Whether in history or composition, students in Mr. Donaldson’s class can expect wide-ranging conversations that highlight nuances of the topic under discussion. His immense curiosity is infectious, and he often reminds his students that it is not grammar that is boring, but most grammarians. Historical events come alive as Mr. Donaldson challenges the students to see the events and actors in context and to consider the many possible perspectives of eyewitnesses. Through class discussions and written assignments, students transition from “learning all the answers” to “grappling with important questions.”
Mr. Donaldson’s early college career at Austin College was focused on German and math before being interrupted by military service. He studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute and served in the US Army as a Russian linguist in Germany for over six years, including a year or so as an instructor in a joint-service cryptologic school. During that time, he completed his degree from the University of Maryland with a major in government and minors in history, Russian, German and math. After leaving the service, he worked on a master’s in Slavic linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin and Charles University (Prague, Czechoslovakia) before leaving school to pursue a career in software development and technology consulting. He and his wife, Nancy, were among the founding families at Regents School of Austin, where their two now-grown children were both educated. He served on the national board of the Association of Classical Christian Schools for almost two decades and currently serves as an elder at All Saints Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Austin.