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Stephenson’s Career Follows Path of Helping Others

Richard Stephenson, Ed.D., RRT, has devoted his career to helping others. First, he worked as a respiratory therapist. Later, he served as a teacher and college administrator.

Today, he’s leveraging his unique skillset for a new role as St. Louis Community College’s districtwide director of academic success and tutoring. In addition to managing the day-to-day duties at Wildwood’s tutoring center, he’s providing leadership for both the online and on-campus tutoring centers across the College.

Richard Stephenson, Ed.D., RRTA lifelong learner, Stephenson actually got his start as a student at STLCC-Forest Park.

“While I was completing my bachelor’s degree in political science, I worked as a hospital tech outside of class,” he said. “That experience opened my eyes to the importance of critical care and it motivated me to learn a ‘real skill’ – one that would allow me to help people.”

After graduating from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Stephenson did just that.

“I enrolled at STLCC, determined to become a registered respiratory therapist,” he said.

Two years later, Stephenson completed his associate degree and began working in the field.

“I spent the next several years helping patients in both in-home care and hospital settings,” he said. “The work was challenging, yet rewarding, and eventually I chose to refocus my energy from providing the care to teaching others how to do the work.”

To do this, Stephenson joined St. Louis College of Health Careers as the respiratory care clinical director. Four years later, he transitioned to Jefferson College, where he worked as the respiratory care program director and taught for the program. A few years later, he became the director of the academic success center and peer tutoring, a position that put him in a key role to help students achieve their college and career goals. While he was at Jefferson College, he also earned both a master’s degree in teaching and a doctorate in higher education leadership from Missouri Baptist University.

“As someone who has built a career on the foundation I received as a student at Forest Park, I value the education provided by STLCC,” he said. “It’s exciting to return to the institution that gave me my start, and to continue the important work of helping students with persistence, retention and completion.”

Outside of work, Stephenson enjoys playing the saxophone and clarinet at his church.

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