Retired psychologist shares wisdom

Morgan Liggera

Dr. Larry Andre, professor of philosophy at Pierce College since 1998, is regarded by many students as one of the most likeable instructors on campus. After one of his courses, most students find philosophy to be a real part of their everyday lives.

“Pierce is the greatest place to teach,” said Andre, a professor known for his edgy humor. “Students are friendly to faculty, respectful to one another and interested in learning. They always bring something new and help me learn from them.”

It’s hard to find any student of Andre’s who didn’t enjoy the time spent in his class.

“He got students to think and got the whole class involved,” said Kristen Maglonzo, a 19-year-old double-major in philosophy and anthropology who took Andre’s Philosophy 2 course. “I had a lot of fun and there were great class discussions.”

Students are encouraged to form their own views on the class material and increase the relevance of philosophy in their lives.

“Professor Andre knows how to lead you to the right ideas without pressure,” said Gina Srmabekin, another Pierce student. “He brings humor into the class, which can be hard to do in philosophy. You really want to be there and learn with him.”

While Andre is only currently teaching one honors Philosophy 5 course at Pierce, he has taken on other responsibilities. He is the chair of the Work Environment Committee, which helps the college president organize faculty offices and parking. He has also implemented recent enforcement of the designated smoking areas on campus.

Andre is also the assistant director of the Program for Accelerated College Education (PACE), where he helps set up schedules and hire new faculty for the program along with interacting and aiding PACE students.

Andre teaches two off-campus philosophy courses for PACE, Philosophy 1 and 41, in downtown Los Angeles at the Beaudry Center.

A native to Portland, Ore., Andre received his master’s degree in philosophy while studying to be a priest at Mount Angels Seminary in Oregon.

Ultimately deciding against priesthood and now an atheist, he went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he received a doctorate in psychology. He went into private practice in California as a psychologist for 20 years before retiring in 1994.

In 1996, he began teaching philosophy at Mission College in Sylmar. Andre’s experience with psychology only improved his ability to teach philosophy.

“Psychology really is just a philosophy,” Andre explained. “Freud had his philosophy and others had theirs. [Psychology] helped him understand how philosophy is actually applied in everyday life.

Andre left Mission in 1998 to begin as a full-time instructor at Pierce. In his years here he has seen changes in administration, but he is truly excited about many new faculty who have been hired, describing them as “dynamic and exciting.”

“They’re bringing new things to campus, which is really significant for students,” said Andre.