Upper-year English students reflect on their time with retiring department head

Last week, I spoke to Dr. Robert Lapp about his decision to retire after 25 years teaching English at Mt. A. We spoke about his career, what he’s learned, and his plans for the future. This article can be found in the previous issue. 

This week, I spoke to a selection of upper-year English students about their memories with their beloved professor. 

Third-year English and Classics major Anne Lautenschlager said that Dr. Lapp was one of the reasons she chose to study at Mt. A. “A primary reason I applied to Mount Allison was to get the chance to take Dr. Lapp’s classes, and they have not disappointed! I am so glad I have been able to take as many as I have — I feel as though Dr. Lapp’s teaching and feedback has really confirmed my passion for English as an area of study and will continue to inform my post-Mt. A scholarly journey,” she said. 

Lautenschlager also spoke on her appreciation of Lapp’s character: “As a professor and department head I feel as though Dr. Lapp exude[s] warmth, kindness, and enthusiasm, in addition to being a seemingly inexhaustible [fount] of scholarly knowledge. Every student I have encountered adores Dr. Lapp, and I have repeatedly recommended his courses for those seeking distribution courses in order for non-English students to gain a solid and engaging introduction to the English world.”

Tess Casher has been doing her Honour’s research with Lapp for the past year and said: “Getting to sit in Dr. Lapp’s office each week and simply get excited about pieces of literature have been some of my favourite moments of my time at Mount Allison University.” 

Kate MacLean, a fourth-year student triple minoring in English, Classics, and Political Science said that in her first year, “I was scared I wouldn’t enjoy English, and I almost thought about switching my minors. However, Dr. Lapp is a creative and kind soul who encourages me regardless of my learning disabilities. He was very welcoming when I approached him as a scared first year and encouraged me to continue in English.”

Lapp’s guidance also inspired fourth-year student and English Society President, Kate Goodine. “Dr. Lapp’s teaching and constant encouragement was what influenced me to do an English degree, and really made me fall in love with the program,” she said. 

“I feel sorry for the students who will never sit in his classroom and feel the passion he has for his work radiate throughout the room and have the joy to get to know such a wonderful professor. However, he deserves the absolute best retirement and to have all the time in the world to read every single book his heart desires,” said fourth-year student Abigail Flann.

The Argosy’s Co-Editor-in-Chief and fourth-year English and French student Islay Fraser noted, “from just what I can see, he has put his whole heart and soul into the English department for many years. I know he is loved by his students, which is, I think, a testament to his work here.”

In conclusion, many English students, including myself, have been positively impacted by the wonderful work that Dr. Lapp has done at Mt. A. I remember him giving a presentation to my English class in high school, which ultimately led to my decision to study English at Mt. A. He will be missed by many, but his retirement is well deserved, and we hope he enjoys it.

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