Trotter retires with a compassionate impact

Madison Hudson
Staff Writer

A retirement celebration was thrown for professor of art and painter Ruth Trotter on Monday in the Campus Center Ballroom. 

A number of staff, faculty, friends and family members showed up to congratulate and celebrate the legacy Trotter has left at La Verne and shared countless memories they made together throughout her years at the University. 

Tables covered in white cloth with beautiful candles and stunning floral arrangements placed on top pulled the room together nicely and looked very classy.

First to say a few words was Shannon Matthews, dean of the College of Arts and Science, speaking about the impact Trotter left on her.

“She struck me as the educator you always wanted to be, who cared about students, and colleagues who cared about her department colleagues,” Matthews said. “Although I was unable to work alongside her for long, it was a blessing having the opportunity to watch her spread her passion with others.”

As colleagues said their speeches, the event displayed a slideshow of messages from staff and faculty saying their farewells.

Next to speak was Jonathan Reed, professor of religion who explained the ways Trotter guided him into becoming a great teacher.

“As she was my professor mentor, I learned that in order to be a good teacher it is about being innovative and showing your passion for the subject to make sure students knew to respect the art of religion in which I taught,” Reed said. “The three parts to Ruth that contributed to her legacy was being an advocate for the arts, succeeding as a professor mentor, and being such a talented artist herself.”

Following Reed was Jon Leaver, professor of art history, who spoke about the years he was able to work alongside her.

“Being able to work with Ruth the past 16 (or) 17 years, leadership always seems as a collaboration not hierarchy,” Leaver said. “Colleagues always came first and when we moved from tents to Arts and Communications Building, she brought on board faculty that has been her since the beginning. We will miss her dearly.”

The room continued to fill with emotion as speeches were said and hugs were exchanged between Trotter and those who had spoken about their memories and interactions with her.

Lastly, Professor of Art Keith Lord wrote out an entire speech talking about his interactions with Trotter and the reason why he became a teacher at La Verne. 

“Working at a non-profit as a teacher for disabled adults in Claremont, I came in when asked to sub and I met Ruth. She was so calming and happy to see me,” Lord said. “She was sure I would be fine and after covering those classes, six months later I applied to work at La Verne as studio manager and have been here ever since.”

Following these beautiful speeches, there was a presentation of gifts to Trotter and the celebration ended with more hugs and tears seeing her go.

Madison Hudson can be reached at

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