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The Gloria Lawless Student Life Center

Many students may only see a name when they walk past the Gloria Lawless Student Life Center to grab a drink at Starbucks, but the person behind the plaque has shaped their community more than they know.

“The Gloria Lawless Student Life Center is in honor of Gloria (Glo) Lawless, who served Drake University students, faculty, and staff for three decades. Gloria’s commitment to teamwork, communication, and service molded and shaped the Drake community for generations,” the plaque reads. “Glo’s sincere care for students and colleagues impacted the lives of untold members of the Drake community. Glo’s work embodied the Drake mission of providing an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship. The Gloria Lawless Student Life Center will serve as a testament and reminder to always put students first.”

Lawless’ career at Drake spanned the course of an impressive 30 years, according to her obituary. Her work is so impactful that many students who worked with her refer to her as their “college mom.” On top of her Drake career, Lawless also had a career in catering for the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport/Conference Center for over 40 years.

Dr. Jerry Parker, who is Chief Student Affairs Officer here at Drake, worked closely with Lawless.

“Glo epitomized what it meant to be an educator and a loyal colleague,” he said. “She meant everything to us and our students — always taking the time to work through a situation or be sure that before she sent a student off from the Student Life Center to another department she would call ahead so the student wasn’t sent all around campus.” 

Sadly, Lawless passed away on September 6, 2021. 

“Everyone at Drake saw her energy and excitement in doing what she loved for this community and for that I know I join so many other colleagues in being thankful to have had her in our lives,” Parker said.


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