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Part-time business instructor comes full circle in 51 years

by UofL Today last modified Apr 13, 2010 03:28 PM

In early 1959, Alford Gustafson Jr., a Louisville insurance agent, received a call from John Craf, dean of the then-University of Louisville School of Business: One of his instructors had fallen and wouldn't be able to teach his course. Could Gustafson fill in?

Part-time business instructor comes full circle in 51 years

John Craf, founding dean of the School of Business, asked Al Gustafson to sub for a faculty member in 1959. The College of Business inducted Gustafson into its Craf Society this year.

He did, and he has been a part-time instructor ever since. Each semester for 51 years, Gustafson has taught the upper-level course "Risk Management and Insurance."

"I enjoy it. I still enjoy it," he said of teaching.

"Risk management and insurance" are subjects Gustafson knows well. He still is an independent insurance agent and owned his own agency from 1950 to 1985.

A career in the field has allowed him to fill his classes with real-life examples and to bring in such speakers as state insurance commissioners and area businessmen.

Gustafson came full circle with Craf in March when the College of Business inducted him into its Craf Society. The society recognizes instructors whose  students credit them with having a lasting, unforgettable influence. There are only eight members, and Gustafson is the only part-time faculty member in the group.

It "was quite an honor and quite a surprise," Gustafson said. Alumni, current students and faculty colleagues attended the ceremony.

While the honor came for his work with students, his influence also extends to other faculty members.

"He's very much a role model for those at the adjunct level," said Fred Siegel, chair of the finance department, noting that Gustafson "is the type of person you're glad to have in your program."

Gustafson, Siegel said, always looks to the future - whether it be furthering his own education or developing new ideas to use in his classroom.

"He goes about his job with zest," Siegel said. "He comes in at 8 a.m. on his teaching days, and when he's finished he's off to work."

Teaching days are full, but Gustafson said he's not quite ready to leave UofL. He's already received a contract for the next academic year so he'll continue to be a fixture at the College of Business.

In the fall he'll meet a new group of 25 to 50 students, most of whom are upperclassmen, preparing for their own entry into the world.

"I get a lot of satisfaction being in the classroom," Gustafson said. "Each year, I meet a lot of nice people. And it's always nice to see them years down the road as professionals. It's always something to look forward to."

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