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Lon Ballard

Lon Ballard

China-based CEO | Spira4u Co. | Class of 1974

Forty-four years after earning his master’s in mechanical engineering, Lon Ballard can’t name every professor he had at the UI.

But he’ll never forget one —  the late, great Dr. Gilbert Haight, a master of puns and pioneer in the field of chemical education.

“Professor Haight had chemistry lectures that were out of this world. He was taping them so that future students wouldn’t have to sit in the class in 1972,” Ballard says from Thailand, where the Spira4u Co. CEO has devoted his life to creating lighter, safer and highly efficient vehicles for everyday use.

“Instead of online classrooms we have today, it was reel-to-reel taped lectures that could be played on a TV screen.

“He had also written a programmed learning book about valences and electrons that made it easy to grasp very difficult concepts and theories. He put on real performances every lecture that kept you awake.”