana help me to find a maturity in my fiction.
In all, when I graduated from UrbanaI felt well prepared to not only pursue my chosen career in social work with confidence, but to also develop my other interests with a well – rounded background.
I hope that current Urbana University students gain an appreciation of the unique opportunities this college will provide them. There are few places where one can receive such a personalized education with as much support and encouragement.
My wife Sandy and I live in Sidney, and have three adult children. We spend much of our time traveling to visit them and our three grandchildren.
By Terry Pellman, class of 1972