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Photo: Nicholas Lovrich

Nicholas Lovrich is presented with an aerial portrait of the Riverpoint Campus by Debbie Reeves (left) and Pat Rossini, members of his administrative support team when he served as interim chancellor at WSU Spokane. / Photo by Judith Van Dongen

Saying "farewell" to a political science icon

Regents professor Nick Lovrich retires this summer

By Phyllis Shier, College of Liberal Arts

When most people retire after years of dedicated service to an institution, it's customary to hold a celebration in their honor.

Regents professor Nicholas Lovrich is not "most people."

Honoring Lovrich for his 34 years of devoted service to WSU's Department of Political Science took four celebrations, across the state. Celebrations were attended by government officials as well as colleagues, former students, and friends.

In all, close to 300 people took part in the festivities honoring him. Gatherings were held in Olympia with government officials; at WSU Spokane, where he served as interim chancellor from 2004 to 2005; at the Hilltop Restaurant in Pullman with his former graduate students; and at the Lewis Alumni Centre in Pullman.

"Nicholas Lovrich's retirement leaves WSU and the state of Washington with a legacy worthy of a premier land-grant university," said Michael Gaffney, acting director of WSU's Division of Governmental Studies and Services and director of the Institute for Criminal Justice.

"He has created—in political science, criminal justice, and the Division of Governmental Studies and Services—a legacy built with equal parts brilliance, humble service, and dedication," said Gaffney. "Our duty, as successors to this legacy and life of accomplishment, is to continue this remarkable work."

Celebrants in Olympia
Nick Lovrich (kneeling in center) with colleagues in Olympia May 5. / Photo by Starcia Ague

Scott White, Washington State Senate majority whip, sent a letter about Lovrich's work in public service that will be included in a book of testimonials.

"In addition to your impressive career on campus, the years that you have spent working with the Washington State Legislature have no doubt benefited the lives of students and faculty at Washington State University and at every college and university in our state!" White said.

Impressions of a mentor

In the course of his illustrious career, Lovrich received many accolades and professional honors, but perhaps he will be best remembered (and most missed) for his talents as a mentor. During his 34 years at WSU he mentored 30 doctoral students, following their progress through dissertations and, in many cases, into their careers.

In 2011 he received an Outstanding Mentor Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, for which he was nominated by two former students, Mary K. Stohr, professor of criminal justice at Boise State University, and Craig Curtis, associate professor and chair of political science at Bradley University.

"Nick has always served as a shining example of what an academic and scholar should be," said Stohr in her nomination letter. "(His) students are employed across the country in criminal justice departments where they are modeling Nick's excellent mentorship practices and tactics for their own students. I can conceive of no better mentor."

"Nick has been a true friend to the discipline, his students, and his colleagues for many, many years and is still my inspiration for how scholars should conduct themselves in all aspects of their lives," Curtis wrote. "I could not have asked for a better mentor."

Lovrich with dozens of his former students
Nick Lovrich (center, in pink tie) with dozens of his former students at his May 27 retirement reception in Pullman. Lovrich's mother, Lubie Lovrich, stands second from right.

Stroll down memory lane

What are your memories of Professor Lovrich? Share your comments about this inspiring mentor and all-around extraordinary man with us and other CLA alumni!

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