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Ebbers, Larry

Published onMar 12, 2021
Ebbers, Larry

Larry Ebbers, 2017

Commissioned by University Museums and the College of Human Sciences. U2017.112

LARRY H. EBBERS (BS ’62, MS ’68 agriculture education, PhD ’72 higher education), among his many hats, could be considered the “godfather” of community college leaders in Iowa.

Ebbers was the face of ISU’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies for decades, retiring in 2016 as University Professor. Through his work as director of the Community College Leadership Program and director of the Community College Leadership Consortium, and the Leadership in the New Century programs, Ebbers played a key role in developing and promoting Iowa’s community college system, as well as championing the advancement of women and people of color as leaders in higher education.

Among his many awards are the Council for the Study of Community Colleges’ Senior Scholar Award and Distinguished Service Award, the American Association of Community Colleges’ National Leadership Award, the NASPA Latino Network “Amigo” Award, and the Ames NAACP’s “Making a Difference” Award. Additionally, Iowa State has recognized Ebbers with the Corly Brooke Learning Communities Advocate Award, ISU’s Presidential Service Award, the ISU Outstanding Achievement Award for Professional Practice and Outreach, the ISU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award, and an ISU Alumni Association 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

He has another distinction – having served on about 2,000 graduate student committees, a source of inspiration throughout his career. Among those students, he was major/co-major professor for more than 200 PhD students and nearly 500 master’s degree students.

“Energizing me more than anything else has been my work with graduate students,” he said. “My greatest rewards have come from watching them grow into the educational leaders of today.  Their graduation is what it is all about, the greatest day in a faculty member’s life.”

He came to Iowa State as a freshman in the fall of 1958.

“I was a 17-year-old farm kid who had just graduated from Rockwell High School,” he said. “Thanks to my Vocational Agriculture instructor and FFA advisor, Keith Olson. He came to the farm and said to my parents, ‘Larry needs to go to Iowa State and I will help him with everything including his residence hall contract’.”

After graduation, Ebbers taught high school in Iowa Falls and Spencer. Working with students in residence halls drew him back to Ames in 1965. In honor of his work in student affairs, a residential floor in ISU’s new Geoffroy Hall dormitory was named after Ebbers.

He lives in Ames with his wife, Barb. They have two daughters, both ISU alums, and four grandchildren.

Dean of the College of Human Sciences, Laura Jolly: We chose to honor CHS alumnus, Larry Ebbers, to recognize his distinguished career at Iowa State and the significant impact of his leadership in advancing higher education and community college leadership across Iowa and the U.S.

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