Lake Chapala Review, September 2006
"When Genius Pays Off"
by Tod Jonson

Very flattering, but way over the top, as is Tod's way in writing these monthly profiles of local Lakeside people.

[Robin Lawrason 2006]

Lots of men can walk away from Lakeside projects saying "a job well done!"  But, only a few can walk away leaving others to say "that was a stroke of genius!"....and there you have it in Robin Lawrason!

It takes no exaggeration on anyone's part to look over the past eight years and reflect on a magnificent resume of achievements, as you will see.

For a little fellow born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 16 days before Pearl Harbor, life took a turn for the better the day he was born.  He entered this cycle of life just before Thanksgiving in 1941 and hit the ground running the scholastic race.  After an idyllic upbringing in a small village on the Niagara River below historic Queenston Heights where the War of 1812 once raged, he headed for McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. earning an Honor BA in English and History.  The subject matter took well, and he traveled on to Toronto where he taught five years at York Mills Collegiate.

By age 26 he abandoned his homeland and crossed the border to work on a Master of Education at U. of Florida and then on to Arizona State University in Tempe mastering in Educational Technology.  In 1972 with a freshly minted Ph.D he took a teaching position as Assistant Professor of Education Media in the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.  His fame spread fast and easy and he became in heavy demand for his phenomenal abilities in teaching the intricacies of education media, communications and technology. During this period he met what turned out to be a life-long friend and companion in another very clever fellow, Lakeside's Jim Lloyd.

Famed Temple University in Philadelphia won him away by promoting him as Director of a new Media Learning Center.  Immigration through a fit about letting him leave Canada, but perseverance, temporary visas, and money got him back into the U. card and all.  The University hired Robin to set up a new media center replacing an aging language lab.  This College of Arts and Sciences, reflected in the glow of this young man barely 30-years-old as he added media facilities for the entire college; building a self-study lab with audio, slide, video and eventually computer resources for both faculty and students.   Temple executives knew they had hit pay dirt!

Robin Lawrason became an American citizen in 1984, but was unable to tell his fifth generation Canadian parents of his "desertion to the other side."

As if teaching wasn't enough, Robin became active in several Episcopal parishes in Philadelphia.  He served as Treasurer of St. Barnabas Parish for many years and served on the Diocese of New Jersey's AIDS Task Force.        

As President & Treasurer of DID (Division of Instructional Development) he earned the DID Distinguished Service Award in 1989.  After nearly ten years as Business Manager, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 from the International Association of Learning Labs.  His devotion to education has reached a standard of excellence on the University level.  Dr. Robin Lawrason was a prophet for education before its time.

Education is a tiring labor, and in 1998 early retirement appealed. Dr. Robin pulled up stakes from Academia and retired in México where he is using his skills and interests in other directions.

Retirement didn't last:  by 1999 he and partner Jim Lloyd had launched an ambitious new project:  The Ajijic International Film Festival originally designed to entertain local interested friends as a hobby.  Bugambillias Plaza promised their newly built theatres to be operating for a Premiere Night in November, and he took them up on it.  It worked!  Robin, developed a website, put out a call for films, and the first year 99 entries of animations, short subjects, documentaries and feature films were submitted.  By Festival IV, films poured in from some 34 countries, but promised Corporate sponsorship was not forthcoming and the Festival closed on a super high note.

With one of the world's most productive minds, he turned to the annual Northern Lights Music Festival as Secretary and Webmaster, adding success to the Festival.  The other 10 months of each year needed filling, so Robin assumed directorship of the Niños Incapacitados (one of Lakeside's most cherished organizations) with the passing of Gene Beck. During his three year tenor as President, the Program’s membership and budget has more than doubled both in income and expenses for new children.  He is a dependable cultural backbone within the active and popular VIVA La Musica!  He has been an administrative board member of the Lakeside Little Theatre, but never an actor which would take much too much time and interfere with his devotion to world traveling.

He may hold the doctorate of educator with the mostess, but as a cultural icon, he has his own unchallenged pedestal placed there by the Lakeside community.  Dr. Robin Lawrason you may take a bow!

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Robin's Home Page