Professor Spotlight: Dr. Almeida


Photo by: Austin Kemmerlin

Dr. Richard Almeida shares his love of teaching, family, and cooking with all of his standards and the community at FMU.

While he has pursued a career and an education in political science, professor of political science, Richard Almeida, found enjoyment and inspiration in different aspects of life away from government and politics.

As a New England native, Almeida stayed close to home and received his Bachelor’s of Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He then went on to get his Master’s of Political Science from the University of Memphis and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri Columbia.

“I have always loved science and I started out as a biochemistry major,” Almeida said.  “But I wasn’t a very mature student.  My roommate was a political science major and would make As while reading books about beheadings and crazy revolution leaders, and I thought that sounded like a much better plan.”

The field of political science usually has two routes with which graduates can utilize their degrees: elected officials and government or teaching.  Almeida never wanted to pursue a career in the spotlight because he did not want to drag his family through a political campaign.  Choosing the teaching route, he began to fall in love with the performance aspect of teaching.  He said that teaching is like putting on a show: it has to be entertaining so people pay attention and recall the information.

He applied for a job at FMU in order to be closer to his parents in Myrtle Beach, and he received the position. He has fallen in love with its small-town charm and community.

“FMU graduates are the backbone of this community,” Almeida said.  “The education we provide means a lot to the people that it serves.  It’s rare that you see the impact of the provided education in every corner of a community.  Also, I work with some of the greatest colleagues in the world.”

Outside of teaching, Almeida enjoys many other facets of life.  The most important thing in his life is his family.  He and his wife are expecting their first child, a daughter, in the next few weeks.  While his main goals for the future are to be a good husband and father, another long-term goal is to continue traveling.  Almeida was bitten by the travel bug years ago and has been all over the world, having adventures like walking on the Great Wall of China and dancing with orangutans in Indonesia.

Not only does he love to travel, but he also loves to cook.  One of his biggest inspirations in life is Julia Child.  He said that he determination to do what she loved even when it was not acceptable for a woman to do during that time is something to be admired.  He also finds inspiration in his grandfather, a first generation American child of immigrant parents.

Although Almeida has chosen the field of political science, he continues to inspire his students to think differently than they have before and to pursue whatever dreams they may have.