University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

Jan. 30, 2004


Two Longtime UW-RF Faculty Members Retire

Two longtime UW-River Falls employees have retired after a combined service of more than 63 years.

Mathematics Professor Edward Mealy retired at the end of fall semester after 33 years. Speech communications and theatre arts Professor Ronald Snell retired after 30 years.

Mealy came to UW-RF in 1970 to teach mathematics and computer science. Before coming to UW-RF, he taught mathematics in secondary schools for five years.

While here, he did much for the University. He was the director of the Academic Computing Center for three years and served as a statistical consultant in several of his colleagues' dissertations. His own research interests included studying junior high students' attitudes toward mathematics.

Mealy said that he has seen many changes on campus, but one especially stands out in his mind.

"There is a declining commitment of the state to support higher education. That has caused many changes on campus, especially in quality."

Mealy earned his bachelor's degree at UW-Stevens Point and his master's at Central Michigan University. He received his doctorate in mathematics education and educational psychology from the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tenn.

He said that he has enjoyed his time at UW-RF immensely, but looks forward to having more time to travel and read.

"Hopefully, I have inspired some students in secondary mathematics and statistics. It has been a lot more fun teaching and has not seemed like working for a living. I will miss the people and students."

Mealy has two children, Bethany and Scott, who are both UW-RF graduates. He resides with his wife Julie near River Falls.

Before Snell came to UW-RF, he honed his teaching skills at the University of New Mexico and two high schools in Indiana.

He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana State University and his doctorate from Indiana University.

Snell was named Outstanding Teacher in the Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1989. He also participated in the Wisconsin in Scotland teaching program in 1993. He feels his best accomplishments were being a good teacher and eventually becoming department chair.

Like Mealy, Snell has seen many changes on campus since his arrival in the 1970s.

"More students are recognizing the importance of speech communication in their lives and in their careers. When I came here, it was thought of as only giving speeches; but today, people realize that communication is a basic survival skill," Snell said.

He has been very active outside of the University as well. He has hosted speech communication workshops for various high schools and judged forensic and debate tournaments. He has also been a reviewer for the "North Dakota Journal of Speech and Theatre."

Snell, a South Minneapolis resident, said he will miss the students and the friendly UW-RF faculty. He looks forward to spending more time with his children, Erica and Ryan, and grandchildren.

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