The River Always Wins, Mr. Marquis’ new book, is published by Deep Vellum Publishing. It is about water as a metaphor for hope in our troubled times.


From 2011-2018, Mr. Marquis consulted with the Texas Conservation Alliance on water issues. During that time, he wrote op-eds for both The Dallas Morning News and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram on water conservation and developments in water technology. He worked for the successful passage of House Concurrent Resolution 74 during the 2015 Texas Legislative Session, a bill that promotes water recycling and renewable energy. Mr. Marquis is helping to develop a public-private partnership that will build an urban wetlands using native plants near downtown Dallas and will include flood mitigation, hike and bike trails, water filtration, and transit connections. He has also spoken to many organizations and public officials throughout North Texas on water conservation and issues such as planning and water recycling. Dallas Water Utilities has acknowledged the role of Mr. Marquis and the Texas Conservation Alliance in helping to shape the City of Dallas Long Range Water Supply Plan.


The Environment

Mr. Marquis is the founder of the 118-acre Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, which saved virgin urban forest from being bulldozed. The preserve became a national model for sustainability and affordability. It is thought to be the first use of a conservation easement in Dallas zoning history and provided 250 units of affordable senior housing, a new library built to Silver LEED standards, a new elementary school, and eight miles of hike and bike trails. He began chairing the Mayor’s Green Building Task Force in Dallas in 2006, which has rewritten the building and development codes of the city in order to create a more sustainable future. He participated in and led efforts to create the new City of Dallas Tree Ordinance and the new Park Land Dedication Ordinance. These efforts, along with influencing the passage of the Multi-Family Recycling Ordinance, led to the greenest month in Dallas history in June of 2018, with the passage of three major environmental ordinances with unanimous votes from the Dallas City Council on all three initiatives.  In addition, he played an essential role in developing the Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan, passed unanimously by the Dallas City Council in May of 2020. He is also considered to be the father of the Blue/Green/Grey holistic infrastructure movement

Education/I AM A TEACHER

Upon graduating from Austin College in 1973, Mr. Marquis began his teaching career in the Dallas area. He developed and taught an interdisciplinary American Studies curriculum as early as 1974.

In 1976, one of his former students was tragically shot to death, long before teenage violence became commonplace in America. The trauma of this event caused him to write a play about what it means to be a teacher who really cares about his students. First performed in 1977, I AM A TEACHER began to tour regularly in 1980-81 and was presented throughout America for the next sixteen years. Those years comprised Part One and Part Two of the play.

Mr. Marquis performed I AM A TEACHER at the Kennedy Center, in forty of the fifty states, in theaters, schools, civic centers, corporate board rooms, and colleges and universities, including Duke, Princeton, Vassar, and USC. He even performed once in a congressional hearing room. IAAT was a featured presentation at the first two national conferences of Teach for America. Corporate sponsors included Bank of America, IBM, Kodak, and ARCO.

In 1990, Simon and Schuster published the book I AM A TEACHER, which featured photographs and interviews of teachers in all fifty states. It was a Critic’s Choice in Time magazine and received a five-page spread in Newsweek. Mr. Marquis co-authored the book with gifted photographer Robin Sachs. The book became the basis for the “Be a Teacher, Be a Hero,” campaign, which was the most successful public service ad campaign in the history of the Ad Council.

He has completed an update of the play and re-launched the project, which is I AM A TEACHER Part Three. Mr. Marquis is undertaking this endeavor in part because he continues to receive emails, phone calls, and comments from people who saw the play decades ago and yet can still describe in detail the impact that I AM A TEACHER had on them.

Human Rights

In 1984 Mr. Marquis was an election observer in El Salvador. In 1985 he traveled to South Africa during the anti-apartheid movement. While in India, he visited the ashrams where Mahatma Gandhi conducted his work in non-violence. He also traveled to Nicaragua and later made two trips to the Philippines to participate in grassroots economic development work with villagers outside of Manila. During Afghanistan’s war with the Soviets, he spent time with Afghan freedom fighters in refugee camps along the border of Pakistan, visiting hospitals and conduction interviews with leaders of factions of the mujahidin.

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About David Marquis

Other Books

Making Love a Way of Life, published by Argus Communications in 1977, sold 77,000 copies. Celebrate America, from McKintex Press, accompanied a one-person stage play of the same title and was released during the American Bicentennial in 1976. Twirlin’ the Moon was published in 1980 by H.F. Thompson Press and accompanied a seventeen-city tour of the author’s one-person stage play of the same title.

Film, Print, and Broadcast
Guest Lecturer
Other Stage Plays


Born into a family of storytellers, David Marquis grew up on the high, dry plains of West Texas listening to family stories of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, of World War II and starting over after years of lean times.

His late father, W. A. Marquis, Jr., once fired an employee for using a racial slur in the office. Lucile, his late mother, organized a county-wide medical program to take care of the health needs of the children of migrant workers who came through Lubbock every fall for the cotton harvest.

His late uncle, Joe Atkins, came home from the Pacific a highly decorated Marine veteran of World War II. For the next fifty years he ranched the short grass prairie of eastern New Mexico, working the land with his own hands.

David’s late aunt, Beth Atkins, received her law degree from the University of Texas in the early 1940’s. When young male attorneys were shipped off to the war or the Pentagon, Beth and another female attorney clerked for the Supreme Court of Texas. Recently, more than 50 years later, the Supreme Court of Texas honored them at a banquet for their service during the Second World War.

Hazel Atkins, his maternal grandmother, widowed while still in her 50’s, became an inspector in a Boeing plant during the war, overseeing the work of men on the assembly line. One of her earliest memories was of marching in a suffragette parade with her mother.

His wife Diana has for many years been a leader in both the Latino and the arts communities in Dallas. His three adult stepchildren, Robert, Noel, and Dominique, are forward thinking, thoughtful individuals who contribute daily to guiding and healing fellow humans, and the planet.

David Marquis owes his love of a good story, his sense of social justice, his ties to nature and the land, and his first-hand experience with both strong women and strong men to his family.

He dedicates his work, both as an author and a speaker, to his grandchildren, that he might leave the world a better place for them.


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