Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Honor where honor is due

Today, Northwest U honored LeRoy Johnson with the first Meritorious Professor designation. He's been a professor at NU since 1967, so he started out teaching grandparents of current students. When we were students, he was one of our favorite profs. I didn't know that history was interesting until my history class with LeRoy. He spurred a love of people's stories that continues into my dissertation. A few years later, he and Marilyn became friends and mentors when we came back to the university. (January 1986, W started teaching here. Yup, it's been that long.)

First, something about Marilyn. She's full partner in this team of information and people-persons. She misses few events at the college to which spouses are invited. She and LeRoy attend more weddings, funerals, and milestones of NU alums than any other faculty. Marilyn stays up to date on university "stuff" through LeRoy's daily calls home. 

Between them, they remember former students, families, and tribes of alumni. They hold the memories of the college's past. "What a blessing for an alumni director!" I often thought while at that post. I appreciated their willingness to confirm facts or provide an accurate background for alumni relationships.

LeRoy is a really good teacher and was a beloved assistant coach for a generation of basketball players. But something else makes him unusual. He has always stood up for the underdog. My husband and I admire his willingness to speak for those without speaking rights. Sometimes in an institution, students or employees need a senior fellow to plead their cause to a hierarchical "superior" (someone else's word, not mine). LeRoy has been such an advocate over many years.

It takes a brave heart, wisdom, maturity, and great Christian character to live on the inside of an educational institution for decades. It takes someone extraordinary to have his good will and good intentions admired by administration, faculty, and students alike. LeRoy is such a man, and I am proud to know him. He's a special friend to so many!

To give honor, say thanks, or share your own memories, feel free to drop him (and Marilyn) a line at or PO Box 579, Kirkland, 98083 

*The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

*Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That's the value of wisdom: it helps you succeed. Ecclesiastes 10:10 NEV

*And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11 NIV

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