Matt Hinckley believes he was destined to be a history professor.

(Photo Courtesy of Matt Hinckley)

(Photo Courtesy of Matt Hinckley)

“I knew that I wanted to teach history at a community college when I was 16 years old,” said Hinckley. He went to a community college during the summer between his junior and senior year in high school. His father was a dean at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.

His father didn’t push his son but he did encourage him to take a class. Hinckley enjoyed philosophy but found it to be very esoteric. The more history classes he took, the more he wanted to take. As a result, Hinckley went on to study history in college. His master’s degree encompasses both history and philosophy with integrating the history of ideas. Hinckley earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

Hinckley was looking for milder winters and relocated to Dallas, Texas. He earned a Master of Arts in Humanities with an emphasis in History of Ideas from University of Texas at Dallas and fulfilled his dream of becoming a history professor within the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD).

“Community colleges are the greatest engines of social mobility and economic development. So many students are first generation college enrollees coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of the older students have had jobs and need to get retooled for new jobs. Community colleges are the ladder that people can use to get into the middle class or the safety net to avoid falling out of the middle class.”

When it comes to going back to school, Hinckley has this piece of advice. “Do not be afraid and do not hesitate. Just do it. Some of my best students are returning adult students who haven’t been to school in 20 or 30 years. Older students are generally more responsible, more thoughtful and more appreciative of the opportunity to learn something new.”

“The benefits of an advanced degree go way beyond the pay. There is an enormous sense of satisfaction that comes with having an advanced understanding of how the world works,” said Hinckley.

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at