DMACC loses inspirational professor

Craig Dilley

Biology and Chemistry Professor Craig Dilley

The students, faculty and staff of the DMACC Ankeny campus were in shock Monday as word came in that Biology and Chemistry Professor Craig Dilley died in a single-vehicle accident over the weekend.

According to police, the accident happened around 8:40 a.m. on US Highway 330 in Jasper County on Sunday February 2.

Dilley’s car was headed southbound when it left the road and went in the ditch.

“Craig Dilley was a great addition to our faculty,” said Dean of Arts and Sciences Jim Stick. “He’s done a lot of different things: He introduced our courses on botany, played a significant role in all of our environmental science courses, and was a member of the science department. He was a very versatile and well-rounded teacher. But in all of this he excelled in his own modest ways.”

A remembrance meeting was held Monday, February 3, 2014 at 3:35 p.m. on the Ankeny campus for faculty and students to meet and discuss their reflections on Dilley.

“There are many days in class where he was just so kind and funny and he truly cared about his students, but my favorite memory was probably the day I went to his office to discuss my test, as I was a disabilities student there, and we ended up talking about science and our different opinions about it for well over an hour,” former Student Christiana Smith, 21, of Norwoodville said.

Dilley encouraged students and was willing to go out of his way to help them achieve success. Former Environmental Science Club President Jordan Arp, 26, remembers how Dilley helped her through his class and led her to a new career path.

Arp was originally an art major but did not know what she really wanted to do.

“I feel there are very few people that come into your life that truly inspire you. I’m feeling very devastated that I lost one of those people without a chance to tell him. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I re-enrolled at DMACC last fall, but ended up going to an environmental science meeting. I met Craig Dilley and he inspired me,” Arp said.

Arp said he was harder than most of her other professors but she felt like she understood the concepts better. She also said he was willing to come in on his time off to help.

“I think this will always remind me to truly thank everyone that has made a positive impact on my life. I think my biggest regret is never telling him what an impact he had, and will continue to have on my life,” Arp said.

According to Arp, the Environmental Science Club was working on a restoration project at Carney Marsh the morning of the crash.

DMACC Biology Instructor Dr. Coralie Lashbrook worked with Dilley even before DMACC.

“I remember Craig mostly from my days at Iowa State. I would walk by his classrooms while he was teaching his students and it was really clear how dedicated he was to his horticulture students and how much everyone really enjoyed being in his classroom,” Lashbrook said. “His colleagues adored him.”

The news caught everyone off-guard.

“I think right now everybody in the biology and the chemistry departments are in shock, so its almost impossible to speculate what we will do without him, and he will be missed for a very long time, and his students who had him as their teacher this term, will have a lot of adjusting to do,” Lashbrook said.

The shock is being felt up into the administration.

“We’re all sort of in shock of it all, but we’ll just have to sort of get through this as best we can. He will be greatly missed by the DMACC faculty and students,” Stick said.

For many it will be hard to think of coming to DMACC without Dilley.

“The world lost a great man. He had many qualities, but for me, his best quality was that he was so caring,” Smith said. “He put differences aside and always just wanted the best for his students. He wanted us to learn, and to love science. He also loved talking about his family, which to me, displays a great dad and husband.”

Dilley was 48 and is survived two children and their mother.



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