Bob Larson

Professor of theatre/dance

First year teaching at Luther: 1965

Acting the athlete: Plays tennis regularly, often as a deliberate exercise in mental control and focus.

Study abroad: With his wife, Marilynn, he has co-directed Luther's yearlong Nottingham program twice and Luther's Malta program once.

Liberal arts expertise: Has taught public speaking, courses once known as "freshman core," Paideia II, and special seminars, including "Opera Houses of Northeast Iowa."

"Sure doesn't seem like 42 years," Bob says, chuckling as he recaps his tenure at Luther. "The true joy of this job is that you get to know young men and women in the midst of their academic and personal journeys--and you're part of it. It's refreshing to ask and ask again--'Where did my values come from? Why do I feel this way?'"

In his time, Bob has helped build the theatre/dance department, encouraging the formulation of a theatre major in the late 1970s and promoting more recent exploration of movement and dance.

"The whole notion of how the body thinks makes me sit up and pay attention. I'd always been interested in how the body learns, and now younger colleagues are giving me names and concepts and things to read about kinesthetic learning and its philosophy as a way of knowing. We're committed to supporting the movement side of theatre."

Each year, he teaches a variety of acting classes, in which the majority of participants are non-majors. "Our work still requires the live human being," he says, contrasting theatre with digital communication and virtual methods of learning. Theatre-and dance-making is storytelling that challenges and celebrates an audience.

To that end, Bob considers teaching and learning a lifelong study. "We're an evolving department. We're contributing to the wider world of theatre/dance, and we still have lots of questions. It keeps old people like me on our toes."