As stated in the core values and mission statement of my wonderful alma mater, Southwestern University promotes lifelong learning as we find our direction for life. That path towards intellectual and personal growth doesn't end when we leave campus. And sometimes, that journey even tends to take us full-circle.
May 8, 2004. I entered the Corbin J. Robertson Center a Southwestern University student and walked out an SU alumnus. The following day, I left central Texas to chase a dream and a career that offers no roadmap. The TV business, especially early on, promises nothing – except for uncertainty. However, my hope was, with an SU experience as my foundation, be able to remain on stable ground as I embarked on my adventure in sports broadcasting.
2017 marks my 13th year in the industry. Throughout my time in this field, I've worked at four stations in three states, won 13 Associated Press Broadcasters awards and been nominated for six EMMYs. Because of the SU blueprint, I was built for success. Southwestern engaged my mind and transformed my life.
The liberal arts experience molded me into a confident, well-rounded critical thinker. SU challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and truly engage in my education. To put it plainly: at Southwestern, I learned how to learn. But that knowledge was not limited to just inside the classroom.
Southwestern's campus environment allowed me to polish personal and professional skills through interaction with peers, professors and staff. From Phi Delta Theta and the baseball team to SING and Student Foundation, the leadership and networking abilities I developed at SU are parts of a skill set I utilized to advance to this point in my career. I frequently fall back on my Southwestern experience as I continue to evolve as a journalist. Especially now. Because that's where this journey comes full-circle.
Just as I did in May 2004, last summer I left central Texas for an adventure with no roadmap and much uncertainty. In July 2016, I accepted an offer to leave my role as Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter at Austin's KEYE-TV and take over as Sports Directer at WTKR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Norfolk/Virginia Beach. Not only was it my first time running a department, but it would take me to a new state in an unfamiliar region. We were starting from scratch. WTKR eliminated local sports from its nightly newscasts several years ago. I was saddled with the task of re-launching a sports department in the country's 42nd-largest media market.
However, just like I did 12 years earlier when embarking on a quest littered with unpredictability and featuring more question than answers, I knew I was prepared for this path because Southwestern paved the way.
Dear Southwestern, I wouldn't be where I am without you, and you won't ever be far from me.
A Proud Pirate,
Adam Winkler, Class of 2004
Dear Southwestern: Adam Winkler