What started as a simple fascination with technology as a child went on to become a career.
David Lennie has had a long run on the Hilltop, with his time in the Bradley community going back to 1988. He graduated with a communications degree in 1992 from the Slane College of Communication and Fine Arts before returning to Bradley as a professor 10 years later.
“I consider myself one of those lucky people who just know exactly what they wanted to do in college and in the future,” Lennie said. “Teaching students was not something I knew I wanted to do then, however.”
The first time Lennie was on a television program set was in 1979, when his father used to take him to the studio his dad worked on production nights. He was even nicknamed “Little Lennie” by the crew there and would watch how everyone was working intently and help out whenever possible.
Edward Lamoureux, one of Lennie’s former professors and current colleagues in the departments of interactive media and communication, said that Lennie got to the position he is at today through his hard work, dedication and technical expertise.
“He’s kind of a whiz-kid that way,” Lamoureux said. “Dave is a wonderful colleague and friend and our friendship has been forged through decades of disagreements and cooperative adjustments.”
During his final year working in the production department at WEEK-TV 25 in 2001, Lennie taught students at Bradley as a part-time professor before coming in full-time a year later.
“Teaching students is like building a LEGO structure, molding it and making sure it is strong, then a semester later starting over all again, and this time it’s a little different,” Lennie said. “There’s just something about having something to do with a person’s success.”
All of the classes that Lennie teaches are hands-on and require in-person learning and participation. However, the pandemic shifted things up quite a bit.
Lennie’s more theory-based classes, where students learned about the different equipment in a studio, were easier to shift to Zoom. Lennie used cameras from different angles to show the equipment live from the studio during lectures so students could see how it needed to be used.
Meanwhile, hands-on courses saw the biggest change. The Bradley University TV (BUTV) class and the field production class were some of the harder classes to transition to online, as students had to film interviews and short news segments from home.
However, for the spring semester, professors were given the option to make their classes available to in-person learners only. The BUTV class was changed to that format, which benefited the students’ experiences.
“If there’s one thing I learned from this experience, it would be how far we can go even during the middle of a global pandemic,” Lennie said. “To be honest, there is no other way I would have agreed to change my classes to these formats […] so I guess it’s like having another knife in the drawer, knowing that we can still keep classes going in these circumstances, too.”
Lennie is not only known as a diligent and reliable colleague, but is also known to be an approachable and understanding professor amongst his students.
Kelly Rogers, a senior television arts major, said that her favorite memory of Lennie might have been when she came to Bradley as a high school student to take a tour. When she reached the studio in the GCC, she ended up sitting in the director’s seat unknowingly, which is where Lennie usually sits.
“I tried to get up and move but he told me to stay there and just carried on talking about the studio,” Rogers said.
Lennie’s humility was a common virtue that most of his students brought up when talking about him. Robyn Batsell, a junior television arts major talked about how Lennie never looks down upon someone who wants to learn, even though his level of expertise is high.
“That being said, he always pushes us to be the best we can be,” Batsell said. “When he sees us start to slip, he is the first one to point out how we didn’t use our full potential.”
Here at Bradley, Lennie’s impact can be felt by others.
“Dave Lennie is a human the Hilltop benefits from having around us,” said Lamoureux.
I once read that Professor Lennie was working on building an actual Transporter, like on Star Trek. I wonder if he ever completed it.
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