Linda Relyea

Rockwall native earns doctorate from Adams State University in Colorado

ALAMOSA, CO. (June 28, 2022) – Robert C. Duckworth, Ph.D., placed his faith in Adams State University and the Rockwall native graduated with his doctorate at the 2022 spring commencement ceremony.

His pursuit for a doctorate in counselor education and supervision stemmed from a career as a counselor. “I felt an enormous calling to share more about this profession I had grown to love and a desire to pour into the next generation of clinicians.”

He began researching for an online program and found the Adams State Counselor Education program listed in the top ten. “There on the list was this small school I had never heard of in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.” After passing the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), he was thrilled to receive an offer for an interview in January 2018. “Though I had some other promising opportunities in front of me, I continued to say there was something special about this small school in the mountains of Colorado.”

As Duckworth drove down from the Front Range, he was uncertain of what lay ahead. “In all transparency, I was a 40-plus year old African-American and had no idea of what to expect when arriving in this small town in southern Colorado. I arrived at my hotel in Alamosa and the people there were so nice and welcoming. They gave me recommendations of where to eat and my dining experience that evening was equally pleasant.”

He appreciated the interviews with the counselor education professors. “They were gracious but asked thought-provoking questions. I was convinced I had found a gold mine in Alamosa, Colorado.”

The department chair at the time, Mark Manzanares, Ph.D., professor of counselor education, and current chair Cheri Meder, Ph.D., recognized Duckworth’s need for financial aid. “They heard me and made gracious accommodations. For that, I will always be grateful.”

During the first semester, imposter syndrome set in quickly. “I began to doubt if doctoral work was for me. This entire staff always let me know they believed in me and the work that I would one day do in counselor education. Their scholastic DNA is all over my professional identity. There is not one of them of whom I am not fond.”

Duckworth will never forget the spring semester 2020 shortly before COVID 19. “I recognized the enormous weight I was carrying by working, completing a doctoral program, running a small private practice and filing insurance, going to sporting events to support my children, and serving in my local church.” An accidental drop of his computer that contained a thumb drive with over a year and half of his doctoral program, led to a little breakdown. “My daughter led the charge that I had gone too far to just quit now. The rest of the family followed her lead and shared in her sentiment.”

His mentors at Dallas Theological Seminary, his best friends, church family, and co-workers were always there with encouraging words and prayers. “Those prayers and positive affirmations have paid off.”

One year prior to Duckworth’s anticipated graduation, he was offered a director of counseling position at Dallas Theological Seminary. “This afforded an opportunity to cast the vision for serving students who would one day go on to be some of the great pastors, missionaries, parachurch leaders, counselors, Christian educators, and theologians and I retained my teaching role as an adjunct professor in the Counseling Ministries Department.”

Duckworth will continue to supervise post-master’s students in the State of Texas, revamp his private practice, and offer consulting services to corrections-related agencies across the state. “I am encouraged to offer consultation and direction of mental health services that would complement restorative justice models for those who are often from marginalized and underprivileged populations.”


To download full image, right-click and choose “save image as”

Robert C. Duckworth, Ph.D