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Last updated: Friday, 21-Feb-2003 19:45:53 CST

July 18, 2003


Two Longtime UW-River Falls Employees Retire

Two long-time UW-River Falls employees are retiring after a combined service of more than 68 years of service.

History and art Professor John Buschen retired at the end of May after 37 years. Bob Sievert, UW-RF director of student life operations, is retiring at the end of July as a staff member for 31 years.

Buschen was hired in 1966 to develop art history and humanities courses. During his tenure he emerged as the epitome of the Renaissance Man, with expertise and interests that touched on virtually all aspects of world culture and civilization, which he shared with his students and alumni.

He developed Arts and Ideas, an interdisciplinary course oriented toward UW-RF's brightest students, which he team taught with now emeriti-Professor Margaret Odegard. The courses combined history, literature, philosophy, drama, art and music and led to the development of other courses in Western Art, American Art, the art of India, China, Japan and Latin America.

He did much for the University, such as pioneering a foreign film festival in collaboration with the Falls Theatre that lasted 14 years. Fluent in French and German, he lead art and history tours throughout Europe and North Africa. Buschen also found time to initiate the the Medieval Magical Banquets with dinners based on medieval recipes from the Fifteenth Century.

Buschen's popularity as a teacher was recognized in numerous ways. In 1973 he was selected for the University's most prestigious award, and become one of the youngest faculty members to be named a Distinguished Teacher. He received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award in 1986 for art and in 1999 for history; the Outstanding Teacher in Humanities award in 1983; and the Outstanding Teacher in Social Sciences award in 1993. He also chaired both the art and the history departments.

Buschen recalls that when he was younger, he really liked science, but his interests turned to history and art after he traveled to Europe for the first time in 1958. "I rode my bike through Europe; that experience changed my life. Later, when I returned to study in France, the interest intensified," he said.

To help make his appreciation of art more accessible to his students, Buschen created between 4,000 to 5,000 Web pages addressing art history. He designed virtual museums showing the works of women, Hispanic-American, Asian-American and gay and lesbian artists. That compendium was recently featured in an art show in which Buschen was the only electronic exhibitor.

He received a bachelor's degree from De Paul University. He also was the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, studying for a year in Strasbourg. He received his master's and doctorate from the University of Indiana.

There will be a retirement party for Buschen in October. For more information, contact English Professor Marshall Toman at marshall.toman@uwrf.edu. Buschen also invites everyone, especially former students, to keep in touch. His email address will remain the same: john.j.buschen@uwrf.edu.

Sievert came to UW-RF in 1970 to finish his degree after a four-year tour of duty in the Air Force. He served in Vietnam on the flight crew of a C-130 that was responsible for photoreconnaissance over North Vietnam.

He finished his business administration degree in 1972. While he attended school at UW-RF, he worked as a resident assistant. After he received his degree, he began work on campus as the residence hall director for May Hall. In 1974, he became the director of student center facilities.

Over the years, his responsibilities have included facilities coordinating for the Hagestad Student Center, oversight of food services and intramurals and serving as interim associate dean of students. He now oversees the budgeting 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.

Sievert believes that the campus has seen much progress over the years. When he first came here, the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building, Centennial Science Hall and the Wyman Education Building did not exist. "I believe over the years we have been very progressive, cost-efficient, responsive to student needs, and managed growth well," he said.

Sievert is proud of his involvement in the planning for a new $28.4 million student center, the new suite-style South Fork Suites residence hall currently under construction, and the C.H.I.L.D. Center, a new daycare that will soon see groundbreaking. He said that students now are willing to make an investment in the future of the campus, are concerned about leaving the University a better place and are willing to pay for a quality education.

"When I first came here, students protested a nickel raise in the price of coffee," Sievert said. "Now they are very value-conscious."

In 1988, he received a master's in the Science of Education from UW-RF, specializing in supervision and instructional leadership. In 2002, he was awarded the Chancellor's Award for Excellence, which is given to a non-instructional academic staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the University.

Sievert met his wife, Debbie, at UW-RF in 1970, while she was earning her degree in education and he was finishing his degree. They have five children and reside in New Richmond. After he retires, he will volunteer at his church and look forward to travelling and golfing.

Sievert said he will miss the tremendous working environment at UW-RF.

"I will miss the students, the staff members and all of the different challenges and things that came our way every day."

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