A one-room school teacher, a county surveyor, an amateur photographer, a flight fanatic: these roles all came together in Mr. James Jasper “Jim” Doster at the turn of the twentieth century in rural Giles County, Tenn. A man pursuing his passions and callings can leave a legacy, and Mr. Doster did just that.
Mr. Doster was a man in constant pursuit of knowledge. He loved to see things work. Had he been given the opportunity, Mr. Doster would likely have become an engineer. Instead, Mr. Doster and his wife, Mary Johnson Doster, touched countless lives through teaching, including their own children. All six children became teachers as well.
Now, Mr. Doster’s grandson, Justin A. Myrick Sr., is the dean of Lipscomb University’s Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering. Myrick says his grandfather was essentially a forerunner for the family’s legacy of a pursuit of knowledge and a dedication to teaching.
“I never knew him, but I always felt as if he strongly influenced me indirectly, through my mother as well as my aunts and uncles. [His life] very likely was the key influence in my pursuits,” Myrick said.
The foundations valuing faith, generosity, and family established by Mr. and Mrs. Doster have proved to be enduring. Myrick joked that it is exciting to see the “family business” of teaching, exploring the sciences, and impacting lives continue on.
|RBJCE Dean Justin Myrick Sr.|
The example set by Mr. Doster has inspired Myrick and his wife, Melissa Redding Myrick, to establish a scholarship fund in his honor: The Doster Scholarship for Engineering. Myrick says he expects the fund to continue to grow in the future and is grateful that the scholarship will be able to help ease the financial burden placed on students.
That growth in the amount of scholarship aid is especially important because Myrick is eager to see the RBJCE community grow.
“We currently have 155 undergraduate students. We are growing that number to 316 in the next five years. We plan to work harder in getting the word out about our programs. This scholarship and others like it could certainly be an incentive that will help us continue to attract the bright students,” Myrick said.
One evidence of the quality of students in the program is the fact that nearly 100 percent of graduates are either placed in jobs or go on to advanced education after graduation from the RBJCE, he said. Also, Lipscomb students typically pass the national Fundamentals of Engineering exam at rates of 95 percent to 100 percent, compared to the 77 percent national average.
Myrick previously taught at the University of Central Florida and Georgia Institute of Technology. His passion for Lipscomb and its students is evident. He constantly praises the excellence represented in the faculty of the Engineering College. He says that coming to Lipscomb is an incredible blessing for students in that it offers a quality education and so much more.
“Lipscomb is an important place,” Myrick said. “The professors are here for more than just the engineering education piece. It is a genuine community.”
Because of that, Myrick is certain that his grandfather would have especially loved becoming a Lipscomb engineer. He said the RBJCE incorporates many aspects of life that were important to the Doster family, such as generosity and service as well as the college’s unique missions program.
“By far the missions piece – the service to others -– is most exciting to me. Since 2004, the opportunity to take student teams to Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic to complete more than 25 engineering service projects – and impacting lives – is special,” Myrick said. “It is beneficial not only to the people whose lives are helped by our work, but also to our students, who gain invaluable experiences in service.”
RBJCE offers undergraduate degrees in civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. In August 2013, the college graduated the first two students from its new master’s program in engineering management.