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Loyola at a Glance

Longtime Loyola faculty and staff retire at semester's end

May 6, 2011

As Loyola University New Orleans seniors graduate and prepare to embark on new careers, some longtime mainstays of Loyola’s academic landscape are ending theirs.

Political science chair F. Conrad Raabe, Ph.D.; A. Louis Read Distinguished Professor in Mass Communication Larry Lorenz, Ph.D.; and criminal justice professor Dee Harper, Ph.D.; represent a combined 109 years of teaching experience.

The Rev. Guy LeMieux, S.J., SAK Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Gary Herbert is retiring as well, following a year sabbatical, while associate professor Emerita, library development coordinator Darla Rushing officially retired in December.

Raabe taught his first class at Loyola in 1968, having just received his doctorate from Penn State. For the next 44 years, he played a part in Loyola’s transformation, from a small locally-based university to one that welcomes a diversity of students from around the world and from various backgrounds and religions.

“I watched it all change,” Raabe said from his eternally cluttered office on the fifth floor of Monroe Hall. “I watched it go from a parochial school in the sense that was dedicated to educating the Irish, Italians and other locals in the city, in the sense of the Jesuit mission, to a school that was more inclusive. There was the business of new people coming in – black people – who needed an education and to be part of the system. This was what Loyola did and it made me feel good to be a part of that. My publication record hasn’t been spectacular, but watching Loyola grow – that’s been spectacular.”

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is Raabe’s straightforward approach to teaching.

“When I got here in ’68 I said OK, we’ve got a serious job to do here and we need to get it done. We’re dealing with real human beings - not widgets or computers – who need direction and to be challenged. I was able to say to some of them, ‘What do you want to do with your life? How do you want to handle this?’ To see them develop over the years has been an amazingly gratifying experience.”

Lorenz began his Loyola career in 1981, when he was named chair of the former department of communications. After leaving the chairmanship in 1994, he devoted himself to teaching and research. Lorenz noted that as he leaves, he will take a lot of pride knowing that his former students are successful and doing what they love.

“I was in Washington, D.C. doing research and opened up the Washington Post and right there on the front page is a byline by one of our graduates,” Lorenz said. “A couple of pages in, I see a byline by another one of our graduates. There are so many of them, and every time I see one of our students going out there, doing what they were meant to do, and doing a great job, it makes my heart beat a little faster.”

In 2009, the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., presented Lorenz the prestigious Dux Academicus Award, which recognizes a faculty member who “is able to impart the knowledge and wisdom of the humanities, sciences or the professions to students in a manner consistent with the unique philosophy of Loyola University New Orleans as a Jesuit institution of higher education.”

He is a prolific, award-winning author, past president of the Press Club of New Orleans, and has served as host of the weekly WYES-TV news-in-review program "Informed Sources."

Harper, as he describes it, will be “gone, but not really gone,” when he concludes his 35-year teaching career at the end of the summer session. Harper, who has authored more than 40 publications since joining Loyola in 1976, will be on campus through next spring as he collaborates on three soon-to-be-published books.

“I won’t be on the payroll, but I’ll be pretty busy that’s for sure,” Harper said. “I’ve really enjoyed working and researching with wonderful, outstanding colleagues and have had the pleasure of teaching some really exceptional students. I think it’s been a pretty good run. I wouldn’t have stayed this long if I really didn’t like it.”

In 1999, Harper received the prestigious Anthony Waters Distinguished Teaching Award, in 2004 the Loyola University City College Distinguished Service Award, and in 2007, Harper was named College of Social Sciences Professor of the Year. Harper’s scholarly research has been wide-ranging, addressing issues in gerontology, sociology of education, epidemiology of addiction, sociology of tourism and crime, and more recently, the death penalty and violent crime and deviance.

In addition to teaching at Loyola, Herbert is the editor-in-chief of Human Rights Review, an international, interdisciplinary journal published by Springer Verlag. The journal publishes scholarly articles on the moral and political interpretation and application of human rights legislation in the international community, and all related human rights issues. As editor of the journal, he was nominated in 2006 for the 25th UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education and in 2001 was awarded the Dux Academicus Award in recognition of his contributions to the university.

As head of cataloging, coordinator for technical services, and, finally, coordinator for special collections and Library Development, Rushing played a major role in the development of library automation at Loyola and in the planning and building the J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library. In addition, she helped usher Loyola’s special collections and archives into its deservedly prominent place in the Monroe Library for the university.

“My 32 years at Loyola have represented more than simply work, but a calling, Lebenswerk, if you will,” Rushing said. “I will continue my relationship with Loyola in a new way, but with the same sense of calling.”

Rushing was the co-recipient of the highly competitive National Endowment for Humanities Challenge Grant and received numerous grants for library projects, which led to her position as the Monroe Library's first development officer.

For more information on recent retirements contact the Office of the Provost at 504-865-3034.

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