The article is taken from the College of Agriculture Alumni Newsletter (Spring 2011) and was written by Courtney Rhodes:
Traditionally, when the average person retires he or she settles down to a slow, relaxing lifestyle. However, Paul Larsen and his wife Lorna are anything but the average retirees.
In 1950, Paul earned his undergraduate degree from USU and continued his education at Michigan State. He returned to USU as vice president for Extension and Continuing Education where he served for 10 years before retiring in 1992.
For the past 12 years, one of Paul’s many projects has been to rebuild the apple industry in Lebanon. In the early stages of his project, Paul brought thousands of apple tree rootstocks from Washington state to Lebanon and was met with some resistance from the local Lebanese growers.
Now the local apple growers in Lebanon see Paul as a godsend. “Helping people grow crops is important, and it shouldn’t be limited to whom or where they are.” His teachings, research and knowledge are translated into Arabic and then distributed to each grower. With Paul’s help, the apple industry has been revived, and new generations of growers is emerging.
Not only do the Larsens help to educated the Lebanese growers, but they also show them how to sustain this new industry. Paul shows the growers the importance of properly planting, pruning, irrigating, harvesting, and transporting the apples, while Lorna helps to keep records and notes on the business side of things. The work and education that the Larsens have provided has been a donation of kindness that has given Lebanon a thriving new industry.