Donald Dale, an ETSU professor and alumni, has held many different career positions throughout his life, including a radio host, copy desk editor, a lawyer, a professor and even a children’s advocate.
During his first semester at ETSU, which was then known as East Tennessee State College, Dale got a job working for the campus radio station. This later led to him working full-time for a local Johnson City radio station.
“I was very interested in radio before I started at ETSC, and I had just gotten interested in that through the natural course of listening to the radio,” said Dale. “I liked the idea of disc jockeys, music, things of that nature.”
Dale worked in radio for 24 years before deciding to attend law school at the University of Memphis.
After graduating, Dale began practicing law in Johnson City. He worked as a lawyer until 1989, when he decided to make another career change and accepted a job with the Johnson City Press newspaper as the copydesk editor until he retired in 2008.
Dale’s most recent career change happened last fall when a position came open to teach Media Law at ETSU.
“I had broadcast experience, law experience and newspaper experience, which are three very important aspects of the course I teach,” he said.
According to Dale, of all his career positions, the most important work began in 2012 when he decided to begin volunteering for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. CASA is an origination that helps children who have been abused or neglected by making sure their needs are not overlooked by the judicial system.
“What we do is we provide a voice for the children in court,” said Dale. “We try to get them the best placement if they need a placement. We try to get them services if they are in need of services in the home. We try to work to report to the judge what we think the child needs.”
He says he was looking for something constructive to do with his time after retirement, and he was drawn to CASA because of his experience as a lawyer. He has been assigned to countless cases through CASA and has been able to help many children navigate the court systems.
Dale has held many positions throughout his life, and his reasons for continuing in his position as a court appointed advocate for children is simple.
“I still find it rewarding to do it, so I do it,” he said.