UC Irvine students, faculty , friends and family members of Dr. Lawrence Alan Howard came together at the Social Sciences Lower Plaza for Dr. Howard’s memorial on Wednesday, May 16. Born on July 4, 1945, Dr. Howard contracted polio at the age of 6 and suffered from complete lower body paralysis in 1951. However, it never seemed that he let the disease get in his way. On March 28, 2012, Dr. Howard passed away due to heart ailment at his home in University Hills. Dr. Howard left those he knew with unforgettable memories, great intellect and inspiration.
“He never let polio ever stop what he wanted to do. It was something that was just apart of who he was…. I don’t think he ever looked at things from a limit perspective, and I really admired that,” Byron Howard, Dr. Howard’s nephew, said.
First coming to UCI for his undergraduate studies, in 1972 he received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. He proceeded with his education receiving his master’s in 1981, and then, in 1986 receiving his Ph.D. in psychology from UCI.. While still a graduate student, Dr. Howard began teaching courses at UCI on the arms race and nuclear conflict, a very hot topic of debate at the time.
“He spoke of things before his time, before the university’s time,” Dr. Cesar Sereseres, a colleague of Dr. Howard, said.
After Dr. Howard received his Ph.D., he became a junior specialist in UCI’s School of Social Sciences. Thereafter, he continued his time at the university as a lecturer. The professor taught a wide range of subjects ranging from cognitive science to political science. After retiring in Jan. 2010, Dr. Howard worked part time as a counselor at the Disability Services Center for students with disabilities.
“In his university life, he was someone who demonstrated in every possible way the extent to which he cared about other human beings, both through his teaching and through his interaction with all of us,” Dr. William R. Schonfeld, colleague of Dr. Howard and former Dean of theSchoolofSocial Sciences, said. “His interest in psychology was driven by his concern in individuals’ suffer, and he wanted to reduce that suffering. And his interest in GPACs and general issues of international conflict was driven by precisely the same emotion. Larry wanted to make the world a better place.”
Not only contributing to the academic world with his vast research, Dr. Howard left an impression on nearly everyone he met. Teaching both kindness and peace, he was able to have an impact on family, friends and strangers, alike.
“Larry was kind of our connection and guide [for] us – the intermediary between our grandparents and taught us about the family lore,” Dr. Nathan Howard, nephew of Dr. Howard, said on how Dr. Howard stepped in as a father figure upon the death of his brother.
“He was just a very genuinely friendly, kind guy who you could always depend to ask about your day,” said Jennifer Mogi, a 4th year international studies and public health major who was in attendance at the memorial. “I’d always see him in UTC, and it would always brighten my day when I saw him.”
An active member in the community as well, Dr. Howard was a peaceful activist and supporter of civic engagement throughout the course of his life.
“I know the peace and justice activists side of Larry. We shared many corners here in OC holding signs opposing nuclear weapons, opposing the arms race… In 1986, I had the honor and the privilege of being arrested with Larry Howard as we blocked buses that were taking war planner delegates to El Toro from South Coast Westin Hotel,”said Marion Pack, an old friend Dr. Howard made during involvement with Alliance for Survival, an antinuclear organization.
“He would always go the [farmer’s] market and come help us get people’s attention to come and register to vote, and he would always bring us oranges,” a few members of the Democrats of Greater Irvine who got to know Dr. Howard over the last 6 months during weekly meetings, said.
Dr. Howard’s contributions to the academic world and society both will not soon be forgotten. With great compassion and perseverance amongst adversities, he will continue to serve as an inspiration. “He was a model … He never talked about his problems, never talked about being handicapped, never talked about anything other than getting the job done,” Dr. Sereseres said.
The memorial was closed with the releasing of three white doves and a moment of silence in honor of Dr. Howard. Dr. Howard’s remains have been cremated, and his ashes will be spread at sea.