On April 13, 2017, a sizeable crowd was gathering in one of the Havener Center’s St. Pat’s Ballrooms. Their purpose: celebrate the quickly-approaching retirement of Dr. Larry Gragg, Curator’s Distinguished Teaching Professor of history. After forty years on this campus, he’s finally retiring! Well, almost. He will teach courses for the next few fall semesters while he continues his thorough research into the history of the S&T campus.
Those who know Dr. Gragg know how passionate he is about his major research area: Las Vegas, Nevada. The retirement celebration reflected this, with chocolate coins and plastic poker chips decorating every table.
Speakers at the celebration included Dr. Jack Ridley, Provost Robert Marley, Dr. Shannon Fogg, and even historian Michael Green (delivering his accolades from afar, via Dr. Diana Ahmad).
Those who spoke had nothing but compliments for Dr. Gragg, referring to him on many occasions as dedicated, hard-working, unselfish, kind, intelligent, and genuine. Dr. Fogg highlighted his performance on the S&T campus, where he taught over 6,0000 students. Those students, in turn, awarded him an overall 3.7 rating on the 4.0 scale used on the instructor evaluation forms.
Dr. Ridley, long retired from the history department, shared stories about Dr. Gragg that I, as a student, probably would have never caught elsewhere. Ridley referred to Gragg as “a great practical joker,” urging the attendees to “ask him sometime about the toy soldiers.”
Perhaps the most touching words of the afternoon came from Dr. Gragg himself, who had nothing but kind things to say about his time at the university. He made special note of “wonderful opportunities in research” but quickly emphasized that “none of them measure up to getting to interact with 6400 students.” Congratulations, Dr. Gragg!