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Retirees Honored for Campus Service


MAY 12, 2006--Nineteen faculty and staff members from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls were honored and given best wishes for their retirement endeavors at the annual All-Campus Service and Retirement Reception May 8.

"These wonderful members of the UW-River Falls community have provided a total of 400 years of exemplary service to our students," said Chancellor Don Betz at the reception. "They represent the spirit that has personified this institution for 132 years. We salute and thank them."      

Among the retirees were:

Roger Ballou

            Roger Ballou is a familiar name to most students who attended UW-River Falls in the 1990s. Ballou was instrumental in reorganizing the student affairs division to provide more efficient service to students. He was also recognized by a number of internal and external organizations for his efforts in fostering diversity and tolerance on campus. Coming to UW-RF in 1992 after being dean of students at Southwestern University near Austin, Texas, Ballou holds a Ph.D. in counseling from Purdue University and an M.Ed. in counseling from the College of William and Mary. Ballou is pursuing a new career as Adlerian Program Director and a faculty member at the Adler Graduate School in Minneapolis. In addition, he is a licensed family and marriage therapist with his private practice, Family Life Services, in River Falls.

Arlyn Brackemyer

            Arlyn Brackemyer of facilities management began working at UW-River Falls in 1982. His training and experience with steamboats on the Great Lakes prepared him well for his many years in the campus heating plant as a power plant operator. In 1967, Brackemyer served with the Military Sea Transportation Service, carrying troops and supplies to Viet Nam. He attended school for a marine engineer license in Toledo, Ohio, and served for 10 years on steamboats shipping steel in the Great Lakes. Among his memorable accomplishments at UW-RF has been keeping vintage turbine steam pumps operating long after their typical "life span." In retirement, Brackemyer plans a motorcycle trip to Alaska.

Myrna Brantmeier

            Myrna Brantmeier recalls spending an entire summer on campus learning Volkswriter, a software program for the computer that replaced her IBM Electronic typewriter. Joining UW-River Falls in 1975 as a limited term employee, Brantmeier, who retired from the Outreach and Graduate Students Office as an Office Operations Associate, says that the office technology was one of the biggest changes she noticed during her more than 30 years on campus. She took many classes over the years to keep abreast of technology changes. Brantmeier was a co-initiator and a charter member of the Employee Development Committee Some of her fondest memories include working with West Central Wisconsin Consortium, the Pigeon Lake Field Station and the National Student Exchange as well as in the earliest days of the Wisconsin and Scotland program. She also enjoyed being a host family since 1981 for students in the International Student Host Family Program. A resident of Durand, Brantmeier says as the campus grew larger, the notion of community also changed. "I would like to thank UW-RF for providing me with a great place to work. I met many fine co-workers and students throughout my years on campus."

Perry Clark

            Perry Clark notes that the most significant change during his tenure on campus has been the number of women enrolled in the animal and dairy science programs. Coming to campus in 1982, Clark holds a B.S. in broad area agriculture from UW-River Falls, a M.S. and Ph.D. in dairy cattle/animal husbandry from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Prior to UW-RF, he was a State Extension Dairy Specialist in Kentucky. He received many accolades for his tenure at UW-River Falls as a professor of animal science including Outstanding Club Advisor for the UW-RF Dairy Club, the Outstanding Teaching Award in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, the Distinguished Teaching Award, the University's highest award bestowed upon teaching faculty. He also coached the 1995 winning collegiate dairy club at the World Dairy Expo in Madison. Clark plans to embark on a second career in the animal and dairy science industry upon his "retirement." He his most proud of his "contributions in a small way to the successful careers of hundreds of UW-RF graduates in animal and dairy science."

Rhoda Foley

            Rhoda Foley is known for her sense of humor in dealing with students and staff. She arrived on campus in 1973 and worked in many situations, including secretary for the Ames Laboratory School and Elementary Education Department as well as program assistant with the Teacher Education Department and Office of Field Experiences and finally her current position as dean's assistant in the College of Education and Professional Studies. A resident of Beldenville, Foley says that helping students and staff was the most satisfying aspects of her work. "I feel I've been a consistent and stable source of in formation for students and have provided consistent tand stable assistance to faculty staff in an every-changing campus ... all with a touch of humor so as not to get too serious." She is looking forward to retirement days filled with reading, outdoor work, volunteer work and more time with her grandchildren.

Clarke Garry

            Clarke Garry's work is nearly synonymous with the Kinnickinnic River. He's known far and wide for his comprehensive inventory of insect and crustacean life on the Kinni, which he's worked on for the past decade. Many students and community volunteers recall the Kinni as a living classroom, thanks to Garry. "I'm pleased to have been able to be active in ongoing research while continuing to maintain and improve course quality ... [which] grew into my own ecological 'million-piece puzzle.'" Garry came to the biology department at UW-RF in 1976 after having earned a B.A. in zoology and M.S. in entomology at the University of Missouri at Columbia, and a Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Garry notes that other career highlights include the 1993 and 2004 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. He also received a National Geographic Society grant in collaboration with North Dakota State University to travel to Alaska and Canada in search of paleo-environmentally significant beetles. "I've particularly enjoyed the process of trying to make technical biological concepts understandable." A River Falls resident, Garry will pursue more educational endeavors, including teaching workshops as well as writing about, working with and learning more about the Kinni.

Judith George

            Thanks to Judy George, many students avoided getting rained out during commencement; she modified and streamlined the commencement ceremonies for the indoor-only ceremony that is currently used. George was instrumental in supervising the transition to the Degree Audit Reporting System, which was implemented on campus in 1993 and the eSIS system, implemented to streamline student data records. Joining UW-RF in 1978 as assistant registrar, George retired in 2005 as registrar. A resident of River Falls, she holds a B.A. and an elementary education teaching certificate from California State University at Fresno. She had taken numerous courses toward a master's degree at UW-RF. The biggest change she noted during her time on campus is the transition to online records and information sharing.

Paul Hayden

            As chair of the communicative disorders department for 15 years and involved in the speech and hearing clinic on campus, Paul Hayden has helped countless children and community members. In addition, he's helped numerous graduate students conduct research, and nearly two dozen have presented at the national conventions of the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association. Joining UW-RF in 1975, Professor Hayden says that he especially "enjoyed seeing students gain confidence and grow professionally." One of the biggest changes he has noted is the increasing influence that outside accreditation organizations have on curriculum within the university. A resident of Ellsworth, Hayden holds a B.A. and M.S. from Moorhead State College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. He has also taken mediation training from St. Olaf College, is included in Who's Who in America, is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, and has had many articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

Paul Jantz

            Paul Jantz began working on campus in 1981, and spent 17 years working in the heating plant as a power plant operator 3. He then moved to the building maintenance area as a maintenance mechanic 3. Jantz enjoyed the opportunity to work with a wide range of people. He noted the growth and development of facilities as a significant campus change. He also commented on the changes he has seen in students over the years, describing current students as more mature and perhaps more conservative than their predecessors. He's often worked in Kleinpell Fine Arts Building, and appreciates the "amazing talent" of UW-RF art, music and theater students. Jantz is looking forward to spending more time with his family and enjoying hunting and fishing up north.

Larry Kasten

            Larry Kasten is well known for leading UW-RF's nationally recognized horse science program, the only one of its kind in a public university in the Upper Midwest. He's probably a "horse whisperer" but he'll never tell. Kasten holds a B.S. from the University of Minnesota and M.S. from Kansas Sate University, both in animal science, and has has taken doctoral courses at Texas A & M University. Since arriving at UW-RF in 1973, he has taught many courses including genetics, equine evaluation and nutrition, horse production, advanced horsemanship and colts in training. As well known in the industry as he is in academia, Kasten is an approved American Quarter Horse Association and National Reining Horse Association judge. In addition, he has been an NRHA futurity finalist three times and placed second twice. Born and raised in Minnesota, Kasten credits his father for his love of horses and teaching. As a faculty member and mentor, he says he has taken great pleasure in witnessing the success of many students.

He plans on continuing his love of training, riding, buying and selling horses at his family-run 70-stall facility in River Falls. He plans to spend winters in Texas with his wife, Dianne.

John Laird

            A UW-Eau Claire graduate, John Laird first joined UW-River Falls as a graduate student in 1974. In l978, Laird was appointed assistant director of financial aid and served as director in 1985-86. The majority of Laird's career has been spent in the Chalmer Davee Library, first as a student assistant, as an LTE, and then as a permanent employee. He has been a familiar face to many students at the reserve desk. In reflecting on the University, John commented that students at UW-River Falls are from varied backgrounds --rural areas, small towns, and large cities--reflecting a broad socio-economic range. Laird has helped many students stay in school in his roles as a library resource person and also during his work in financial aid. Over the years the pace and activity level on campus has changed Laird saidL- the number of staff has grown, people are busier, and the activity and involvement of students has increased. In retirement, Lair will continue as president of the Laird Youth Leadership Foundation and also plans to do some consulting.

Stephen Ridley

            For the past three decades, Steve Ridley has been integral to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at UW-River Falls. Since coming to UW-RF in 1974, Ridley has served as professor of food science, chair of the department and assistant and associate dean of the college. As dean of the college, Ridley held that position until retirement in December 2005. A Hudson resident, Ridley holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maine and an honorary FFA degree and is a past chair of the Minnesota Section of the Institute of Food Technologists. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was instrumental in the planning and design of the food science addition and has been continually involved with the international Food Microbiology Symposium since its inception on campus more than 25 years ago. He has also been involved in the food microbiology courses from 1974 to 2001. Ridley says some of his fondest memories are participating in international research, service and teaching initiatives such as the East Central European Scholarship Program. "There's more to being a successful teacher than just teaching," says Ridley. "Scholarly activities need to be continuously encouraged, and this is happening." Ridley also says the campus grounds have been beautified since his arrival in 1974. "Enormous credit should go to those in administration and physical plant who make the campus look great."

June Schubert

            Employers around the area know her well. June Schubert came to the Placement Office at UW-River Falls in 1982 and has served the Career Services department ever since. She retired as a recruitment coordinator and career advisor and had a long involvement with the annual career fair on campus. A River Falls resident, Schubert holds a B.S. from Skidmore College and an M.F.A. from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She says the use of technology and computers is the biggest change on campus over the years and her most memorable experiences were building relationships with hiring representatives in the region as well as helping to create the biannual Student Teacher Professional Day. She received the 2003 Chancellor's Award of Excellence for Academic Staff, the 2000 President's Award from the Wisconsin Association of Colleges and Employers as well as lifetime membership in WI-ACE. She looks forward to traveling during retirement, having taken a trip to Italy in March.

James Senft

            While internationally noted as a Stirling engine expert, a Fulbright scholar, visiting research professor and author, mathematics Professor James Senft is probably remembered by many students for demystifying mathematics. A model of a "teaching scholar," he has been noted by award nominators that he always willing to share his research and knowledge. As the recipient of the 2005 Outstanding Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities Award (division of science and mathematics) from the College of Arts and Sciences, Senft is recognized as a leading expert in the area of the mathematical analysis of heat engines. He's been a visiting research professor at the Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Washington Joint Center for Graduate Study, the University of Rome, the University of Zagreb, and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University Institute of Advanced Study. Senft has had numerous research grants from the NSF and the Lindberg Foundation among others. He is continuously consulted by people from around the world on his work to share his insight and expertise. He has involved many students with his research over the years and served to further their interests in mathematics and research.

Lillian Tan

            Generosity and enthusiasm are the hallmarks of music Professor Lillian Tan, who has taught music at UW-River Falls since 1966. A River Falls resident and pianist, Tan holds a B.M. from Gustavus Adolphus College and an M.M from Indiana University. Tan says that her most memorable experiences linked UW-River Falls with the world; in 1981 she was a soloist with the Taipei Century Symphony at Sun Yat Sen Hall. She taught in Taipei in 1981 and in Taichung at the Summer Institute in 1988, She was chair of the music department from 1986 to 1991, and in 2001 she received a teaching award from River Falls High School for her involvement in training music educators. Tan says while teaching and playing piano are her first love, she also enjoyed her campus activities from fundraising to serving on or chairing numerous committees over the years.

David Woodward

            Dave Woodward oversaw the progression of the Financial Aid Office on campus from a "paper" operation when he arrived in 1988 to a computerized system integrated with ESIS and Peoplesoft upon his retirement in 2005. He was instrumental in moving the office to an automated stand-alone local area network in 1989-90 to the integrated campus system as a member of the ESIS and Peoplesoft implementation teams in the early 2000s. On campus, he has been a financial aid counselor, associate director, assistant director, acting director and finally as director of financial aid in 1996. "My greatest accomplishment was working with a great staff," says Woodward. "They were the people who were there when I came on board and the people who were hired while I was there." Woodward holds a B.A. from Baldwin Wallace College and a M.A. from the University of Minnesota. He was president of the Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, having received its Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and a Special Achievement Award in 1996. He is still active in the Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, where he developed and continues to teach at a special summer institute to train financial aid professionals in a nine-state region. Currently he is working with Education Finance Partners, where he can set his own schedule and travel around the Upper Midwest at his own pace. A resident of North Hudson, he says his favorite retirement activity is golf, and he is particularly fond of the valley's St. Croix National Golf Course.


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