PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University Regents Professor Emeritus and political scientist Nicholas Lovrich is the 2023 recipient of the Emerita/Emeritus Society’s Legacy of Excellence award, presented to honor of his “outstanding contributions to academia, the university, and the community” continuing after his retirement.

Lovrich will deliver the Legacy of Excellence address on the topic of civil discourse at 4:00 p.m. Tues., March 28 in Todd Hall 216. The lecture and reception are open and free to the public.

The topic stems from the research underlying the book Outside Looking In: Lobbyists’ Views on Civil Discourse in U.S. State Legislatures published by WSU Press in 2021 and edited by Lovrich and his colleagues Francis Benjamin, John Pierce, and William Schreckhise.
Lovrich is the 16th recipient of the retired-faculty organization’s top annual honor, first presented in 2007.

“All of the Emerita/Emeritus Society award committee members felt strongly that Nick is most deserving of the award,” said Charley Gaskins, society co-chair. “He has a large number of notable accomplishments prior to and since his retirement, plus he is an active member in the society. We are honored to present it to him for 2023.”

“Receiving the Legacy of Excellence Award means a great deal to me and is extremely gratifying,” said Lovrich. “I’m humbled to be in the company of remarkable people who are prior recipients.”

In good company
As an example, Lovrich said his friend and academic role model James F. “Jim” Short Jr., late WSU sociologist and criminologist, received the award in 2013. Short was someone who favorably impacted the university and its faculty, who was passionate about WSU, and who inspired others, he said. Early in Lovrich’s career, Short introduced him to Thomas S. Foley, 49th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1989-1995), a Democrat from Spokane.

“For a poli sci guy like me to have the Speaker of the House be from your (university’s) district… well, that was a very big deal indeed.” It was an honor to meet Speaker Foley early on and to go on to establish a relationship that lasted for three decades.

“That’s just one example of why I believe there’s something very special about this place, WSU, and I believe deeply that it’s the people who come to embrace its land-grant mission that make it a special place. I came in 1977 thinking I’d stay two to three years and it’s ended up being nearly 50. I think it has to do with the culture that exists among young scholars starting out here. Once you are accepted by your senior colleagues and have your own grad students to mentor, you come to understand that your WSU academic family has become part of your own DNA. You come to see that the most powerful career impact you can achieve is to empower your grad students to be good teachers, scholars, and mentors.”


Outstanding Contributions
The only child of Yugoslavian immigrants, Lovrich was born and raised in San Pedro, Calif., the Port of Los Angeles. Communicating in Croatian at home, he learned English at school. A high-school student government leader and varsity athlete, he went to Stanford University on a baseball scholarship but finished college on an academic award, graduating cum laude in international relations. He earned his advanced degrees in political science from the U.C.L.A. Prior to joining WSU, he was on faculty at Metropolitan State University of Denver, the University of Denver, and DePauw University in Indiana.

As a WSU professor, Lovrich’s teaching covered: public administration theory and practice; evaluation research, and environmental policy and administration. He spent 25 years with a half-time appointment in WSU Extension with a focus on state and local government policy analysis; environmental policy; criminal justice system reform; and community-oriented policing implementation and outcome evaluation. Upon his retirement he served briefly as development director for WSU’s Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service.

Lovrich supervised 30 Ph.D. students and produced 18 books and monographs and more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles — including four that are accepted and in press. His research has been cited nearly 10,000 times on the Google Scholar and more than 2,000 times on the Web of Science platforms. His noteworthy awards for research and service include the 2022 Distinguished Scholarships Ambassador Award, the WSU President’s 2013 Faculty Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2010 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Mentor of the Year Award, the 2008 American Political Science Association’s Outstanding Mentoring Award (Public Policy), and the 2006 College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Award for Exceptional Service to the College Award.

His administrative experience includes service as: Interim Chancellor of WSU Spokane; associate chair and director of graduate studies for the Dept. of Political Science; co-director of the Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach; and chair of the WSU Committee on Cannabis Policy Research and Outreach.

Since retiring in 2011—a year after becoming a WSU Regents Professor—Lovrich has been a guest faculty member at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing; affiliate graduate faculty member at Oregon State University; and a senior scholar in residence at Boise State University. He is an affiliate researcher in the WSU Dept. of Criminal Justice and Criminology. He regularly attends academic conferences in political science and criminal justice with his wife and WSU retiree Katherine; they raised their daughter Nichole in Pullman.

Lovrich continues to research and write at his Johnson Hall office in Pullman and stays in touch with friends, colleagues, and former students around the world.

To share congratulations on his award, Lovrich can be reached at his campus email address.