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The Reverend Doug Travis ’75

The Path to Glory

By Donna Parker

It’s not unusual that the Reverend Doug Travis ’75 has spent his professional life as a minister.  He’s a fourth generation pastor with deep ties to Trinity – his grandfather, father, mother, brother, and two nieces are also alumni! 

Several of them prepared themselves for the work of God.  Doug himself served a large church for many years in the Woodlands, outside Houston, where he coordinated and sometimes directed as many as 57 12-step meetings each month, supporting the outreach to a community of addicts.  Not bad for a guy who admits he “didn’t believe” as a Trinity graduating senior and had no intention of joining the ministry, as many in his family expected.

“Lord, no.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I knew I desperately did not want to be a pastor.  I had an application to work on a Mississippi river boat, but the fact is, I was a religion major and always enjoyed talking about God.”

Post graduation, Doug was offered a fellowship to study in Chicago.  He spent eight years in graduate school – “avoiding adulthood” – and then had an epiphany. 

“I had a conversion experience during Eucharist while traveling in Geneva.  In that service, I decided I really was a believer and knew my life would be about that.”

Now, as the new president and dean designate of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, the reverend oversees the administration of the school, which trains others for ordained ministry.  He credits Trinity for teaching him to think. 

“I attended Trinity at a moment in time when you could design your own program, which gave me the opportunity to pursue my personal interests and that was wonderful.”

Doug regards William Walker, retired professor from the department of religion as a “wonderful man and dear friend.” 

“He was one, like several other teachers, who really challenged me.  They permitted and encouraged exploration, but pulled us back when we were too far away from our goals.”

“Robert Flynn, department of English, motivated me to take writing classes every semester, which I’ve used a great deal, writing many newspaper articles over the years.”

“But, in a broader sense, Trinity gave me that license to think…and as a kid from Tulia High School in the Texas Panhandle, that was a very big deal!”

Also a big deal for Doug was being selected to preach at his 30-ear Trinity class reunion two years ago, but for the time being, he’s turned his focus to his family.

“Right now, I’m just learning to balance my family and personal spirituality.  In the past, I’ve worked too hard and ignored everything but work.  For the remaining years of my career, I want to be where I can best serve and be free of the anxiety of what others think.”

“In the grand scheme of things, I’ve been through some very rough times, but finally realize that loving the people you need to love means more than anything else in life.”