The Courier

The Simpson family: a testament to the college’s progression and opportunity

Caroline Broderick, Features Editor

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For the majority of the past 50 years, there has been a Simpson at the College of DuPage. Starting in 1979, Ron and Linda Simpson began working as fire science instructors in M building, in what is now a parking lot. Beginning only 12 years after the college opened, the two began a legacy for their brother and nephew.


Ron was an EMT at a Carol Stream fire department and instructing, and his brother, Dale Simpson Sr., was a police officer in Bellwood who would find himself instructing 17 years later. Before teaching, Dale served in the Marine Corps from 1968 to 1971 and fought in the Vietnam War.


In the 1980s, Simpson Sr. decided to begin schooling again, but it wasn’t until the veteran services at the College of DuPage made him realize the endless opportunity the school had for him. They worked with him enough to find heating and cooling classes at night so he could work from early mornings to mid-afternoon policing in Bellwood, work on his heating and cooling business, be a father and be a student.


Simpson Sr. knew he wanted to learn more about heating and cooling. Working in a sheet metal field, focusing on the heating and cooling, there was something about its mechanical nature that drew him in and made it exciting. As a child, Simpson Sr. remembers being able to look at something, take it apart, and reassemble it. Years later, the college opened up opportunities for him to expand this innate trait.


“When I started my education, I got the veteran’s scholarship,” said Simpson Sr. “The veteran department there was more than willing to give me a hand and advise me. The facilities there available to me as a student, to be able to practice a craft I was learning and to be able to practice with people that were actually in the field, that was really the drive I had to continue. The educational value, the knowledge, the precision these people had to teach people to look at a machine as a whole and how to dissect it.”


The head of the heating and cooling department at the time, Don Carlson, noticed Simpson’s knowledge and dedication. He asked Simpson to become an instructor, and Simpson added “teacher” to his resume. He stopped teaching in 2003 and then focused on being a cryogenic engineer at FermiLab.


“Without a doubt, I attribute my education at COD to my success in the field,” said Simpson. “To this day when I pass there, I have this inner pride knowing I was not just a student, but an instructor as well.


The next in line was “Little D” or Dale Simpson Jr. The younger Dale Simpson never attended the college as a student unlike his sister, Christina. He went off to Canada for schooling on a wrestling scholarship instead. There, he discovered a love for anthropology that put him on the path of archaeology and becoming a professor at the college. In 2009, Simpson Jr. became an adjunct professor of anthropology and teaches to this day.


Simpson Jr. attributes being a “legacy” as a small part of why he was looked into for the professor position. The college has been able to work with Simpson Jr. to create a people and cultures of the Pacific class, his specialty. With studies focused intensely on Easter Island, Simpson Jr. is always traveling. Although he is currently working on his PhD and traveling extensively, he continues to instruct. He just does it all from behind a computer screen in online courses.


Simpson Jr. has found that while working in anthropology and teaching, he is able to show his students so much more than inside a classroom. This aspect makes him fit right in with the rest of the anthropology department who consistently do field studies and research as they teach. Simpson Jr. also hosts “Found,” a television show that airs in Canada on the History Channel.
Simpson Jr. continues to teach, but Ron and Linda retired in 2011. Together, the Simpson family represents the college’s ability to progress and change, yet retain its reputation and accommodating services and endless opportunities.

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College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967
The Simpson family: a testament to the college’s progression and opportunity