ETSU professor spreading message of gratitude, hope
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An ETSU professor's focus on publishing a book on important life lessons has collided with a terrible personal tragedy. For 20 years, ETSU psychology professor Chris Dula has been piecing together parts of his life to help along others in similar circumstances. "I was born into a pretty privileged situation, but then I became a rebel without a clue and became a juvenile delinquent," Dula said. News 5 sat down with Dula at his home as he reflected on his life. He shared his personal account from a 20-something alcoholic to becoming a father and psychology professor with a Ph.D. It is all documented in his new book: Experiments in Life. The book was self-published and released earlier this year. Dula said, "It's kind of who I've been privileged to become. I've got a lot of making up to do and I want to do that for the rest of my life." There are many examples of his "making up." He said a majority of the proceeds from his book will go to charity. He is also in a band that also raises money for charity. During his classes at ETSU, there is a food drive for the hungry every day. However, it is his early struggles on which students latch on. Former student Kevin Glasper had Dula for Introduction to Psychology nearly a decade ago. "I actually was at a point to where I was homeless and then at that point what connected us was the fact of it's no longer a student-professor relationship, this person was my friend," Glasper said. There is now a new chapter for Dula. He has been diagnosed with brain cancer. During the past month, the 48-year-old old has been dealing with seizures, brain surgeries, a blood clot, and an uncertain prognosis. "I have relatively good cognitive functioning, a little bit of an attention issue. It's hard to sustain attention for long and focus, but for the most part, I'm doing really well and getting better every day," Dula said. Despite his trial and tribulations, Dula embraces hope and all opportunities to make the most of his life and help others. Dula said, "This seems like God's got a plan in here that I didn't plan this, right? I don't have to understand the plan to know I've got a part to play in it." Former students and many in the Tri-Cities are rallying around Dula in his effort to get on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. His goal is to sell more books and boost the amount of proceeds he can give away. He is sharing the hashtag #GetDulaOnEllen to let others know about the campaign.