About Dr. Erwing
Here is part of my history.
I was born right here in Houston, Texas. The year that I was born Muhammad Ali was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Pampers introduced the first disposable diaper, the Soviet Union existed, Dr. Zhivago was a popular movie, the miniskirt was all the rage in fashion, the U.S. was fighting a war in Vietnam, there were race riots in major American cities, and the Beatles were popular. I have had the joy of being here at the inception of the internet, the cell phone, and space travel; I watched the collapse of the Soviet Union; sadly though racial struggles persist and we are still fighting foreign wars. Think about what we share: rapid change in the midst of many enduring challenges. You'll find we have more in common than you might at first think.
I graduated from Bellaire High School and then the University of Texas-Austin. After earning a history degree at UT, I studied law and more history at the University of Houston, eventually earning a law degree and a Ph.D. I am a proud Cougar! Remind me to tell you my story about how I "trained" with Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell. (If you don't know who Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell are please look them up.) If you are guessing that there is a Texas tall-tale in there you would be correct but there is a neat kernel of truth in the tale. When it comes to telling tall-tales don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.
I worked in the business world and practiced law for twenty years before joining the Honors College at UH. I served as an senior officer of a major real estate title insurance company; I practiced real estate law; and I eventually owned my own title insurance operation. I have also done a number of real estate deals both as a principal and an investor and I was involved in some capacity in a number of start-ups including Soundwater, YouData, and Talking Bags. I still serve on a number of boards including the Midtown Redevelopment Authority, and the Chess in Christian Schools Foundation. I continue to do some real estate work.
My work at UH is focused on teaching history to you and supporting the Bonner Leaders Program. I am also currently working on a large project about the nature of federalism in the years right after the U.S. Constitution was ratified. I plan to write a second book about how state governance changed in the wake of the ratification of the Constitution.
I live with my wife, Jennifer, and our three dogs, Bella, Daisy, and Squeekie, in University Oaks, a neighborhood nestled right next to UH. If you find yourself homesick for some comfort food or if you miss your dogs feel free to come over. We are delighted to cook for you or take you out to eat and we can readily make the dogs, our little love sponges, available for petting. You can often find us on the weekends enjoying good Vietnamese food at Thien Ah or Huynh. My wife and I often walk with our pups across campus to the Nook early in the morning so be on the lookout for us and say hello.
I tend to be conservative in my general outlook. I believe in the American Dream and that the United States is exceptional. This country has been wonderful to my family and my wife's family, giving us bountiful opportunities. Both of our families came to the U.S. relatively recently. Mine came from Germany; my wife and her family came from Vietnam. My conservatism leads me to be skeptical of disruptive forces and rebels. I probably get this from my family's experiences in which war and social dislocation have forced us to move a number of times in search of stability. In many ways I am a traditionalist.
My conservatism though is tinged with a contrarian streak. I do at times find myself rooting for underdogs and the disadvantaged because I appreciate that there are challenges that some in our society face as they try to make their dreams a reality. I believe in Lincoln's vision of a country "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." I also recognize the need for vitality and opportunity and that it often takes some measure of creative destruction or social change to foster growth and vigor in our society. I also believe that tradition can, at times, hinder progress and mask the need for change. Stability for stability's sake is not always a virtue.
My hobbies including bike riding, beekeeping, and traveling.
This is a little bit of my story; I hope to hear some of your story before our semester together ends.