UW-River Falls

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May 30, 2003:

Eleven Retire from UW-River Falls

Eleven faculty and staff members with 252 years of service to UW-River Falls have retired from the University over the past academic year.

Those retiring, their departments and their years of service are:

Here are some reflections on their careers, including career highlights and contributions.

Beckham joined the English department in 1969. He was chair of the English department from 1991 to 2000, a Faculty Senate member from 1978 to 1984, and Faculty Senate chair from 1980 to 1983, and has served on many governance committees. He has traveled widely in Europe and Asia, and spent one year as an exchange professor in England. In 1990 he was named Outstanding Teacher in the Humanities for the College of Arts and Sciences. Beckham earned a bachelor's degree in 1959 and a master's degree in English in 1961 from the University of Mississippi, and a Ph.D. from Kent State University in 1969.

Gerster was a faculty member in English from 1988 to 2001, and recently resigned to be with her family in California. In her years at UW-River Falls, she secured grants to support film and ethnic literature courses. She brought a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities seminar to campus, where teachers from across the nation studied ethnic film. In 1999 she was named Outstanding Teacher in the Humanities for the College of Arts and Sciences. Gerster is living in Santa Cruz, Calif., and teaching full time at the University of California there.

Although Halberg was only at UW-RF for two years, from 2001 to 2003, he has left a lasting impression on the staff and students. He was known around the television services office as "the volunteer," because he was always willing to work extra hours to make a program successful. He took responsibility for coming back after working hours to record University concerts and other events for cable Channel 19.

Larson received bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education from UW-RF, then after teaching in a public school for seven years he returned to the University in 1979 to work as a custodian. His interest in students has been a constant, and he and his wife, Kathy, have provided no-cost housing for many UW-RF students over the years. On his trips to South Africa, Wales, Norway and Sweden he has visited former UW-RF students, whom he refers to as his "world family."

Meyers joined the faculty in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences in 1980. He taught mostly specialized courses relating to soil science.

Norman came to UW-RF in 1973. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from UW-RF, and a master's degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He was chair of the journalism department for 18 years, and helped establish the marketing communications major and film studies minor at UW-RF. He participated in the Faculty Senate, and maintained successful journalism department accreditation over the years. Norman is the author of a series of well-known books on ghost hauntings. He has begun work on "Haunted Homestead," his sixth and final book in the series, which will probably be available fall 2004.

Peters began teaching philosophy at UW-RF in 1986, after earning his Ph.D. in philosophy at Michigan State University. His vision and effort have been key in developing the philosophy program at the University. He has continued to develop courses, such as business ethics, media ethics and environmental ethics to meet the needs of a wide range of students and programs. Beyond the classroom, Peters has enriched the campus and community with his music. The sounds of his piano and combo have graced many receptions and events.

Sazama began working at UW-RF in 1983, handling student registration and later assisting at the computer center in North Hall. In 1989 she moved to the human resources office, where she has been managing student payrolls.

Schock came to work at the University in 1969 as a power plant helper and worked up to the position of operator senior. He brought considerable expertise to his job, having learned to operate boilers on the aircraft carrier USS Midway while in the U.S. Navy. He is known as an excellent troubleshooter with a great memory for the details of boiler controls and operation.

Shepherd began working at UW-RF in 1975 in academic computing, and has been an integral part of that department through its evolution into information technology services. She not only was instrumental in computer services development on campus, but she also traveled to Western Wisconsin high schools, showing teachers and students how to use the computer terminals that the University set up and supported.

Wilson earned a bachelor's degree in math and physics in 1964 and a master's degree in physics in 1970 from Western Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in physics in 1975 from the University of Wyoming. In 1976 he was recruited to teach an electronics class at UW-RF, and he has been here ever since. Except for one course while he was on sabbatical, he has taught every offering in electronics, and for the past few years he has also taught the engineering sequence.

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