SAC Graduate Lee Foxworthy Balances Work, Parenting, and Academic Goals

July 1, 2024

Office of Marketing & Strategic Communications

Lee Foxworthy had a perfectly good job when he decided to go back to college in his thirties.

As a pastry chef for HEB, he enjoyed his work and colleagues.

Then in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a friend asked him the question that changed everything: “If there was nothing in your way, what would you do?”

His answer: to become a naturalist like David Attenborough, teaching people about wildlife and the natural world.

 “Why aren’t you?” she responded.

She refused to accept the reasons he listed for not pursuing his dream.

“She just kept telling me my answers were not good enough reasons not to do what I want to with my life,” Foxworthy said.

Fast forward to 2024: Foxworthy has graduated from San Antonio College with a degree in environmental science as the 2024 Honors Academy Distinguished Graduate. He’ll attend Texas State University in the honors program this fall to study wildlife biology.

No one would have blamed Foxworthy if he had set aside his dreams. In addition to working full-time, Foxworthy and his husband became licensed foster parents. The couple has fostered children for two years and recently adopted a 16-year-old they had fostered for a year.

“It’s something we had pretty much always wanted to do,” Foxworthy said. “We have different faiths, but both of our faiths have calls to care for your community, your neighbors. We even bought our house with the intention of fostering or adopting kids.”

The couple only foster LGBT+ teenagers. It’s difficult to find foster homes for any teenager, especially LGBT+ teens, Foxworthy said.

“My husband and I decided that’s where the most need is, and so that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. 

Despite an already full plate, Foxworthy signed up for two classes at SAC, including a Mexican American art appreciation class that had a transformative effect on him.

“Professor Lucero Saldana was amazing. It’s the best online course I’ve ever taken,” he said. “The manner in which she presented the material, the way she had us engage with it, just reinvigorated my love for learning.” 

His grades soon made him eligible for Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society at SAC, and the SAC Honors Academy.

“I got hooked on the honors format because it’s so much more engaging, it’s so much more critical thinking,” he said.

He quickly realized that he would need to prioritize study time to meet his academic goals.

“It’s really hard to be a parent, to be working, to be going to school and to maintain that level of academic intensity,” he said. “I realized if I’m going to do this I’m going to need to structure my life in a way that allowed me time to study. Everybody thinks you have to be smart, but you just have to put in the time.”

Another experience at SAC helped him identify his career goals. In the spring of 2023, through the SAC Honors Academy, Foxworthy participated in Partners in the Parks, a program coordinated by the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Foxworthy joined honors students from across the nation for a week-long session on the Appalachian Trail, participating in trail work, hiking, seminars led by university faculty and park personnel, and meeting outdoor nonprofit organizations and hikers. He received funding from SAC’s Student Activity Fee Committee to participate in the program.

“That helped me pick my career path,” he said. “That’s where I want to make my difference, conserving these outdoor spaces for both people and the environment and making them accessible for literally everyone regardless of income level.”