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Roper Send-off Blog

Posted May 7th, 2014 by nelsojod


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Leave Larry a personal message or share a memory.

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28 Responses to “Roper Send-off Blog”

  1. David Molina Says:

    I arrived on the campus of OSU in the spring of 2001, and Larry’s name was one of the first names that came up in discussions of “who’s who” on campus by fellow peers. Immediately after meeting him, I knew why. A relentless and staunch advocate of every student I have been forever shaped by his mentorship, unwavering advocacy and lead from the front leadership. While serving in MEChA, Larry played a pivotal role in supporting the organization’s growth and with it more Latino student recruitment/retention with the university’s support of the National MEChA Convention in 2003/2004; while in student government, Larry supported the Multicultural Task Force with our events; while running for student body president, Larry provided mentorship; as an Army Cadet, Larry provided counsel; as a student, an ear to lean on about the daily struggles of staying in college. I graduated in 2004 and after launching our small business, Larry again was there to support our crazy consulting endeavors which was instrumental in the early days. During the launch of the OSU Chicano/Latino Alumni group, Larry continued to be of great resource connecting us with the foundation. In early 2011, when I was mobilized in the U.S. Army Reserves I inadvertently ran into Larry at Philly International Airport. He was headed to a conference, and I was waiting for my now little family of 3 + Edith to arrive for our 2-year deployment to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. There was no greater feeling in seeing a fellow Oregonian, especially from my alma mater, Oregon State University, across the country than that very day. He was wearing his Beaver gear and we immediately bonded. A true Beaver. More recently, Edith and I sat next to Larry at the Mi Family Weekend. His support is appreciative, but his mere presence shows that he cares. Larry is the epitome of what an university administrator, intellectual and mentor should be and it’s a privilege to know him through the years and wish Larry all the best that life offers in the months and years to come. I only hope that we can accomplish at least half of what Larry has been able to do.

  2. Richard Frost Says:


    It is hard to even think that you will be leaving for a different spot come January 2015. There are tears in my eyes as I think of all you have meant to me and help you have provided. Your spirit, faith, and setting the pace will never be replaced. 1978 is a long time ago but your generosity and kindness is one of my key embers that keeps me going.

    May your new journey bring great joy to the entire Roper family!! It would be great to join you on the 25th but my journey is not yet done. May God watch over you all the days of your life! Love Richard

  3. Emily Bowling Says:

    Inspirational. Motivational. Visionary. Supportive. Positive. Compassionate. Legendary.

    These are words that come to mind when I think of Larry Roper.

    Larry, I have been deeply moved and profoundly inspired from hearing you share your wisdom and witnessing your graceful, humanist leadership.

    You have helped me to envision more possibilities for my work at OSU and sparked increased reflection on my leadership style and approach. My view on shared leadership and what it means to be of service to students is forever changed and elevated from having worked with you.

    Endless thanks for your unwavering support and guidance during my time at OSU! Best wishes.

    Emily Bowling

  4. Kelly Donegan Says:

    I first met you when I was Director of the Community Alliance for Diversity and you served on the Board. Since then, I have always admired your kindness and compassion and service to others. I wish you the very best on your new journey. Happy trails, Kelly

  5. Aaron Howell Says:


    I’ve enjoyed our interactions over the years and it’s always fun to look back at our kids parallel growing up.

    Your dedication to your team and to OSU has always been admirable. You have earned my respect on your approach to sometimes difficult issues. My very best wishes to you on your new path.


  6. Mark Van Order Says:

    Small touches with large impact…thanks so much for watching our young kids one weekend when it was discovered that I had cancer. It still means so much after all these years.

    Best wishes for what unfolds next!

  7. Marianne Vydra Says:

    Larry! I will be there unless our baseball team is still in Omaha at the NCAA CWS!!

    Regardless, you will be sincerely missed. You have been a steady voice of reason during critical moments involving our student-athletes; and you have been a wonderful role model and leader for myself and the university.

    You led by example and inspired us with your spoken word and inclusive language. You allowed me to give myself permission to reflect on my choices and my words in my day to day work with students and staff; these important pauses always altered outcomes for the better. Thank you for that gift!!

    I wish you all the best in the next chapters of your life with your family!


    Marianne Vydra
    Sr. Associate Athletic Director
    OSU Athletics

  8. Kent Kuo Says:


    Thoughout my career here at OSU, you have been a constant, warm, supportive, and even inspirational person for me. I remember the moment when you went from “colleague” to friend (I know…it is hard to have to admit it) and something I found even more strange…a person I see as part of my extended family. I realize you might not want to be part of Debbie and my extended family. Well get over it. You can choose to not recognize this part of the family during family get-togethers, but you won’t be able to completely ignore us. You see, you can choose who your friends are, but not your family.

    Back to the moment….you see, as you know I grew up in New York. I remember the streets, stick ball, basketball, and various events that often got me in trouble. I recall a very funny story you were telling to the Student Affairs directors, where at the end of the story you exclaimed “your mama” and took off running. That took me back to those days as a kid and made me laugh even harder. It was like you were there with me.

    Then I realized…you are there with me, each day through each challenge. You helped provide hope when there seemed to be none. You helped me more than you can ever know…and I am grateful for this chance to be your colleague, friend, and yes…part of the family. Debbie and I wish you, Dina, and Ellis only the best in whatever adventure you take on. And if ever you run into trouble…you have only to call on me. I would be proud to stand beside you and in unison exclaim “your mama” and run like hell. Love always…Kent, Debbie, Alexa, Ryan, and Kayla Kuo.

  9. Mike Mays Says:


    I appreciate you.

    Your involvement with Classified Staff Development Day has brought such comfort and inspiration to us during some difficult times.

    Your listening skills are legendary! You find messages in conversations that I didn’t know were being sent, and then provide exactly what is needed for empowering us to move positively forward.

    I remember especially something you said at a Journey Into Leadership training; “Everyday people reveal to me what I need to do to become competent.” That’s listening. That’s caring. That’s inspiration for me.

    I enjoyed the times I would catch up with you at the women’s basketball games! You have always been not just approachable, but welcoming and genuine.

    I hope your new path provides what you desire. Those along it will be greatly enriched in their contact with you.


  10. Edie Blakley Says:


    You mean so much to me – I’m not even sure I can sufficiently put into words all that you are to me.

    You’ve been a teacher, in graduate school classes you were a wonderful professor but more important was the teaching you did every day by modeling leadership, demonstrating grace and holding yourself to the highest of standards. You taught me that you manage things but you lead people; that has shaped my own leadership. You taught me that love and hope exist together but they cannot co-exist with fear and that has taught me to choose love, over and over again – especially at work. You taught me it is ok to make mistakes, what matters is that which we learn from mistakes and to carry those lessons into the future. You taught me that I bring my soul to work, that I deserve to be healthy and nurtured. You taught me it doesn’t serve me well to let every single thought I have be fully expressed on my face or in my body language (still working on that).

    You’ve been a mentor. You encouraged me to continue my formal education, that changed my life. You supported me in opportunities to grow and discover my own gifts, you gave me wings. You pushed me to excel and move forward when it was scary. You told me hard truths when it was what I needed to hear. You helped me understand when it was time for me to leave – the best decision I could have made for my career. You expressed care in a million different ways and mostly made sure you had time for me – I don’t know how I can ever repay that.

    You’ve been my friend. You laugh with me and joke around, such wonderful expressions of love! You allowed me to share some of my deepest fears and greatest accomplishments with you, and you’ve honored me with some of your story as well. You’ve made me crack up at you and at myself, and you’ve even sung with me. You let me see the ordinary inside the extraordinary man you are, and that has meant the world to me.

    I am so happy for you that you now will have the time to more fully pursue some of your passions, you’ll have more time to create and teach. I can’t wait to see what you do in this next phase; whatever it is, it will be just as brilliant as this has been and yet you will continue to be humble.

    Because of these things as so much more, I am deeply honored to call you teacher, mentor and friend.

    Much love to you – Edie

  11. Amy Ford Says:

    Larry is one of the most unique humans I have ever met. As a very anxious first-year doctoral student (2002), Larry hired me as his editorial assistant for the NASPA Journal. This position was a graduate assistance (GA) position, and it helped to fund my first year. Larry was the most amazing boss I had ever had. He had so much faith in me, was genuine, greeted me every day with a smile, and gave such kind feedback. It was his leadership and mentoring that influenced the way I look at teaching and supervising (humanistic). Larry also was part of my Ph.D. committee, and I will never forget how he advocated for me! Larry, you will be greatly missed, and you have touched my life forever. I wish you the very best in your new season!

    Amy Ford (Bartley)

  12. Cheryl Galyean Says:


    Thank you for your staunch support of our Precollege TAG Programs over the years. Best wishes to you!

    Cheryl Galyean

  13. Rich Shintaku Says:

    Dear Larry,

    Congratulations on an exceptional career as a leader, educator, scholar, ally, advocate, servant, mentor and role model. You have been, and continue to be, the person that I try to emulate in my professional life.

    I am privileged to say that our journey together spans several decades whether we worked together (OSU, UC Davis) or from a distance (NASPA, ACPA). Still, over the years, you never swayed from staying connected, supportive, reflective and relevant. So many of us are better because of you.

    I wish you well on the next chapter of your journey; you’ve earned it. I hope that you continue to find new opportunities to add value to and learn from – of course, enjoying every moment along the way! Have a great celebbration on the 25th; I am sorry that I can’t be there to participate in person but I will raise a toast to you from Mrak Hall in Davis. Thank you, congratulations and I hope to see you sooner than later, my friend.


  14. Bil Morrill Says:


    It was a pleasure and honor to work with and for you from 1997 – 1998. I learned more about leadership and integrity in the two years I was at OSU from you than any other time in my work history.

    Thank you for being a mentor & example to so many students, faculty, staff and myself over the years.

    Best Wishes,
    Bil Morrill

  15. Cathy Law Says:

    Thank you so much for your never-ending support of youth outreach programs such as STEM Academy!! You have inspired us all and I deeply admire your dedication and integrity!

  16. Katherine Betts Says:

    Hey Larry D!!!!!

    It has been so great knowing you over the past several years. When I arrived to Oregon State University as a Resident Director, I arrived excited but concerned about what was ahead of me and wondering how I might find my place as a person of color in very rural Corvallis, Oregon. I developed a community network which I still maintain this day, and had some very valuable professional opportunities that have helped to ground my career path within higher education.

    Larry, I appreciate that you have remained consistent and modeled excellent leadership as a senior leader. I appreciate having the opportunity to get to know you and being able to call you my mentor and friend. Thanks for always being a sounding board and continuing to provide support as I continue to navigate my professional journey. I look forward to being able to pay forward all of the lessons learned as I encounter new professionals entering the field.

    I am very excited for the next part of your journey as you begin a new chapter in your life. Don’t worry, I will continue to keep in touch so that you don’t forget about your favorite mentee,(smile)!

    Best wishes to you and your family. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

  17. Susan Komives Says:

    Larry- I have known you for 27 years! You and Pam Cranston were PhD students in the Maryland CSPA program when I was interviewed as a candidate! You were wise then and continue to be one of the wisest people I know. Your alma mater is proud of you, NASPA and ACPA are blessed with your leadership, and your staff and graduate students carry on your legacy. Best wishes in the next wonders to unfold in your life, Susan

  18. caroline haskell Says:

    Dear Larry,

    How I wish I could be there to send you off to your next chapter! I will be there in spirit! I have appreciated our connection over the years and have benefited from your thoughtful and generous leadership. Thank you so much for your many contributions to your students, staff and colleagues. I feel blessed to know you. Best to you always, Caroline

  19. Susan Longerbeam Says:


    You are a steadfast mentor and role model in student affairs and higher education leadership. I am forever grateful to you for your care, compassion, and wisdom. Thank you for all you give to so many in our communities.

    I wish you fulfillment in your new full time faculty role. Now you will have more time to write!


  20. Tim White Says:


    Congratulations on the occasion of your retirement and kudos for being the nation’s exemplar. I am sorry this full-time job in California prevents me from attending your party!

    I knew you were good when we worked together for 9 years in Corvallis – thoughtful, caring, supportive, clairvoyant, dedicated, strategic, analytical and reasonably handsome 🙂 !

    But after I left OSU in 2004 for other places, I fully realized the gift you really were and are – to thousands of students…enabling them to prosper in the living, learning, and athletic envirnoments at OSU, and helping them flourish thereafter in life.

    I think of the many moments we shared, some good and some with headwinds – 9/11 and the big drive, cultural centers, leadership inter-personal relationships, the Cabinet meetings, picnics and sports. But I also realize how grateful I am for the privilege of working together, and the lessons I learned from you that I used and use daily in Idaho and California.

    With nothing but the best in all that is next for you and yours, Larry.

    Tim White
    California State University Chancellor

  21. Lori M. Ideta Says:

    Aloha e Dr. Roper: You are a man of great strength, compassion, integrity, brilliance, and wisdom. My life is blessed because of your presence. As a leader of color in higher education, you have paved the way for others of us to follow. We are filled with gratitude.

    Wishing you and your family all the best in this next chapter of your life. We will miss you greatly in the work arena, and we celebrate the time you will spend away from the work arena!

    For all that you have done, for all that you have meant, for all that you are, we are truly grateful.

    In gassho,

  22. Ken Simonton Says:

    Larry ,

    There always seemed to be behind your patient smile, a very purposeful wisdom & a character fortified by either great adversity or an unshakable faith. I wish I’d of invested more time in knowing the man that I so greatly admire. Perhaps over a few rounds on the green, a glass of great Oregon Pinot, or simply reaching out to once again seek your counsel that I can learn more about what in you built such a great ally to the people & programs that will forever be indebted to you! To a job well done and a lasting legacy, be well friend & I pray to cross paths again! – Ken Simonton, Class of 2002.

  23. Laurie Franklin Says:


    You’re an inspiration to more Student Personnel folks than you’ve met in person due to your legacy in higher education. Your advocacy for those who never thought they had the permission to reach for the stars allowed them (us) to understand that we are limitless. You were meant to do great things, and you held up your end. Thank you for your contributions to humanity. Much Aloha from the state due North (WA), Laurie

  24. Cheryl Strand Says:

    Dear Larry,

    Warm wishes to you as you transition to your next role at Oregon State University. The excellent work you have been doing as Vice Provost of Student Affairs dovetails nicely with teaching. Your students will benefit from your experience and fine personal qualities.

    On a personal note, we appreciate the kind condolences and warmth that you extended to us when our son died in 2004 and for honoring him with a beautiful tree planting. From our first conversation with you, we could picture our son talking with you and appreciating your open, gentle way of listening and encouraging his growth and awareness. Thank you!

    Wishing you well,

    Cheryl and Alan

  25. Flo Leiboiwitz Says:

    Many many thanks for all you have done for the Philosophy faculty and students, and I thank you for your personal support as well. Very best wishes for the next chapter !


  26. Mary McManus Says:

    Congrats, Larry, and best wishes for next transitions. I remember you well from ‘back in the day at ACPA’ as a lively, engaging colleague. Clearly this is still the case – loved the flash mob video (courtesy of UW-Stout alum Maureen Cochran:)) Great to see your continued positive impact in the world of higher ed! What better legacy?

  27. LeeAnn Baker Says:

    Dear Larry,

    Thank you for all you have done for me and for the OSU community. Your contributions to Oregon State are truly immeasurable. I will be forever grateful for your kind and wise words when I struggled to find my voice. I appreciate you valuing the contribution of every individual and striving to create a space where we all can thrive. Thank you for being a guiding light in my OSU experience.

    All the best,

    LeeAnn Baker

  28. Jodi Nelson Says:


    Your wisdom is legendary; it just seems to flow from the deepest part of your soul. You are a rare human being whose understated strength of character and uncommon humility makes you so approachable, accessible, and a beloved leader, colleague, and friend. You are one in a million, and you are every man.

    Knowing you for the last 19 years and working together has been a life changing and profoundly enriching experience for me, as I know it has been for you!


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