celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news
Technician turns work into fun
Montana Johnson

Name: L. Dale Bippus

Age: 72

Occupation: Chemical engineer; retired general manager U.S. Bureau of Mines, U.S. Helium Operations.

Where did you receive your education?

Amarillo High School; associate degree, Amarillo College; bachelor's degree, Texas Tech University; graduate work at West Texas A&M University.

How has your education played a role in your life today?

It gave me the ability to choose where I would work and to choose work that was challenging and exciting. We designed mostly one-of-a-kind equipment that operated at high pressures and at temperatures near absolute zero. Education has allowed me to enjoy life to the fullest even in retirement.

What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?

When I was 15 years old, my father had several heart attacks and died. I had to go to work. I would open our service station in the morning, go to school, return to work after school and close at 9 p.m. Even though I worked, my mother sacrificed to help me financially. It was difficult to pay my expenses at Amarillo College and Texas Tech.

What is the value of your education?

Priceless. My education allowed me to work at a job I truly enjoyed that was challenging and rewarding. I got to work with many wonderful people at Helium Operations. At one time, we employed more than 700 people with five industrial plants in three states, and our natural-gas field had helium stored underground that was worth more than $1 billion.

What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?

Whether it is trade school or college, education will make your life easier and richer. Education gives you choices and is something no one can take from you.

When did you make education a priority?

In high school I could see that furthering my education would enrich my life and make it easier.

What made you realize the importance of education in your life?

After I had worked a few years, I saw I needed more than technical knowledge to get ahead. For nine years at WT, I took night courses in accounting, statistics, law, finance, etc., which allowed me to understand the business side of my work. My supervisors encouraged me and gave me assignments which used my new knowledge. Promotions soon followed.

Did you ever thing about quitting? What made you keep going?

I never thought about quitting. Education was very important to me. My wife, Judi, always supported and encourage me. Also, I was blessed with an ample supply of stubbornness.

2009 Stories
2008 Archive
calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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