Over his 34-year career at the University of Louisville, Phil Laemmle served the University in myriad roles that have impacted the lives of thousands of students.
Dr. Laemmle received his B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas-Austin and his Ph.D. from Indiana University. Since coming to the University of Louisville in Fall 1972, he taught political science courses to approximately 9,000 students and supervised internships and directed graduate theses and independent studies for more than 350 students. He also served as faculty advisor to Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honor Society, for 30 years.
Dr. Laemmle served as Chair of the political science department from 1979 to 1985 and as Chair of liberal studies in 1986-1987. He was a member of Faculty Senate for more than 15 years and served on numerous College and University committees. In addition, Dr. Laemmle worked for three university presidents as University Ritualist. In that capacity, he presided over more than 30 commencement ceremonies, two presidential inaugurations and countless campus ceremonies.
During his career, Dr. Laemmle won numerous awards including the Philip Grant Davidson Award for Outstanding Faculty Member of the College of Arts and Sciences (1980, 1984, 1987), the University Distinguished Teaching Award (1980, 1988), the Naamani Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Political Science Department (1982, 1995), the University Outstanding Performance Award (1984), the University of Louisville’s first Trustees Award (1989), and the C.A.S.E. Professor of the Year Award (1990). He was named Professor Emeritus in 2005.
“Dr. Phil,” as many students called him, officially welcomed more than 34,000 freshmen to UofL with his infamous “biscuit speech” in which he challenged students not to leave college as the same “chunk of dough” they were when they started. He engaged countless students with his dynamic teaching style and continually challenged them to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. As University Ritualist he led many of those same students down the aisle at Commencement challenging them to be of service to their communities and the world. Informally, Dr. Laemmle kept students engaged and involved with his irreverent humor, technological savvy, passion for UofL athletics and his genuine concern about the welfare of all students. His office was always open to those seeking advice, a little encouragement or prodding, or just a good laugh. Dr. Laemmle’s commitment to the overall student experience was, for many, the force that shaped and defined their college careers.