Trine University community mourns Laker’s death
The Trine University campus community is mourning the death of Craig Laker, former dean of the Jannen School of Arts and Sciences and of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, on Dec. 6 following a lengthy battle with brain cancer.
Laker was awarded professor emeritus rank by the Trine University Board of Trustees at the board’s Oct. 5 meeting. A certificate recognizing the honor noted that “as a result of Mr. Laker’s influence, countless young men and women have gained valuable professional experience and gone on to meaningful careers in law enforcement.”
“Craig Laker is considered by many to be the father of criminal justice at Trine University. His DNA is woven throughout the entire program and the Department of Criminal Justice, Psychology and Social Services,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., university president. “The Trine University family mourns with Craig’s family, his colleagues and the many students and alumni whose lives he has touched.”
“Though his first love was always criminal justice, Craig brought excellence to every role he filled at Trine University, whether faculty member, department chair or dean,” said John Shannon, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs. “His leadership and his desire to guide students toward excellence in their personal and professional lives will be sorely missed.”
Campus counselors are available for any members of the campus community as needed.
Laker joined the university in 1999. His tenure included serving as associate professor, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Psychology and Social Services, dean of the Jannen School of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Over his teaching career at Trine, which included unprecedented growth in Trine’s criminal justice programs, he was awarded the Gerald H. Moore Overall Excellence in Teaching award, the Barrenbrugge Award for Faculty Excellence, and the Merle May McKetta Thomas Excellence in Teaching Award in Arts and Sciences. He served as faculty advisor for Trine University’s chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association.
Off-campus, he was part of the Community Anti-Violence Alliance, the Steuben County Humane Society, and the Four County Vocational Cooperative Criminal Justice Advisory Board.
Laker earned a Bachelor of Science in public affairs, a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Arts in criminal justice from Indiana University, and completed Ph.D. coursework in criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati. He worked in probation, corrections and law enforcement, as well as in instructional roles at Indiana University and the University of Cincinnati, before coming to Trine.
He is survived by his wife Hope and daughters Alexandria, Elizabeth and Emma. Funeral arrangements will be shared as soon as they are released by the family.