2009 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Daniel Austin, Ph.D.

Wyandotte High School, 1954Daniel Austin, Ph.D.

Daniel Austin feels privileged to have grown up in a community where so many doors were open to him.

"There were four doors where I had free admission at all times," he recalls. "My home, my church, the library and the public schools."

Those doors, combined with hard work, led him to become a highly respected educator and community leader. The oldest of seven children, Austin was a Great Depression baby and did his part to help support the family. He arose at 1:30 every morning to deliver the newspaper during high school. He walked that 2-1/2 mile route in the afternoon as well.

He had no money for college so after graduating from Wyandotte High School, he got a job at a local grocer. But the couple who ran the store had a different plan for Austin: college. They helped him secure a scholarship to Kansas City, Kansas Junior College, a move that set him on his prosperous career path. Today, he has a bachelor's degree, two master's degrees and a Ph.D. in education. He spent more than 50 years as an educator and college professor for universities across the country before retiring in 2001 as Professor Emeritus.

He has served on state-wide education committees, provided consulting to the Florida legislature, published articles on topics from teaching strategies to healthcare reform, and served as a consultant to the U.S. Office of Education. In 1976 he served as chairman of the education committee of the Panama Canal treaty negotiations, and in 1982 was an exchange university administrator in Bogota, Colombia.

He continues to give back to the community by mentoring at-risk students, serving as a Junior Achievement instructor, and serving as vice-chairman of the Regional Health Planning Council. In 2009, he was named outstanding mentor for at-risk high school students in Broward County.