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Comments about Lon Larson from his colleagues and students

May 14, 2009
"I've always had a fondness for Henry Adams' quote: 'A teacher affects eternity -- he can never tell where his influence stops.'  I always thought this quote was made for Lon. He has affected eternity -- he has been a teacher in so many different ways -- a teacher to his students, to his colleagues, his friends, and to his family. We all take part of Lon's teachings with us. And in that way, his influence truly never stops."

--Chuck Phillips, associate professor of pharmacy administration and assistant dean of assessment

"Lon was one of the most impressive -- and beloved -- people with whom I've worked in almost four decades in higher education. He was highly informed, thoughtful, kind, reflective, perceptive, witty, wise in a variety of ways, and knowledgeable about a range of important things outside of his own professional specialty. Most of all, Lon was a sculptor -- he shaped the lives of generations of Drake students through his roles as teacher, mentor, and friend, and he contributed much to crafting the future of the University in his leadership roles in Drake’s planning initiatives.  

"His legacy is imprinted on the thousands of students and colleagues with whom he worked, and on the many more who will come in the future to experience the exceptional learning environment at Drake to which Lon has contributed so much."

--David Maxwell, president

"Earlier in his illness, I unexpectedly ran into Lon in the hallway in Harvey Ingham Hall. We tried to spend a few minutes catching up, but it was nearly impossible. We were interrupted every few seconds by students coming up, expressing their concern and best wishes for him. It was awe inspiring to see the devotion Lon's students had for him -- and it certainly reflected the devotion he had for them."

--John Rovers, professor of pharmacy and health sciences

"I will always remember Dr. Larson for his infectious smile. He could literally light up a room with his positive attitude and good nature. It amazed me that even during his chemotherapy he was ALWAYS smiling and saying how his life was truly blessed.

"I will miss Dr. Larson more than he would ever know, but I am thankful for the opportunity to be one of his many mentees and friends. People say that when you go through life there are only a small number of people who make such an impact on your life that you're changed forever just by knowing them. For me, Dr. Larson tops my list."


-- Jennifer Lose, a fourth-year pharmacy student 

"It was my privilege as Dean to have Lon for a
friend, a faculty member and a colleague. He exemplified what it means to be a
academician and a professional."

--Raylene Rospond, dean of the College of Pharmacy and
Health Sciences

"Lon had the interests of the whole University at heart. He was as committed to building liberal education as he was to strengthening the pharmacy program, and had an impact that reached all students through his work to help us realize the promise of Drake's mission. He was unselfish and generous with his time, ideas, and optimism in his collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and administrators."

--John Burney, vice provost for academic affairs

"Lon Larson was the consummate University citizen. In addition to being an outstanding teacher, an accomplished scholar, and a superior mentor to students and new faculty members, he willingly stepped forward to assume leadership roles when his skills and contributions were needed. He always treated everyone with respect and kindness, a measure of his exemplary character. Consequently he was a model of students and colleagues, someone who cannot be replaced."

--Ron Troyer, provost

"Looking back, many of us developed a special bond with Lon -- even those who struggled with the content of his courses. I remember one classmate who couldn't seem to grasp the content of his class, no matter how hard she worked. Lon must have poured hours into his revisions of her papers, genuinely hoping she would experience the 'a-ha moment.' She never did, but she did give him a big hug on the last day of class.

"To this day, I've never known a professor more dedicated to the quality of his teaching…Lon's contagious smile, dry sense of humor, and sharp intellect were magnetic. But what I most admire about Lon is his perspective on people and life. He found the value in every person and experience, taking a positive outlook and finding good -- no matter how worrisome things looked to the rest of us."

--Former student and alumnus Josh Benner, a 1998 pharmacy graduate

"Everyone always wants to make a difference in other people's lives. I don't think that I have encountered anyone who has done that more than Lon Larson. Whether a University or professional pharmacy colleague, an alumnus or a student, Lon provided inspiration and motivation through his positive outlook, humble nature and work ethic. The outpouring of support has demonstrated that Drake University and the pharmacy profession are better because of Lon."

--Renae Chesnut, associate professor of pharmacy practice and associate dean for academic and student affairs

"My favorite Dr. Larson story was during his time as
a student at Drake he waited outside the Fieldhouse all night to get tickets to
the Drake men's basketball game in 1969-1971. He had a physics exam the next
day that he should have been studying for instead of getting tickets to
see the Bulldogs. He said he did not remember how he did on the exam but
he would never forget going to that game. Dr. Larson seemed to live
life for the moment and not worry about the small things. I think this is
part of students' attraction to him -- that he could always put things in
perspective when we as students often forget to see the big picture in
life."

--Carter Birkel, third-year pharmacy student and president
of Drake's Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) chapter