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Biology instructor retires from LBWCC

With Larry DeFilipi’s retirement Friday, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College is now without a face that has been associated with the school for nearly as long as the college has existed.

DeFilippi, a biology instructor, had been with the college for 35 years.

“I’ve been here through all six presidents,” he said. “I came here when the college was just a baby – only 6 years old.”

DeFilippi has taught students biology and anatomy and physiology classes, and occasionally physical science classes.

“Mr. DeFilippi has been a very valuable member of the faculty for the past 35 years. He has quite a distinguished career,” LBWCC president Dr. Herb Riedel said.

“He has kept standards high, he made you work for what you received.

“I’m very happy he is staying in the community,” Riedel said.

“I hope maybe we can get him to teach a class.”

Riedel said as a retirement gift, at DeFilippi’s request, a donation was made to the Jerry Padgett scholarship foundation.

DeFilippi said when he interviewed for his job, he immediately knew LBW was where he needed to be.

“I knew when I talked with the panel that I was going to be here,” he said. “I began teaching in the fall of 1975.”

He heard about the job from the division chair at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., where he taught for two years prior to coming to Andalusia.

“Robert Ringer said to me, ‘you might want to apply,’ he said. “And I did.”

DeFilippi said he has seen a lot of changes both in the classroom and at the college.

“There have been a lot of changes,” he said. “The golf course was constructed, and there have been upgrades to the facilities. The community has been really supportive.”

One of the best upgrades was when the Dixon Center was built, he said.

“Before the construction of the Dixon Center, we had to have our plays in the student center,” DeFilippi said.

“We had to put something on the windows for it to be dark enough.”

One of biggest changes in the classroom, DeFilippi said, was in 1979, when the National Science Foundation gave the school a grant for computers.

“We thought the computers were going to put us out of business,” he said. “But, they’ve become a very essential tool.”

DeFilippi said another advancement that has been essential to students is the Tegrity technology, which allows teachers to record lectures and students can use to study.

He looks at retirement is just another chapter in his life, DeFilippi said.

“I plan on traveling. I’m working at Christ the King Catholic Church with the St. Vincent DePaul Society, we help people who need food and assistance,” he said. “I also plan to be more involved with the Knights of Columbus, and visit my family some more. But, I’ll still be here.

“I’ve lived here 35 of my 61 years – where would I go?” he said.

He is a member of two amateur radio clubs – South Alabama Radio Club and Opp Amateur Radio Club, where he helps with the SKYWARN communication.

DeFilippi said he’ll miss the people he’s worked with and the students.

“It’s passed by quickly,” he said.

“But, I’m looking forward to retirement.”

For the remainder of the semester, Dr. Bob Bush will teach DeFilippi’s classes.