*Editor’s Note: The latest installment in the Ole Miss Retirees features is Tony Seaman, former Director of Printing and Creative Services. The organization’s mission is to enable all of the university’s faculty and staff retirees to maintain and promote a close association with the university. It is the goal of the Ole Miss Faculty/Staff Retirees Association to maintain communication by providing opportunities to attend and participate in events and presentations.
Tony always seems happy, is always smiling, and is very likeable. Tony was all about customer service as he tried to accommodate all the last minute print/design jobs on campus. You may notice that he has acquired a slight southern accent to go along with his British accent. Here’s his Ole Miss story:
Brown: Where did you grow up?
Seaman: I was born in Binbrook, England, a village in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. I grew up in Cambridge, England which is a university town on the River Cam, about 50 miles from London.
Brown: Tell us about your childhood.
Seaman: I had a great childhood. I played lots of outside games with neighborhood kids. I also played lots of games at home with siblings and parents like Snakes and Ladders, card games, jigsaw puzzles, and cowboys and Indians.
Brown: Please talk about your parents, siblings, and any crazy aunts and uncles.
Seaman: My Mom Beatrice and Dad Harry were awesome. Even though they were not well off, they took care of us keeping us clothed, well-fed, and we had adequate housing. We did not have a lot but we managed trips on the train to the seaside, Double Decker bus rides in the country, and picnics in the parks.
I had two brothers and two sisters and for the most part got along really well. We’re all still very close. My older brother Bruce passed away a few years ago. He looked after me as I was growing up. My sister Penelope (Penny) and husband Alan live in Alconbury, Cambs, England. My sister Rosalie lives in Huntingdon, England. Her husband Vernon passed away several years ago. The youngest of us is brother John. He lives in Pingrup, Western Australia, and owns and operates a hotel and bar called The Sailor’s Arms.
My Uncle Arthur, (my Dad’s brother) was a great storyteller about his days in the army and time during the war. He told many a tall tale which I enjoyed hearing.
Brown: What’s your earliest memory?
Seaman: My family moved a few times when I was a child. My best memories started in Lincoln, England where I was a Cathedral Choir Boy Soprano. I graduated from Sincil Bank Secondary School in 1960.
We enjoyed train trips to the seaside to places like Skegness and Clethorpes on the east coast of England. I made lots of sandcastles and flew kites.
Brown: Where did you go to school?
Seaman: I attended Secondary School (High School) at Sincil Bank in Lincoln.
Brown: What time was your curfew as a teenager?
Seaman: That would be the last bus—10:30 p.m.
Brown: Describe your young adult self.
Seaman: As a young adult, I was somewhat introverted, shy, and reserved. I had a desire to travel but did not have any plans how I would do this. One day I answered an advertisement for a job in Jersey, British Channel Islands. So began my adventures! From there, I moved to Bermuda, then to Auburn, New York, then on to San Antonio, Texas. My next move led me to Nashville. The company I worked for in Nashville went bankrupt so had to look for another job. That’s when I relocated to Collierville, Tennessee. My desire to travel was certainly fulfilled!
Brown: You’ve lived several places. What’s your favorite and why?
Seaman: Of all the places I’ve lived, Bermuda is my favorite. It was like being on a permanent vacation, in spite of having a job. It’s just such a beautiful place with spectacular views in all directions.
Brown: What was your first job?
Seaman: My first job was stocking shelves at the local Co-op while I was in High School.
My first real job came after we moved to Cambridge after my mother passed away in 1960. In Cambridge, I joined W. Heffers and Sons, a well-known printing firm, as an Indentured apprentice as the first Lithographic Camera Operator. Heffers was a Letterpress Printer and Lithography was just coming of age in the 1960s. I attended the London College of Printing (now London College of Arts) and graduated with a City and Guilds Advanced certification in Lithography.
Brown: Tell us how/when your Ole Miss “story” began? Who hired you? How long did you work at Ole Miss?
Seaman: A position at the University of Mississippi became available as the head of Printing Services was retiring. I applied for the position and interviewed with Ed Meek. Ed offered me the position which I accepted. He was a great boss and mentor and taught me how to work within the university environment, as it was much different from the private sector. Gloria Kellum became my boss after Ed Meek retired and the department flourished under her guidance. I would say Gloria was the best boss I ever had in my entire career. I had the privilege of working at Ole Miss for 16 years.
Brown: What were your job responsibilities?
Seaman: I started as Director of Printing Services. This entailed designing and printing materials for all departments, faculty, staff, and students. We started as a two-color shop and grew into a full-color printing service with both offset and digital equipment. The communications group consolidated leadership and my responsibilities changed to Director of University Communications. This included design, photo services, writers and printing services. It was a super group of people.
Brown: What did you know about Ole Miss before you began your career here?
Seaman: I was aware that Ole Miss was an SEC school and my son attended and graduated from there.
Brown: Describe your most memorable days at work—good and/or bad.
Seaman: My most memorable day was when Prince Edward visited the campus and I got to meet and chat with him.
My worst day was probably when I sent out a mailing with an embarrassing spelling error.
Brown: What are the most useful skills you have?
Seaman: I think one of my most useful skills is the ability to keep abreast of modern technology and place relevant technology within the university. Also, like to think I am a good communicator.
Brown: What skills would you like to learn?
Seaman: I would love to learn how to fly and become a pilot.
Brown: What is the best advice you ever received?
Seaman: Never give up trying to improve personally.
Brown: Please tell us about your family.
Seaman: I’ve been happily married to Beverly Anne now entering our 47th year. We have 2 children. Both children are married. Our son Stuart graduated from Ole Miss and is married to Beth who graduated from Ole Miss. They have a son, our grandson, David, who is 13. They reside in Nashville.
Our daughter Katie graduated from Mississippi University for Women. She is married to Dwayne Clark who is a life-long Texan. They have a child, our granddaughter, who is 6 months old. They reside in Austin, Texas.
We enjoy spending as much time as we can with both families.
Brown: What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?
Seaman: Growing up in England with brothers and sisters and learning to share was an important influence. Also, I believe having lived in several countries and experiencing different cultures also shaped my life. Certainly, getting married and having a family have made me the person I am.
Brown: What is your guilty pleasure? Time waster?
Seaman: I love playing guitar. I also love to watch English soccer on TV.
Brown: What makes you roll your eyes every time you see/hear it?
Seaman: I suppose it’s when people comment without knowing the facts.
Brown: Tell us something about yourself that not many people may know.
Seaman: I played Guitar with former Chancellor Robert Khayat. And I also lived in Bermuda.
Brown: What was it like living in Bermuda?
Seaman: Living in Bermuda was like being on a permanent vacation, broken up by periods of work. Every day was a beautiful day—lush vegetation, gorgeous varieties of colorful flowers everywhere, amazing homes in pastel colors, and the views! The views were picture book perfect, azure waters, pink beaches and amazing people.
Brown: What’s the best and worst part of getting older?
Seaman: Best: Having the time to spend with family is so important to me. The freedom to travel whenever we wish is wonderful. Spending time with friends and neighbors is very special. Worst: Not having the same amount of energy. And the creaky knees. Looking in the mirror! Ha! Ha!
Brown: Do you have a favorite quote? If so, why is it your favorite?
Seaman: Those that have the most birthdays live the longest. It just makes sense.
Brown: What has become your routine since you retired?
Seaman: I don’t have to set an alarm and can awake whenever. I enjoy playing golf 3 or 4 days a week. Then there’s the weekly housework to be done. I enjoy spending time with neighbors and friends. I’m involved in the community. I have become involved with the community theatre and was in the Wizard of Oz skit and my favorite, James Bond. I am definitely having fun!
Brown: What’s left on your bucket list?
Seaman: I’d love to travel to Peru and Italy. I hope to reach the ripe old age of ???