Curtis Mooney, 72: The Lifelong Learner
The definition of a lifelong learner is someone who actively seeks opportunities to grow and believes it’s never too late to start something. That sums up Curtis Mooney. And at 72, Mooney will graduate from the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences with his second Ph.D. — a doctorate in American history with a concentration in health care. Mooney’s first doctorate, a Ph.D. in social work, came from the University of Texas at Arlington.
“I always loved to learn, and the classroom was where I excelled. I was the oldest of four children and the first person in my family to graduate college,” explained the United States Air Force Vietnam veteran, who also holds a master’s in social work from Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Western Kentucky University.
Each qualification Mooney earned was a stepping-stone to a successful 35-year career helping children in foster care. That included a longtime position as CEO of DePelchin Children’s Center, the largest private children’s mental health and child welfare agency in Texas. He was also president of Kentucky’s largest private residential child welfare program.
“I always pushed to do more for the child who had the least opportunity.”
Shortly after retiring from DePelchin in 2011, Mooney went back to the classroom to pursue a doctorate with a research focus on the history of the treatment of mental illness in the U.S. After graduation he plans to take a short break by going on a couple of trips with his wife. Then it’s back to the books, but this time Mooney hopes to teach a few courses at a college near his hometown of Frisco in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“Right now, this is my time. I can do what I want with it. I spent far more hours and probably put more into my schooling and studies than any job I ever had, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”