Lewis takes his leave at 9 years at MSSU

After nine years at Missouri Southern, Dr. John Lewis, associate professor of international marketing, has put the classroom behind him.

According to Lewis, seeing the progress in his students has been the most rewarding part of the job.

“[I liked] to see students gaining a new perspective on life and to understand possibilities that were out there for them and the hard work there was ahead to achieve it,” he said. “Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily.”

Lewis first began teaching at the University of Texas in 1977. His interest in foreign culture and travelling experience directed him to international business.

“I always liked to travel and I’d travelled to about 30 countries, and I enjoyed that,” he said. “And international business was a discipline that involved utilizing the information that I had about many different cultures and many different countries and many different economic systems.

“I pursued that because at the time I had an interest in it.”

His first year as a teacher taught him to successfully interact with students. His goal of teaching was to teach them to solve problems on their own.

“A lot of students don’t want to say anything because they’re afraid they won’t say the ‘right’ thing and you realize you have to work with them a while until they lose that fear,” Lewis said. “In most cases, there really is no wrong answer. It takes them a while to believe that.”

During his time at Southern, Lewis was able to acquire the first major government grant from the Department of Education for Southern. Receiving that grant, after several years of competition, is one of Lewis’ favorite memories during his years of teaching.

“It helped to fund improving international curriculum and the Business School and it helped to fund overseas travel for students who previously could not afford the trips,” he said.

Lewis, whose first overseas trip was to Naples, Italy, in 1971, said international travel is an important opportunity.

“Students, when they go overseas, gain something irreplaceable. Basically, they’re never the same again, he said.

“They come back and say their lives are changed and they are really thankful that they have been able to go through the process of going overseas.”

Though Lewis has left Southern, he’s not far from the memories of his students.

“Dr. Lewis was a teacher that really took pride in helping students,” said Jacob Garrison, senior marketing major. “He really knew the information which he taught, but he was able to explain it to us and make sure we understood it. He was a fun person to have in the classroom.”

Brian Robin, sophomore international business major, said Lewis was not only a great teacher, but a helpful adviser as well.

“He was very laid back and was always interested in how I was doing,” Robin said.