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A Toast to Teaching: Drs. Hillgartner, Gutweiler, Cranwell Celebrate Combined 145 Years at Logan

Three College of Chiropractic faculty members recently celebrated a combined 145 years of teaching at Logan University: Roy Hillgartner, DC (’69), instructor; John Gutweiler, PhD, professor; and Richard Cranwell, DC (’76), MS, DACBN, professor.

After decades of dedication, each educator has made his mark on the university. Dr. Cranwell—who is celebrating 46 years of teaching this April—has developed numerous courses for Logan, including static palpation, motion palpation, extremity adjusting and case management. Applying what he learned during a one-year internship with Clarence Gonstead, DC in 1976, he also founded Logan’s introductory and advanced Gonstead method courses, which he continues to teach.

“Dr. Gonstead not only taught me how to treat patients, but also showed me the importance of being an empathetic physician,” Dr. Cranwell said. “At the end of my internship, I felt strongly that I wanted to share the knowledge and experience I was so fortunate to receive. That’s when I started teaching at Logan as well as treating patients at my practice, Cranwell Chiropractic Center, in Sunset Hills, Missouri.”

Dr. Hillgartner never planned to teach. After serving for two years in the United States Military as an X-ray technician during the Vietnam War, he intended to return to his home state of Pennsylvania to practice chiropractic. Then, Logan offered him a position teaching a diagnostic imaging course.

“One of my mentors was Fred Gehl, DC, a former clinic director at Logan, and he strongly encouraged me to take the job,” Dr. Hillgartner said. “Over the next several years, I ended up teaching more and more courses, including principles of chiropractic, practice management and diversified technique because I realized I had discovered my purpose in life. Next thing I knew, 52 years had gone by.”

Dr. Gutweiler, who has taught at Logan for 50 years, is well-known throughout the university community for imparting his passion for chemistry to everyone who enrolls in his courses.

“I am grateful for the opportunity Logan has given me to teach chemistry,” Dr. Gutweiler said. “I have always considered chemistry to be a great story to tell, and I enjoy telling it.”

Over the decades, all three veteran faculty members have helped mold hundreds of aspiring students into leaders in health care, including current Logan President Clay McDonald, DC (’82), MBA, JD.

“Watching the young men and women who arrive as trimester 1 students dressed in blue jeans and T-shirts morph into mature health care professionals bustling around campus in their white clinic jackets is one of the most fascinating experiences,” Dr. Gutweiler said.

For each man, the highlights of their teaching careers include former students reaching out to express gratitude for the lessons they learned in their classes.

“It is always a treat to have students come to me after passing Boards and thank me for the preparation they received,” Dr. Gutweiler said.

The three doctors frequently hear from Logan alumni they taught years ago as well as recent graduates who are beginning their chiropractic careers.

“One of my students who graduated in 2022 recently wrote me a one-page letter thanking me not only for the education she received, but also the confidence she gained in the power of chiropractic,” Dr. Cranwell said. “Knowing my former students are all over the world successfully treating patients every day, changing their lives and in many cases, giving them their lives back is what keeps me motivated.”

Dr. Hillgartner is also proud to have taught his son, Chad, DC (’02), who not only took over Hillgartner Chiropractic in Ballwin, Missouri, but is now an instructor in Logan’s Doctor of Chiropractic program.

“I’ve been fortunate to be able to serve as a mentor for my son—and so many other students—the way Dr. Gehl did for me,” Dr. Hillgartner said.

Logan hosted a reception in December 2022 to recognize the educators for their many years of service.

“It was gratifying that the university took the time to acknowledge our accomplishments and dedication,” Dr. Cranwell said. “I sincerely appreciate it.”

During the celebration, each of the three doctors received an award from Dr. McDonald, enjoyed an assortment of treats and spent time with Logan students, faculty and staff.

“The recognition was very kind, but we have never been in this for the accolades,” Dr. Hillgartner said. “All I ever wanted to do was practice chiropractic and teach others so they could, too. If someone told me I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d do it all over again if I could.”