By Kipper Sinclair:
On April 10, Ken Pirtle was honored as Amarillo College’s 2018 recipient of the Professor Emeritus Award.
This award honors retired Amarillo College professors who have made significant contributions to the college, the community and their teaching fields.
“I am humbled and honored to be named Professor Emeritus of Amarillo College. I was proud to come and work here in 1975. I was proud to put in 33 years of teaching here at AC,” Pirtle said when accepting the award.
Pirtle taught photography at AC from 1975 until 2008. Within a year of being hired as a photography instructor, he was named department chair. Pirtle then hired Joe Walsh and Robert Hirsch, both of whom made significant contributions to the field of photography.
“It didn’t take me long to realize that Ken Pirtle was an exceptionally talented artist, a superb professional photographer, a great family man and an all-around good guy,” Dr. Paul Matney, former AC president, said.
Pirtle’s colleagues praised his work ethic.“He was very good at looking out for the interests of his students and wanting to do everything he could to help them,” said Nancy Brent, a retired AC instructor.
Brent Cavanaugh, current visual arts department chair, worked for Pirtle as a photography instructor. “You could come in and talk to him about anything,” Cavanaugh said.
Pirtle’s dedication, not only as an instructor but as a contributor to the high plains region, is exemplified by the mosaic visible on the Washington Street Campus that honors a former photography student, the late Louise Daniels.
Pirtle is still active in the community. He is a member of the Amarillo Botanical Gardens, where he is a master gardener, and serves on the executive board of The Palo Duro Corral.