In fall 1975, a young Roy Parisher stepped foot on the San Jacinto College North Campus for the first time to enroll in the drafting program. Now, 47 years later, he is still walking the hallways of his alma mater but as an engineering design graphics professor.
“My, how time flies,” Parisher said. “I owe so much to the mentors who started me down this path. That’s why I never doubt the potential of my students. If I can do it, they most assuredly can too.”
Coming full circle
Parisher was encouraged by his mentors Dr. Gary Friery and James Hall to become more than just a student, taking active roles in organizations like Phi Theta Kappa and the Drafting Club.
“San Jac became more than just a place to attend class,” he said. “The interactions with instructors were less formal, and we bonded on a more personal level. My instructors motivated me to get involved and make connections.”
After Parisher graduated in 1977, he secured an entry-level job working for Fluor Engineers and Constructors. After a two-year stint, he went to work for Litwin E&C, which promoted him to a senior draftsman. This experience earned him an assignment in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. There, working in the Hess Gasoline facility, he did engineering and design work for the installation of new production equipment.
After a few years of working, Parisher began attending Sam Houston State University to earn his bachelor’s degree. During his last semester, his former instructor Friery invited him to teach at San Jac part time.
“I was a full-time student, but I jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “I had to make seven trips back and forth each week between Huntsville and Houston.”
In 1981, Parisher taught summer classes part time at the Central Campus before taking a full-time teaching position in the fall. He feels indebted to Dr. Clay Kelley, then the department chair of the drafting department, for giving him the opportunity.
“I am forever grateful to Dr. Kelley for taking a chance on a 23-year-old kid,” Parisher said.
Blazing the trail in technical animation
In 1995, Parisher helped create new curriculum statewide through the publication of “Pipe Drafting and Design,” a textbook co-created with a Fluor colleague and former San Jac adjunct instructor Robert Rhea.
“When we set out to write the textbook, I thought it would be a great addition to include video and technical animation,” he said. “I really had to advocate for it because at the time animation wasn’t a standard tool in drafting.”
To become skilled in technical animation, Parisher took a six-week internship with Blausen Medical Communications — the developer, owner, and licensor of the world's largest library of medical and scientific illustrations and 3D animations. To transition and apply animation technology and software from medical to engineering, Parisher developed three local need courses which were incorporated into the drafting curriculum. His determination paid off when the Workforce Education Course Manual Committee chose to use his curriculum statewide.
Parisher went on to earn his master’s degree at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and at one time served as a San Jac department chair. Reflecting on his career is nostalgic for Parisher, who has seen the College touch every part of his life in the last 47 years.
“I’ve seen at lot of changes over my time at the College,” he said. “I’ve taught on the Central, North, and South Campuses. I even met my wife through a colleague. San Jacinto College permeates my life. It has been a blessing for me and my family.”