Professor Lerine Steenkamp of the College of Management and Professor Jerry Crist of the Department of Natural Sciences retired from Lawrence Tech at the end of the fall semester. They were honored by their colleagues at a retirement party on Dec. 11.
After growing up in rural northwestern Ohio and earning his PhD in chemistry at the Ohio State University, Crist joined the Lawrence Tech faculty in 1968. One of his first projects was to help design the new chemistry curriculum as the program evolved to what was initially a stand-alone department
“Dr. Crist is an award-winning professor, and arguably the most well respected and loved member of our Chemistry faculty,” LTU President Virinder Moudgil said. “Dr. Crist is admired by all of his colleagues as an outstanding educator.”
Crist has chaired the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Natural Sciences, and served as interim dean of students from 2001-03.
He was the faculty advisor who started the LTU Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Chemical Society. He was also faculty advisor to the University’s Honor Society, Lambda Iota Tau.
In 2009, he received the Henry B. and Barbara J. Horldt Excellence in Teaching Award .
For the past 20 years Crist chaired the University Scholarship Committee. “Knowing the need for scholarships would always outstrip the funds available, Dr. Crist took the scholarship review process to heart, working diligently with the scholarship committee to help as many students as they could,” Moudgil said.
Last year an alumnus established an endowed scholarship in Crist’s name, and this year another alumnus offered to match contributions to the fund up to $10,000. “Dr. Crist played a pivotal role in helping me thrive as an LTU student, and it is my privilege to give back in a way that honors such a special man,” the anonymous donor said in setting up the challenge grant.
Steenkamp came to Lawrence Tech in 2002 as director of management and information technology. She had previously taught at the University of Detroit Mercy and the University of South Africa, where she was named professor emerita.
Steenkamp provided leadership for the introduction of the College of Management’s first doctoral program in information technology. As director of the doctoral program, she supervised 24 doctoral candidates and served on eight dissertation committees.
Steenkamp brought a strong research background to LTU and became a role model for her doctoral students and the rest of the faculty.
“Her body of research in the areas of enterprise architecture, knowledge management, and system life cycle modeling is widely cited by scholars and practitioners around the globe. Her scholarship has been demonstrated by a large number of journal articles, national and international conference proceedings, and book chapters,” Moudgil said.
Associate Provost Al McCord added that Steenkamp was instrumental in setting high standards for the doctoral programs in the College of Management.
“She was an early proponent of encouraging our doctoral students to publish in peer-reviewed journals and at academic and professional conferences, often collaborating with her students and accompanying them to make their presentations,” McCord said. “This practice is now widespread across all of our doctoral programs, but it is Lerine who led the way.”
Steenkamp was also honored for serving as a mentor for other faculty members.
“Dr. Steenkamp has been an inspirational colleague who I have admired and looked up to since my arrival at LTU,” said Assistant Professor Nadia Shuayto. “She always placed the students first and went beyond the call of duty to help them with their academic and professional careers.”