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|Louis Gordon III|
There are so many alumni who look back fondly on their days at Hiram, recognize the role that their time here played in their careers and their lives, and have given back to their alma mater in a variety of ways. Louis Gordon, who always preferred to be called “Lew” with an “e-w,” was one of those individuals who took the most he could from Hiram, and then directed it back to his family, his community, and his alma mater.
After graduating from Hiram with a degree in speech and psychology, Lew earned an MBA from Western Reserve Graduate School, served in the U.S. Army (Third Armored Division, 1953-55), married and had a son and two daughters. Even as a Hiram student, he began his career in personnel and labor relations, working at Cleveland Twist Drill Company, which became Acme-Cleveland Corporation. He retired as their Corporate Manager of Employee Benefits, and in 1981, established Gordon Associates, a personnel management and employee benefits consulting firm targeting smaller companies. For 16 years, he contracted with Patrick-Douglas Outplacement as a counselor to downsizing firms.
Lew passed away on January 12, 2003, before he could know that the Alumni Executive Board had already begun its deliberations for this award. Lew, in fact, served on Hiram's Alumni Council (now the Alumni Executive Board) for 12 years, including a term as board president. He would have been most pleased to know that he had been selected for this honor in particular.
Lew shared his leadership gifts with a great many Northeastern Ohio organizations. For more than 20 years, he participated in the Greater Cleveland Blood Program. For more than 15 years, he served on the Advisory Board of the Cleveland Board of Education's Work-Study Program. He was a Trustee of the Gannett Neighborhood Center, Vice President of the Goodrich Social Settlement, President of the Employee Benefits Council of Cleveland, and an active church leader.
He was especially involved in his local (and practically lifelong) community of Chagrin Falls. He served two terms as Chagrin Falls Councilman, chaired the Chagrin Falls charted review commission and received two resolutions for community service; was Chairman of the Chagrin Falls U.S. Bicentennial Committee; was a member of the Chagrin Falls Planning and Zoning Commission and the Chagrin Falls Architectural Board of Review; and served on the boards of the Historical Society and Friends of the Library. Lew was very proud of Chagrin Falls, and showed people around town with great pride and distinct opinions about civic affairs in his hometown.
Lew worked on his 50th reunion committee in 2002 and he went above and beyond to help the committee plan the special event, despite the fact that it was difficult for him to attend without his beloved wife Marilyn, who passed away in 1999. His daughter, Laura, came with him and they both had a marvelous time. Laura treasures that memory of her father and everything that she learned about his time on this Hill.
When asked about his most memorable time at Hiram for one of his reunion biographical forms, Lew wrote with characteristic sentiment and humor:
“At this time, I believe every day at Hiram was memorable! The friends, the faculty and programs gave direction to my entire life. But, before you start crying, I'll never forget the morning, on the Administration Building steps, when Brad Field had to eat the article we wrote about Chi Sig not finishing better than fifth in inter-club football.”
Lew was a special man who provided wonderful leadership to Hiram's Alumni Association and was certainly a lifelong civic leader. We are proud to salute Louis Kent Gordon as 2003's recipient of the Lifelong Leadership Award, and only wish he could have been with us to celebrate his accomplishments and his service.