Lloyd Roberts gives his “Last Lecture”

-James Osborne, News Editor

“I would not change one thing,” said business professor Lloyd Roberts, looking back on his teaching career. “You couldn’t find a better profession. This is a great life.” This year marks Roberts’ 33rd year teaching at Mississippi College. He has had many jobs at MC, but his fondest memories are of the students and being a teacher.

Roberts has been selected to give this semester’s Last Lecture presented by the Mississippi College Chapter of Mortar Board. The Last Lecture is a type of lecture series popular in many colleges and asks a professor to speak as if it would be the last lecture they would give an audience. Held twice a year at MC, this semester’s Last Lecture will be Apr. 22. The time and exact location are yet to be announced.

Members of Mortar Board nominate professors they would like to speak. Each person gets an opportunity to speak about why they feel the professor they nominated deserves to be the last lecture speaker. Last fall communication professor Mignon Kucia spoke, and this spring it is professor Lloyd Roberts. Roberts had planned on retiring after this school year but was asked by the dean to stay on for one more year. He will retire in May 2016.

lloyd-roberts

            “Dr. Roberts was one of the best teachers I have ever had,” said Harrison Thomas, a senior accounting major. “His class was highly entertaining because of his ability to interact with the students and allow all the students to think independently about the subject matter being covered. Another thing that truly makes Dr. Roberts different is the fact he never forgets your name and wants to help you. He brings years of experience teaching, as well as numerous practical experience to the classroom, unparalleled by many in profession.”

Roberts teaches the capstone course for undergraduate business students which is Strategic Management, and after this year he will only teach one other class, Principles of Macro Economics. The Strategic Management class focuses on case studies from many different companies. Even when he held some of those management and leadership positions he still taught part time.

Before working at MC, Roberts held several leadership positions in business. He was a marketing director for a bank, the general manager of America’s Consumer Council in Little Rock, Ark., a consultant and trainer for Hughes Aircraft, and has held many more business leadership positions.

He has served MC in a variety of important ways. From 1982- 1995 he was a faculty member and the business department chair. In 1995- 2000 Roberts was the Dean of the School of Business. In 2000-2001 he was the chief financial officer. From 2001- 2002 he was the interim president after Hal Todd resigned and the board searched for a new president. In 2002 Lee Royce became active president of MC, and Roberts became the senior vice president and stayed the chief financial officer until 2006. From 2006 until present he has remained a faculty member. Roberts is also the Treasurer of the MC Foundation Board.

Roberts has learned many valuable things from his life of leadership and from many people along the way. He has decided to title his upcoming lecture “Lessons I Learned from Other People and How These Lessons Changed My Life.” One lesson he said he learned is to place himself in other people’s position so to better understand their needs and how to serve them.

“It would be hard to overestimate the good work done by Lloyd Roberts for MC and its students,” said MC President Lee Royce. “I do not know of any administrator who surpasses him in service to the university. He assisted MC during some very critical times in our history providing vital and often untold service. I would also add that perhaps his most enduring service continues to occur in the classroom and in the relationships he fosters out of class. He continues to get the highest marks from students and alumni for his classroom presentations.” Royce also said that Roberts has made quite a difference in the lives of many international students serving as a surrogate parent for students far from home. “Lloyd Roberts represents the best of MC as an excellent teacher, mentor, administrator, and Christian friend to many.”

Students of Lloyd Roberts often talk about his humor and his ability to quickly remember everyone’s name. “I know their names after the first day,” admits Roberts. He went on to say that on the second day of class he uses association techniques to make sure he remembers the students’ names. He said he learned this technique, how to answer questions well, and maintaining a certain environment from a seminar called the Xerox PS2 Sales Course he took while marketing director of a bank.

Always the constant learner, one of Roberts’ plans after he retires is to continue to pursue education and take courses online like from sites like Khan Academy. He loves math and solving problems. He and his wife are also big fans of the theater and Shakespeare’s plays. He is also a constant reader, and historical fiction is his favorite genre.

Roberts is also an organic gardener and starts every morning with a kale smoothie with kale grown from his garden. He will gladly share the smoothie recipe with those who ask.

“Bo Roberts is one of the finest teachers that I have encountered in my 30-plus year academic career,” said School of Business Dean Marcelo Eduardo. “He combines an amazing level of knowledge and understanding about his subject matter (business strategy) with the ability of a master teacher to make the subject come alive and engage all students. However, more importantly, Dr. Roberts is an even better person than he is a teacher, and the relationships that he has built over his distinguished career with so many of his students attest to this. So my advice to students is, get to know Dr. Roberts-it will impact your life.”

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