Hometown Hero: Dr. Larry Elliot

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After 42 years of researching and teaching on the hill a Western Kentucky University professor is saying goodbye.

After being at WKU for 42 years, microbiologist, Dr. Larry Elliot will retire this year. He will take with him a lot of history of this department.

Dr. Elliott has dedicated his time at WKU in countless ways.

“He has been a mentor, a researcher and an instructor,” lab instructor, Mark Clauson said.

Twenty-one-years ago Clauson was sitting in Dr. Elliot’s class. Now he’s a colleague of Elliot’s, but over the year’s one thing has stayed the same: Dr. Elliot has been an instrumental influence in Mark’s life.

“He has had a lot of influence on me personally as just an advisor and has meant a lot to me,” Clauson said.

Along with the professional achievements Dr. Elliot has made at the university, colleagues say they will also miss his caring personality.

“He’s always got a kind word to say - always has a joke to tell and stories to inform us about. He’s just a wonderful man to work with,” biology instructor, Wayne Mason said.

Dr. Elliot is acknowledged for getting students interested in a program that was somewhat unknown and new to the university at the time.

“He fought through so many things in this department. He took the micro-biologist slant to our department and a wonderful med-tech department that has been very well received,” Mason said.

“He has students placed all over laboratories, all over the state of Kentucky,” Clauson said.

Many say he will be deeply missed and they’re grateful to have been able to learn and grow from him.

“He has been a tremendous service to the university,” Clauson said.

Dr. Elliott said he is grateful for his experiences at WKU and is also grateful to be thought of as a hero.

“I couldn’t believe it when the camera was going back there. I thought, ‘huh, something has to be going on here,’” Elliot said.

Dr. Elliott taught his last class this week and said he has a lot of traveling plans for the future. Plus he’s looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren.