Jazz Musician to College Professor

English professor Jadyn Dewald talks about his uncommon life journey from being a famous Jazz musician to a community college student to earning his PhD before landing at Piedmont College.

 He understands the discovery in the value of education and his love for literature. 

“I’m an extraordinarily unlikely writer. I broke into the backdoor of this profession,” he said.

He wasn’t always an English professor. He was previously a famous Jazz musician for 15 years and taught a variety of writing courses, including creative writing. Growing up in Sacramento, California, education was the last thing Dewald worried about at the time. He first attended Sacramento Community College and says he found a great opportunity there. He thinks of it as a laboratory where he can experiment with different majors to figure out which one draws him the most. 

 “It allowed me a ton of time to let me figure out what I wanted to do,” he said. 

Then Dewald progressed to getting more serious about education after leaving his musical career behind him. He attended San Francisco State University, Pacific University, and the University of Georgia. The energy of books and book lovers drew him to becoming an English professor. 

“In high school, I read one book in my life,” he said. “And then once I discovered literature I immediately thought I gotta make up 20 years for not having done this.” 

After dipping his toes into the literature world, Dewald became captivated with the arts. He loves writing, but sometimes it can be a very lonely and isolated experience, so he was able to find warmth and company within the Piedmont community, connecting and networking with fellow writers. 

After Dewald’s compelling journey, he only has one goal that he wants to get across to his students after leaving his class each semester. 

“I want them to fall in love with reading,” he said. “Whatever they write, regardless of quality, is valid and worth doing.” 

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