University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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May 7, 2004


UW-RF Recognizes 12 Retirees

Interim Chancellor Ginny Coombs recognized retiring UW-River Falls faculty and staff at the All-campus Service and Retirement Reception on Monday, May 3.

"We celebrate our retirees as they look forward to new opportunities, varied and exciting experiences, and time," said Coombs in recognizing their more than 325 years of combined service. "However, we will miss seeing these people on a regular basis and will miss their contributions, but we trust that you will continue to remain connected to the campus and will return often to see colleagues, friends and students."

Gerda Benedict

Benedict was hired by the University in 1977, but her connections go back to attending kindergarten at the University Lab School in 1952. She was formerly assistant director of Housing and Food Services, and for the past 17 years she has served as the director of University Food Service Operations/Campus Card Office. She was instrumental in converting the University to an electronic I.D. system. Most recently she served as the contract manager for the University Follett Bookstore, the Westconsin Credit Union on campus, and Food and Beverage Vending. In 1989 she received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence for Academic Staff. She has shared her expertise on such diverse topics as Women in Leadership and Card Access Systems at national conferences as well as to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.

C. Bernhardt Brohaugh

Brohaugh has deep roots at UW-RF; he earned his bachelor's degree on the campus in 1961. He joined the English department as a faculty member in 1976. For nine years Brouhaugh coordinated the Freshman English program. Over the last 20 years, he has influenced virtually all English majors through the required Shakespeare course plus the courses in Shakespeare and film, British literature and modern drama. His talents as an actor and vocal interpreter of literature brought Shakespeare to life to enthralled students. He continues to appear on the UW-RF stage, in such recent productions as "Romeo and Juliet" and "The 1940s Radio Hour."

Art Delforge

Delforge joined UW-RF in 1971 as the director of the Accounts Receivable and Cashier Offices. He has been involved in extensive overhauls of the University's data systems and credits his highly professional staff in making a difference in his office's operations. He represented the University for 12 years on the Minnesota Collection Network Steering Committee. Delforge also was a founding member of the WisconsinÕs Bursar Association and served as its president. In the community, he managed junior bowling for 20 years, building the program into one of the best in the region. This was dovetailed into his advising the UW-RF Club bowling team. He also worked with Special Olympics, and with his wife, Joyce, handled the gate ticket activities for both the Falcon Rodeo and for UW-RF football games. Delforge has been recognized for his service with awards from the Special Olympics, the UW-RF Athletic Department and the Minnesota Collection Network.

Judy Emmett

Emmett arrived on campus in 1991 to assume coordination of field experiences for the College of Education and Professional Studies. She coordinated and supervised the school counseling practicum and internship students at the end of their academic preparation.

Jacque Foust

Foust came to UW-RF in 1985 to teach in the business administration department in the College of Arts and Sciences and retires as marketing professor in the College of Business and Economics. Foust was instrumental in helping to grow the business administration major from a department into its own college. During those years he was the department chair and the associate director of the School of Business and helped establish the Master's of Management Program. He also served as vice-chair of Faculty Senate. Foust has also been involved in the Pierce County Economic Development Corp., the Small Business Development Center, the Pierce County Revolving Load Fund Board and the River Falls Area Hospital Board of Trustees.

Ed Mealy

As a professor in the mathematics department specializing in mathematics education and statistics, Mealy taught undergraduate and graduate courses since 1970, although his first experience on campus was teaching during the 1966-67 academic year. He also served three years as the director of the Academic Computer Center. He also shared expertise off-campus through continuing education classes in computer science for teachers across northwestern Wisconsin. He coordinated department presentations and was a frequent lecturer on mathematics to visiting high school students for Science Day activities and was a statistical consultant for the faculty and community. He and his wife, Julie, live in River Falls, and their two children are UW-RF alumni.

Jean Morrow

Morrow has been a member of UW-RF's family since 1980. Since 1989 she has been a program assistant in the Internship Office of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Jean says her career highlight has been working with students and helping them find meaningful internships and acting as a liaison between students and faculty to help ensure students are working with the correct faculty member.

Russ Peterson

Peterson has worked for housekeeping services in residence life since 1976 and retires from his position as Lead Worker. He has had thousands of conversations and interactions with students over the years, and says he has enjoyed those years of working with a very professional and fun staff. People have noted that Peterson would always go the extra mile to help staff and students.

Lanny Neel

Neel starts a new career as the director of the World Botanical Gardens in Hawaii after retiring as a professor of plant and earth science at UW-River Falls. Since coming to UW-RF in 1982, Neel was instrumental in developing the plant tissue culture course and getting its laboratory funded and functioning. He also helped develop the biotechnology major, and was recognized for his efforts by the UW System for being part of the outstanding program. While at UW-RF, he took a year sabbatical to Kenya, East Africa, publishing two papers about the experience in the journal "Horticulture." Neel was a founding member of the Pi Alpha Xi national honorary horticulture society on campus and a founding member of the UW-RF Chapter of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Neel served as PKP chapter president for several years.

Mary Sempf

Mary Sempf started working at UW-RF in 1970. She has worked in the Chancellor's Office, Admissions Office, Chemistry Department, Elementary Education, and most recently the Department of Teacher Education. She served on the Employee Development Committee and was recognized in 1982 with the Secretary of the Year award. Sempf and her husband, David, are enjoying retirement in a new condo near Menomonie, and look forward to traveling and spending time with their two grandchildren.

Bob Sievert

Sievert, the UW-River Falls director of student life operations, is retiring after 31 years of service. In 1970 he came to UW-RF to finish his degree after a four-year tour of duty in the Air Force, where he served on a flight crew in North Vietnam. He met his wife, Debbie, at UW-RF in 1970. After graduation, Sievert was hired as the May Hall director and then took the position of director of student center facilities. In that capacity, he oversaw the budget and operations of food services, the nine residence halls, the Robert P. Knowles Physical Education and Recreation Center, Hunt Arena and the Hagestad Student Center. He also served as Interim Dean of Students. In 1988, he earned a master's degree in school supervision from UW-RF. Most recently he was been in involved in the planning of the suite-style residence hall, a new childcare center, and a new student center. Sievert received the 2002 ChancellorÕs Award or Excellence. The Sieverts have five children and reside in New Richmond.

Ron Snell Snell joined UW-RF in 1970. He served as chair of the Speech Communication and Theater Arts Department and 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. Over the years he was actively involved in faculty governance and University committees as well as accreditation reviews from NCATE and DPI. He has also 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.

Previous retirements during the 2003-04 academic year included: Virginia Brenna, Registrar's Office, with 25 years; John Buschen, with 38 years as a professor of art and history, and Virgil Nylander, who spent 36 years with the University and retired as Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance in January, but will return June 1 to serve as Interim Chancellor.

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