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“I’m glad to be retired, but when you’ve worked all your life, it’s hard to stop,” says Ron Lovell. After 24 years of teaching journalism at Oregon State University, Lovell has ditched his former “just the facts” voice to switch into a fiction-writing gear as he pens a series of mystery novels featuring Thomas Martindale, professor and amateur sleuth.
Lovell is keen on maintaining a connection to writing, no matter what road life takes. In 2005, Lovell set up the Ronald P. Lovell Presidential Scholarship, a bequest that will impact the future by supporting high-achieving students who have demonstrated an interest in writing. “I gave a lot of my life to this campus and I like knowing that in some small way I am still helping students and staying connected to OSU.”
The long-time resident of Gleneden Beach, Oregon frequently travels to Corvallis because he enjoys mentoring two current Presidential Scholars, senior Jennifer Moser, a microbiology major focusing on science writing and junior Stephen Summers, an English and philosophy major.
Several times each year the trio convenes for dinner to chat about writing interests. During a recent meeting, Lovell greets the students warmly and presents them each with a copy of his latest novel, Murder Below Zero, joking modestly—“here’s a cure for your insomnia”—while inscribing their copies.
Soon after, Moser updates Lovell with her graduate school application status and Summers shares a Milton paper he wrote for English class. Through these informal get-togethers and through e-mail, Lovell serves as mentor to the students’ writing dreams. Lovell’s next book, Searching for Murder, will be published in August 2006.