Dr. Frances Osentowski
During his tenure in the DCCCD, Dr. Francis Osentowski (Dr. O) taught at El Centro, Richland, and North Lake Colleges. Wherever he went, Francis was sought out as a valuable resource not only by students but as a mentor to new faculty. Evidence of his considerable skills is easy to see in his having earned a Fulbright award to study music composition and theory at New York University. At North Lake College, he was twice given the President’s Scholar Award for excellence in teaching and his service to the college.
Francis has always had the creative gene in his musical makeup. At the age of four, he hammered out a robust piano version of The Marine’s Hymn, and at fourteen began playing “gigs” on trumpet with an uncle’s dance band. Many former students went on to pursue careers in music and still credit Dr. O for their success. He served as a judge for numerous area music competitions and as a clinician for young composers in suburban schools and underserved schools in DISD. During the early days at El Centro College, he participated in the Contemporary Music Project. Aiming to modernize the curriculum for students studying music theory in colleges throughout the U.S., Francis has continued to pursue his interest in composing music. He supplied original music for his school music ensembles and groups such as the New Philharmonic of Irving, the Early Brass at Richland College, and for DCCCD radio commercials. His published choral and instrumental music has been performed, and selections are available to sample on YouTube.
After retirement, Francis has continued to serve the community at large. Frances has performed for organizations in the area, and as a pianist at St. Joseph’s Church in Richardson. He has served on the boards of groups such as Voices of Change an organization made up of Dallas Symphony musicians, and Voces Intimae: The Art of Song. As a member of those groups, he conducted workshops in musical composition for elementary school students. His art song cycle “Letters from a Poet in Italy,” a setting of poems by DCCCD retiree Jerry McElveen, has been performed for enthusiastic audiences and reviewed favorably by music critic Scott Cantrell. Francis continues to shine his light on the DCCCD.