Meet Deborah Carter Dearing ’79


“I graduated from Metcalfe County High School in Edmonton, Ky. My father was a United Methodist minister (a second career after starting his adult life as a farmer) who served small rural churches and moved fairly frequently, so I never attended the same school for more than three years in a row while growing up. My mother and sister currently live near Greensburg, Ky., and my brother lives in Bowling Green.”


“Psychology (B.A.) with a minor in sociology. Professors Mike Fagan and Margaret Britton influenced me greatly during my Wesleyan years.”

Education after Kentucky Wesleyan

“I changed my major a few times while at Wesleyan and although I considered law school initially, I did not return to that career path until too late in my senior year to take the LSAT and apply to law school. I worked as a Kentucky Wesleyan admissions counselor for a year after graduation and then headed to law school at Washington University in St. Louis.”


“I am married to one of my law school classmates, Theodore (Ted) Dearing, and we have two adult children.

Katherine graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago in 2012 and worked for a medical software company as a project manager before starting law school at Georgetown University in D.C. She is in her second year there.

Philip graduated from Georgetown University (undergrad) in 2015 and is a consultant with The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consulting group providing consulting services to nonprofits and philanthropists, in their Boston office.

Civic and charitable involvement

“I am the lay leader and sing in the choir at Grace United Methodist in St. Louis. I previously served two terms on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity in St. Louis and currently serve as chairperson of its Law Committee.”

Tell us about your career path.

“I am currently a principal in the law firm of Dearing & Hartzog, L.C., a small firm originally established by my husband’s father. After graduation from law school, I practiced with Thompson & Mitchell (now known as Thompson Coburn), which is now the largest firm in St. Louis (ranked by the number of St. Louis attorneys). I was a young partner in that firm when I left to join Dearing & Hartzog, L.C., in the 1990s. Although my current firm is a small general practice firm, I primarily practice in the real estate, business law and estate planning areas.”

Please share memories of your years as a Wesleyan student.

“Wesleyan is a place where you are not confined to one activity or interest. I enjoyed music and sang with what was then known as the “KWC Chamber Singers” my freshman year. I also joined several classmates in starting a contemporary gospel group called Koinonia, which was a very important part of all four of my years at Wesleyan.

As various members graduated, its membership changed from year to year, but we had a wonderful time singing on campus and traveling to various churches throughout Kentucky. Current Board of Trustees President Tom Grieb and his wife, Cheryl, were part of Koinonia, and President of the Alumni Association Board of Trustees (Wesley) Emory Clark was a member, as well, along with many other wonderful Kentucky Wesleyan classmates over my four years.

In addition to music, I enjoyed performing with the Pacesetters drill team at basketball games, serving on the Judicial Council and even having a minor role in one of the Drama Department musicals.”

You mentioned Professors Fagan and Britton. Are there other faculty members of whom you have special memories?

“When I applied to law school, I needed recommendations for scholarship applications and for the law school application itself. In addition to faculty members in my major and minor, I had a long list of professors I felt comfortable asking for help, and my recommendations included letters from Bob Darrell (English) and Tom Rogers (Religion).”

Please share your reflections of serving on the Kentucky Wesleyan Board of Trustees.

“Ted and I were married in the Kentucky Wesleyan chapel in 1983. It was a special place to me and halfway between his parents’ home in St. Louis and my parents’ home in Campbellsville; a lawyers’ compromise location!

Over the years, however, I had not had that many opportunities to return to campus or to be involved. Joining the Board of Visitors and then the Board of Trustees has provided opportunities for me to get involved in Wesleyan again and to serve the institution that made such an impact on my life.”

What other important memories of your life would you like to share?

“While growing up, I did not have many opportunities to travel, even within the U.S., but I read extensively and always dreamed of having opportunities to visit other countries and experience other cultures firsthand. My Wesleyan roommate, Ramona Hill Logsdon, and I spent 60 days in Europe immediately after graduation.

It was a very “low frills” student trip, with springs sticking out of the mattress in our $8 a night room in London! But that trip was one of the best decisions I made during my first 22 years. When I met my husband, Ted, we found that we shared the same curiosity about other people and cultures and a passion for travel.

Over the past 30+ years, we have had wonderful opportunities to travel, and we have taken our children with us to many parts of the world. In addition to traveling in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, we have traveled throughout Eastern and Western Europe.

We have also been to China, Morocco, Tanzania, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Peru, Brazil, Belize, Panama and Costa Rica.

I encourage current Wesleyan students and other young adults I meet to seize whatever opportunities they have to travel and explore. This makes a huge difference in how you see and understand the world and how you view your own privilege. From a selfish point of view, traveling just makes life so much more interesting and exciting.”