5/26/2016 – 12:15 pm
When you’ve been working at a University as long as Larry Lynch has you’ve seen a complete change in campus culture many times over. It’s been said that the lifetime of a typical college is four years. In the past sixteen years, he’s been working at UF, Lynch has seen that culture change itself over at least four times if not more.
“In those days the experiences were different. You’d go into classrooms and learn from the books like that. But today we see much more hands-on learning that gives students an experience. Last year I knew students who were studying small animals, and as Freshmen, they’re out there working with real small animals right out the gate, taking care of them and learning about them.” says Lynch. “A lot of schools don’t give students that experience until they’re Juniors or Seniors. The college wants the students to get out and interact with people and learn things from a hands-on approach”
Lynch works in student housing at UF, and in that role he not only gets to interact with students on an everyday basis, but he also has a chance to work with them in ways that are different than typical student/teacher roles. In working in the dorms, Lynch can help students with their struggles, the pressures of college living and also in encouraging them in their school work as a way to help them through the college experience.
“I may not know their names but I’d be working in the dorms, walking down the hall or pushing a broom and if their doors were open I’d see them working on their computer and say ‘hey, working on homework, a big project?’ and they’d say ‘yeah I’m working on a big paper.’ Lynch says “Well, I’ll try to file that away and if I see them a week later I’ll say ‘Hey, how’s that paper coming along, how’d that final you were working on come out?’ And they’d say ‘Oh yeah, it went great.’ And so on. We are making a difference in our own way.” says Lynch.
Lynch doesn’t consider himself an educator, which many who know him would likely dispute. He holds a BA in Speech & Theater and served as an ordained minister for twenty years before health reasons forced him to step down. After his health was addressed, Lynch chose to stay at UF because he found it more fulfilling to work with the students in ways outside a typical classroom setting, and to provide encouragement and guidance when needed.
“I tell students and parents that I’m not their parent or supervisor in any way. But if they’re having a problem or have a mess in their room, we’re here to help them get an understanding as to how to work and live with other people.” says Lynch
When it comes to success, whether in college or in the work place the key is building relationships and not taking those relationships for granted. Lynch says that over the years he’s been working at UF he’s had the opportunity to see students come in as freshmen, and go through the struggles making the transition to adulthood. The most successful ones were ones that realized that getting involved, and meeting new people were the key to success in life beyond college.
“For a lot of young people, it’s their first time away from home, the first time they’ve lived with someone else and had some space to take care of. And I see the older students develop skills where they begin to plan, take pride and prioritize things. It’s just interesting to see that cycle go through again, and again, and again.” says Lynch.
Lynch doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. The connections that he’s made to students has had an impact on them at a personal level. Recent graduate student Lauren Brassfield says that Lynch was always one of the best people to know because he always would encourage you to be the best version of yourself.
“Larry Lynch is one of the nicest people that I have come to know and love at the University of Findlay. He always has a positive attitude and is focused on the students and their success. He is one of the few staff members at UF that will actually take the time to get to know someone. Be it a student or fac/staff member. The university of Findlay is very lucky to have such an amazing and caring person on their campus!” says Brassfield.
For his part, Lynch may down play his role in student success at UF, but he takes the work he does seriously because he believes that any job worth doing is worth doing at the best of your ability.
“When it comes to the students it’s about the experience. Maybe they didn’t pay much attention to it as a freshman but maybe those things start to catch their attention a few years later. They have the opportunity to mature, to learn things on their own, learn how to budget their time and resources. These are all things that they can take with them to serve them over and over again in life beyond college. It’s an amazing experience.” says Lynch.
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