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Retirees Honored at Reception

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MAY 6, 2005--Thirteen faculty and staff from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls were honored at the All Campus Service and Retirement Reception on May 2.

"UW-RF takes pride in a campus culture of close, supportive professional relationships and high quality work leading to an excellent education for our students," said Interim Chancellor Virgil Nylander. Retirees included:

Sally Berkholder
Sally Berkholder began working as a career counselor at UW-RF in 1998. Berkholder received both her bachelor's degree and master's degree from UW-RF in education with an emphasis in counseling. In her first year of employment at UW-RF, Berkholder received a Service-Learning Award for her efforts to inform students about service-learning and provide information to nonprofit agencies. She is an active leader in Discovery Night, a program that provides career development support for students who are unsure about their role at UW-RF. She also has conducted professional development seminars for student teachers. In 2003-04, she was part of a team that received an institutional enhancement grant through the UW-RF Faculty and Academic Staff Development Program for Academic Staff Council activities. Although Berkholder is officially retired, she is still working as a counselor in Career Services. "I'll be here as long as I'm having fun. This is a great work environment and I work with such a wonderful staff," said Berkholder, who lives in New Richmond. "This job has been so rewarding."

Keith Borgstrom
Keith Borgstrom came to UW-RF 1999 as a senior media technician/chief engineer for TV services. He attended Northwest Electronics Institute in Minneapolis, was a Russian translator in the Air Force during the Cold War, and worked for 10 years at the Nevada Test Site where he was the supervisor of a closed-circuit TV crew that filmed the testing of atomic devices. He was head of video surveillance and flew around the site in a helicopter filming the underground tests. Serving on his high school reunion organizing committee, Borgstrum is gearing up for his 50th reunion in Pine Island, Minn., this summer. He plans to do plenty of lake fishing at his cabin up by Duluth, which has been in his family for 40 years. He also plans to ride two of his five motorcycles and fix the other three. He and his wife, Karen, who works with special needs children, have three adult sons and nine adult step-children and live near Ellsworth.

Janna Cowen
Professor Janna Cowen began teaching at UW-RF in 1979. Cowen holds a B.A. from Kearney State College and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in economics. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of government regulation of business, labor economics, and determinants of self-employment for women. In 1987 she was the Distinguished Teacher at UW-RF and in 1988 received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher in the Social Sciences award. In 2003, Cowen was selected from among 12,000 faculty in the UW System to receive the Regents Teaching Excellence Award. Cowen and fellow UW-RF Professor Jackie Brux co-authored an economics textbook titled, "Economic Issues and Policy" and have been revising the book for its second edition. "I like students, and I like the one-to-one contact with students. It's very rewarding when you see them five or 10 years later and they are doing well," said Cowen, who lives in rural River Falls.

Eunice Filkins
Eunice Filkins began her career at UW-RF in 1988 as a limited-term employee in the agricultural education department. She subsequently worked in the departments of plant and earth science, health and human performance and animal and food science. When she moved into permanent status, she began working in the career services office. She then became the program assistant for the department of economics when it was housed in Kleinpell Fine Arts Building. For the last four years she has continued in that position in South Hall for the College of Business and Economics. In reflecting on changes at UW-RF, Eunice identified the growth and development of technology and noted that "conquering technology" was one of her accomplishments. Filkins, who lives in River Falls, views her retirement as an "extended vacation" and is looking forward to more time for volunteer work, quilting and spending time with her grandchild.

Thomas Hawk
Tom Hawk began working at the University in l976 when he was hired as an experimental herd assistant with the laboratory farms after working on a farm near Sisseton, S.D. Before coming to River Falls, Hawk served in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the supply ship, Niagara Falls, stationed off the coast of Vietnam. Hawk received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars. and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal. Hawk has worked with all aspects of herd management on the University's farms. He also helps demonstrate herd management to students. Hawks says one of his best memories of UW-RF will be "working with young people on the farms." Hawk plans an active "retirement." He and a friend will shear sheep–a business that will keep them traveling year from Wisconsin and Minnesota to Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Thomas Jensen
Thomas Jensen, associate professor of communicative disorders, came to UW-RF in 1999. He received a B.S. from Mankato State University, a M.S. from UW-Madison and a Ph. D from the University of Cincinnati in speech language pathology. Jensen's professional interests are in acquired disorders of language and cognition and medical speech language pathology. Most of his professional experience has been in the medical center and medical education environments. He teaches courses in speech systems, cleft palate, dysphagia, acquired disorders of language and cognition as well as case discussions in diagnosis and treatment. He has also presented seminars through the office of outreach and graduate studies including Senior Outreach Studies. "I think my most significant accomplishment at UW-RF has been preparing graduate students for the real world," said Jenson. "I'm going to miss them terribly." Jenson looks forward to the spontaneity of retirement. "I don't have any specific plans for retirement, and that's the beauty of it," said Jenson.

Patricia L. Karnowski
Lee Karnowski joined the UW-RF teacher education faculty in 1985 after completing her Ph.D. in Curriculum at Miami University of Ohio. She earned a B.S. degree from California State University-Northridge and an M.S. from the University of Colorado, both in elementary education. Her university teaching has been enriched by her considerable experience teaching pre-school through 6th grade in Ohio, Colorado, California and in Belgium, England and France. Lee’s research interests and published articles interests cover a wide range of education issues, including writing and reading pedagogy for elementary students, models of learning, teaching gifted students, and developing literacy through multicultural literature. She examined integrated learning models in British teacher training during a 1994 sabbatical. Karnowski's success as a teacher was affirmed by her students when she was named UW-River Fall’s Distinguished Teacher in 1985. She lives in Woodbury, Minn.

Lidia Mullenax
Lidia Mullenax came to the University in 1988. She was an office manager in the Financial Aid Office and served as a resource support technician/systems coordinator upon her retirement. "She is a nationally recognized expert for PowerFaids, a financial aid information software," said Dave Woodward, director of financial aid. She served on the College Board's national advisory board as a technical consultant and had presented information at College Board national conferences. Mullenax also supervised the Veterans Services Office and worked with students of color as an advisor, mentor and friend. She was a recipient of the UW-System Woman of Color Award in the early 1990s and was recommended for an Exceptional Performance Award. An active artist, Mullenax took many classes from art faculty at UW-RF. She now lives in her native Columbia, South America.

Jerry Niedermyer
Rain, sleet or snow, Jerry Niedermyer delivered the mail on campus for more than three decades. Before coming to River Falls, Niedermyer took business classes at Chippewa Valley Vocational Technical Institute after graduating from high school in Spring Valley. Niedermyer came to campus in 1969, took a year of classes at UW-RF, and worked as a custodian in Hathorn Hall for about three years. He then transferred to the postal services department from which he retired. He received an Upper Deck Team Award from the Student Center in 1993, and in 1995, Niedermyer and Karen Gilbertson were the first recipients of the newly created Chancellor's Award for Excellence for Classified Staff. In 2004, the UW System Board of Regents and the state of Wisconsin recognized him for 35 years of service. Niedermyer said that over the years one of the most noticeable changes was the drop in inter-campus mail when e-mail was instituted as well as the computerization of mailings. He and his wife Margaret plan to travel, boat, hunt and fish during retirement as well as do some home remodeling. "We have flown to Washington to see my son Scott, but we plan on taking our first road trip there this summer," says Niedermyer, who has three grown sons and lives in River Falls.

John Nierengarten
John Nierengarten has been a mainstay of academic computing services at UW-RF for more than 20 years. Nierengarten received a B.A. degree in mathematics from the University of Minnesota and his M.S. in computer science from the University of Missouri-Rolla. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, he was employed at UW-La Crosse managing academic computing services. At UW-L he was involved in the development of a regional computing instructional network, which was eventually supplanted by personal computers. Nierengarten became involved in this new phase of computer technology in 1978. In 1983 he was hired as UW-RFs’ director of academic computing services. As director, Nierengarten helped acquire and implement various computer systems, networks and computer labs. He also served the wider region as a representative on the WiscNet Board, which eventually obtained an National Science Foundation grant to connect to the Internet all UW four-year campuses, technical colleges and the state's independent colleges and universities. In 1997 when all campus IT services were merged, he became associate director of information technology services. Among Nierengarten's significant accomplishments were assisting with that merger, getting UW-RF connected to the Internet, and developing campus computer labs, the ITS-Davee Library complex and technology enhanced classrooms. Nierengarten lives in River Falls.

Roger Swanson
Roger Swanson's UW-RF association began when he came here from Luck, Wis. as an undergraduate. He completed his B.S. at UW-RF, majoring in agriculture and chemistry, and then received his M.S. from South Dakota State University. His Ph.D. is from the University of Arizona in agricultural chemistry and soils. After joining the UW-RF faculty in 1968, Swanson taught undergraduate and graduate soil science courses, ranging from soil fertility, soil chemistry and soil physics to water conservation, water pollution control and hydrology. He has taught summer National Science Foundation graduate institutes and environmental education seminars at UW facilities in Pigeon Lake and Clam Lake. In an administrative capacity, Swanson directed the Extended Degree program in broad area agriculture. He was an assistant and associate dean of College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Studies and also served as acting dean of that college. He also was the Dean of Graduate Studies, Continuing Education and Summer Session. He has traveled to Poland, Mexico and Taiwan to work in international student exchanges and cooperative programming. "Serving in so many different responsibilities over so many years has brought me in contact with many talented students, top quality faculty and responsible administrators," said Swanson, who lives in Somerset. "They have all had a positive influence on me, and I hope in some small way I have influenced them. UW-RF will always be part of my life and I hope to be able to continue an association as faculty emeritus."

Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson retired in 2004 after 30 years with the University. He most recently worked in custodial services and had seen the inner-workings of every building on campus. Thompson, who lives in Baldwin, says he most enjoyed working with University staff. A veteran, Thompson received several awards for his armed forces service including the Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Vietnam Service and Campaign medals.

Lyndon Weberg
Lyndon Weberg came to UW-RF in 1968 as an assistant professor of mathemtics/computer systems, teaching elementary to middle-level mathematics at UW-RF. Prior to coming to the University, he worked at Control Data Corporation, Sperry-Univac, and the University of Minnesota Medical School. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from UW-RF, a M.S. in biostatistics from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and Century University in Albuquerque, NM. In 1993, his research helped create early three-dimensional computer models of the prostate to help cancer researchers at the Mayo Clinic. He is formerly a visiting scholar in the department of statistics at the University of Arizona-Tuscon, instructor at Arizona State University, and an associate professor/assistant to the dean at Tuscon University. Over the years he also served as a reviewer for mathematics, statistics and computer science manuscripts and textbooks for West, Harper and Rowe, Addison-Wesley and W.C. Brown publishing companies. In 1993-94 he was a research specialist for Vice President Al Gore's GLOBE environmental project at the University of Arizona. He is currently a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Arizona, Arizona Cancer Center. His research focuses on prostate and breast cancer, funded in part from the National Institutes of Health. He lives in Tuscon.

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