Tompkins Speaks at Winter Commencement
The Power of Education
Timothy "Tim" Tompkins grew up thinking he would earn a college degree. After all, the Kansas City, Kansas, native's parents were educators, and both of his older brothers completed college. But for years, until he found the right career path, Tompkins' own education journey was unfulfilled.
"When I was in high school, I thought I would go to college like my parents and brothers, and then life would just unfold in front of me," said Tompkins, 50, who was selected as Student Speaker at Bellevue University's Winter 2013 Commencement program. He titled his remarks, "The Power of Education."
One of three speaker finalists who traveled to the University campus and presented draft remarks to faculty members in early December, Tompkins said he is "nervously excited" about being selected as speaker. The content of his speech motivated him to make the 4 ½ - hour road trip from his Pittsburg, Kansas, home to the audition. "I have learned the value of education throughout my life, and I felt compelled to share that. Maybe it will inspire others to pursue their education."
"A police sergeant, who regularly came into the store for coffee during night patrol duty, befriended and mentored me. He told me he thought I would make a good police officer and encouraged me to pursue a law enforcement career," said Tompkins, who eventually took the sergeant's advice. In 1986 he completed training at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and became a police officer, doing basic patrol duty for several years. "There were instances during that period when I realized that education would make me a better officer," Tompkins recalled.
In 1995, he completed a two-year associate's degree in Criminal Justice at a local community college. In 2005, he followed that with an online bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Bellevue University. "My bachelor's degree was a very positive experience, so when considering a master's degree, I did some research, and Bellevue was an easy choice. I haven't been disappointed. All my instructors have been supportive, dedicated to my success, and great to work with," he said.
Currently a Lieutenant and Command Staff member of the Pittsburg Police Department, Tompkins graduated from advanced training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, one of the most prestigious training programs for professional U.S. and international law enforcement leaders.
Teaching may be in Tompkins' future. Three years ago, he began teaching part-time at the local community college. He said he enjoys it and is considering teaching full-time after he retires from police work.
Tompkins will receive a Master of Science degree in Justice Administration and Crime Management during the January 26 ceremony in Omaha's Civic Auditorium.
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