By Donna Parker
Richard Hatcher, who received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Trinity in 1975, is having the time of his life. As the newly appointed director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, he manages all of that state’s wildlife, fishing and hunting.
You get the feeling that it’s not really a job with Richard – more a way of life. Even in his down time, he takes his own bird dogs out hunting for quail, and also enjoys turkey and deer hunting. His voice grows enthusiastic as he discusses his participation in the development of the largest wetland project in Oklahoma, called Hackberry Flat.
“We negotiated the purchase from 30 different landowners to restore a natural wetland area and put in 22 different wetland units to manage independently,” says Richard.
“Shorebirds and wading birds are nesting for the first time ever in western Oklahoma, and whooping cranes are using the area!”
Nearly 35 years ago, Richard was a freshman studying pre-med at Trinity, but after two years switched gears, deciding that his love of the outdoors would guide his future course.
“My professor, Jacob Uhrich, department of biology, encouraged me by setting up meetings with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in San Antonio. He actually assisted in developing classes that were approved by Trinity, allowing me to do fieldwork and research in the city.”
“Drs. Uhrich and Robert Blystone, also in the department of biology, had such dedication that I admired and appreciated very much as a young student, naïve to the possibilities of the world.”
Now, Richard is to be admired, not only for heading up this state agency but for giving back to his community, working on projects as varied as a neighborhood blitz for trash cleanup; restoring houses for the elderly and volunteering in a local nursing home by cleaning up the grounds and planting flowers.
“Trinity really was my impetus for public service. I hooked up with a real fine roommate, Curtis Littman ’75, and we were in a service fraternity together, Alpha Phi Omega. We actually headed up a Boy Scout troop in San Antonio, helped develop a walking trail on campus and were fundraisers for the heart fund and cystic fibrosis.”
Richard’s personal life has been on a steady course as well. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married 34 years and have a 25-year-old son named Alan, who is pursuing an arts career in Chicago. In the couple’s spare time, they enjoy tending a vegetable garden which produces tomatoes, okra, squash, and peppers.
“I like canning peppers,” laughs Richard. “My wife and I even make homemade salsa with our tomatoes and jalapenos.”
“Trinity showed me so many aspects of what to expect as I moved into the real world. It broadened my perspective and outlook and gave me an open mind to do what I enjoy and live a full life.”
You may contact Richard at email@example.com.