Meet the Specks, who have had several members of their family attend Eastern New Mexico University.
Part one is available here.
In part two, Greyhound Grads from the family discuss their role models and what it was like to have family members attend Eastern.
Tell us about your family attending ENMU:
Mike: My family and I love Portales and Eastern New Mexico University. We are very proud of my parents for receiving their degrees from Eastern, and especially our mother who went back to school and completed her degree at her age.
Every one of my siblings had different struggles to complete their degrees. In order to complete my master's degree, I had to commute from Ruidoso to Portales and/or Roswell. The big commute came when I moved to Ennis, outside of Dallas. To complete the final hours of my master's degree and take my formal written exams, I would have to fly out of Dallas to Lubbock. A past ENMU faculty member, Dick Walsh, would lend me his car in Lubbock. I would drive to Portales for class and eventually my final exams. would stay with my parents in Portales, drive back to Lubbock to fly back to Dallas to be back to work at Ennis High School.
This was the '80s and early '90s before online classes and accessibility were available. "The beauty is in the struggle."
Jim: I think it is great that the entire family has earned a degree at ENMU. This shows that our parents are great examples and did a nice job of raising five kids.
Steve: I had a good experience at Eastern both times, and I feel like I received a good education. All of my family received degrees from ENMU. My dad, mom, wife, three brothers and one sister including my sister-in-law and brother-in-law all graduated from ENMU.
Greg: My wife, Kathryn, graduated with a degree in business information systems along with all my immediate family graduating from Eastern too.
Tell us about your background:
Mike: My father was a fighter pilot in the United State Air Force, and my mother was a housewife.
I was born in Hampton Roads, Virginia. In the past, we lived in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, San Antonio, Japan, Philippines and California. In 1970, we moved to Portales. I was a high school freshman as father flew jets out of Cannon Air Force Base. In 1974, I graduated from Portales High School and immediately entered ENMU.
I have been married for twenty-nine years to Shirley Ann. I have a son, retired Lt. Colonel James Whiteker, USMC, and his wife, Crystal. We have two grandchildren: a grandson, James Patrick, and granddaughter, Sora. We have three dogs, Sadie, Chessy and Lacy.
Jim: I was born in Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Philippines. Around when I was one year old, we moved to Oxnard where we lived in Camarillo, California. At five years old, we moved to Portales, New Mexico, for my dad's final assignment at Cannon AFB. I got to go with my parents to look for a new home, and it was the first time I had ever seen snow. Being the youngest child, I was the only kid in the family that got all of my education in one location, kindergarten through bachelor's here in Portales.
It was cool being the youngest by five years; I got to be a little spoiled. Greg is only two years older, Mike and Laura are nine and eight years older, and Steve is the middle child five years older.
I have a husband, three Labradors and two cats. We had four horses and a wild turkey we raised from an egg. We live on our little ranch, 10.22 acres, west of San Antonio, halfway between Hondo and Bandera.
Steve: I was born in Tucson, Arizona. My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved a lot. I graduated from Portales High.
Laura: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, the second child, and only girl, out of five. Our family was a military family, and we moved around for the first 14 years of my life. (Texas, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Japan, Philippines, California and finally to Cannon Air Force Base). We moved to Portales when I started high school. My family was very close and sports oriented. We would play football together every Thanksgiving. My father would coach us in baseball/softball. My parents loved Portales, and with ENMU being close and inexpensive – all my siblings decided to attend ENMU.
Who influences you? Who is your role model? Why?
Mike: My father has to be a role model, the time he spent in Vietnam and the work ethic he helped all his children develop. My mother has been a source of inspiration: raising five children while the husband is off fighting a war. Then going to college and receiving her degree at age 62.
Jim: My parents are my biggest influences and role models. They have been married 63 years and still going strong.
Greg: My father because of his dedication to his family.
Adelaide: My mother taught me hard work pays.
Laura: My parents – George and Adelaide Speck. Raising five children (Michael, Stephen, Gregory and James Speck) who are all ENMU graduates and everyone is successful in their fields. My mother attended ENMU and graduated in university studies. When she graduated, I asked her what she was going to do with a degree in university studies. She said, "Anything I want." She was right! She has always been a "half-full" person.
Steve: Mom and dad, they taught me right from wrong. They always encouraged me in whatever I did.
Stay tuned for part three of the Speck interview, which will be published on Jan. 16.