San Jac Certified: Going after the bad guys

06.20.2016 | By Calyn Hoerner

Eric ListerPASADENA, Texas – Ever since Eric Lister was a child he has wanted to go after the “bad guys.” After driving commercial vehicles for 19 years, he became restless.

“Driving trucks just did not give me the satisfaction I needed anymore,” said Lister. “I needed a more rewarding career, one filled with opportunities.” So he enrolled at the Lone Star College Law Enforcement Academy at the age of 38. After graduating, Lister worked as a deputy at the Harris County Constable Precinct 2 office, but eventually grew tired of being a reserve officer. Once again he found himself wanting more.

In 2014 Lister discovered that San Jacinto College could give him what he was looking for. “San Jacinto College gave me the opportunity to work full time as a police officer,” he said. That same year he enrolled in classes at the College and began pursuing an associate degree in social and behavioral science.

Lister’s success has not come without its struggles. “I have been chasing my degree for over two decades. Situations in life have made me stop and start,” he said. Lister got married and started a family early in his career. When he finally returned to the classroom in 2014 he was motivated by the loss of a loved one. 

In September 2012 Lister’s father passed away, leaving a big void in his life. Lister said that his father was always a big supporter of education, instilling in him the importance of a college education. In honor of his father, Lister worked harder than ever to earn his degree.

“This time I had more purpose; this time it was for my father,” he noted. Lister graduated from San Jacinto College in December 2015 and decided to attend the commencement ceremony for a very special reason, his children. “I made the decision to walk across the stage to be a positive role model for my children. I wanted to teach them that you are never too old and quitting is not an option.”

Now an alumnus and police officer with San Jacinto College, Lister is dedicated to maintaining campus safety. In addition to working as an officer he also serves as an instructor for several of the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention (SHARP) courses that the College offers. He completed seven different SHARP courses in order to become certified to teach the course. 

Lister feels that it is important for San Jacinto College to hold these courses to raise awareness of violence prevention “We teach people the basics to ward off an attacker,” he said. Lister also believes that people on college campuses need to be more proactive. “You never know when you will be faced with a situation that requires these techniques.”

Lister believes that it is never too late to start your journey. In fact, he is not stopping at his associate degree. “I still have more work to do,” he added. Lister wants to teach criminal justice at the College and continue to encourage students to reach for their goals.

Lister is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Midwestern State University. After completing his bachelor’s degree he hopes to earn his master’s in the same field.

“I can tell kids my story and inspire them to continue theirs,” he concluded. “Just because you reach a certain age doesn’t mean you can give up. When I went to the academy I was old enough to be the father of some of my classmates, but that didn’t stop me.” 

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.