Chadron State College
Chadron State College

CSC to honor five graduates during Homecoming

October 2, 2013

John Jacox
John Jacox

Chadron State College will present Distinguished Alumni Awards to four graduates who have excelled in their chosen professions during homecoming Oct. 5.  In addition, a Distinguished Young Alumni Award will be presented.

The DAA recipients are Jerry Bauman of Tulsa, owner of Bauman Instrument Company that primarily designs controls to operate water and waste water treatment plants; John Jacox of Indianapolis, an aeronautical engineer who has led the way in designing several of the nation’s advanced weapons systems; Dick Kettlewell of Rapid City, an award-winning photojournalist and wildlife photographer; and Dr. Marty Ramirez, who was a psychologist on the staff at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 38 years and has been honored several times for his leadership in Latino activities.

The DYAA will be presented to Dr. Sarah Keim Janssen, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

The recipients will be honored during a luncheon in the Student Center on Saturday. They also will be recognized at halftime of the Eagles’ football game that afternoon.

Information about the recipients follows:

Jerry Bauman-Distinguished Alumni Award

Jerry Bauman grew up on Bordeaux Street, just a block from the Chadron State College campus. He earned a bachelor of arts degree with a major in physics from CSC in 1967. While in college he married his high school sweetheart, Cheryl Jo Hamilton, who also attended the college.

After graduating he became an instrument and control systems engineer with Dow Chemical Company at Midland, Mich.  Dow transferred him to Tulsa in the early 1980s.  After the division he was heading was sold, he started Bauman Instrument Company on July 1, 1984.

The new firm’s first project was a referral from Dow. With two more former Dow employees, they designed, automated and built a top-of-the-line, activated carbon system for a food processing plant in Pryor, Okla. The system is still in use. Next, Bauman Instrument won several awards for the cutting-edge technology it used to design and implement the controls for an automated water treatment plant for the City of Edmond.

The word soon spread that the new firm in Tulsa had the expertise to take on big projects. Most of its work has been designing the controls that operate water and waste water treatment plants. Its customers have included many of the major cities in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. New Orleans was another client following Hurricane Katrina.

In the 1990s, Bauman Instrument worked with engineering firms to automate the aircraft fueling systems for several Air Force bases, including Ellsworth at Rapid City.  Besides the headquarters in Tulsa, other offices are located in Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Dorado, Ark., and Shreveport, La. Due to federal regulations, the firm has only 19 employees, but numerous subcontractors are utilized on the projects.

Jerry and Cheryl, who are the parents of seven children and have 22 grandchildren, have other endeavors. While living in Michigan they were founders of Midland Area Homes that purchased “very used” homes, repaired them and resold them to needy families that had assisted with the repairs. Their goal was to help four families per year become homeowners without federal assistance.

In 1983, Cheryl founded Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, Inc., a ministry that annually assists from 200 to 300 women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies by providing medical services, parenting classes and baby clothing and equipment, all without charge. The program gives the women a secure environment and a chance to rebuild their lives after the delivery.

The Baumans also are involved with Royal Family Kids Camp, which provides a first-class camping experience for 72 Oklahoma children who are in government foster care.

In addition, Jerry likes to travel. Formerly a marathon runner, he has ridden a bicycle in 35 states and every European country. The Baumans also enjoy motorcoach cruising around the U.S.  

John Jacox—Distinguished Alumni Award

John Jacox used what he calls “an excellent scholastic foundation” in mathematics and physics at Chadron State College to become a leader in the nation’s aerospace propulsion industry. During his 33-year career, all of his efforts were focused on the design, development, testing and fielding of engines and systems for advanced weapons systems used in the defense of the United States.

A native of Scottsbluff and now a resident of Indianapolis, he graduated from Chadron State in 1971 and received a master of science degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University in 1974. He also completed the coursework for a Ph.D., but professional demands prevented him from writing the dissertation.

Beginning as a junior engineer at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company in 1974, Jacox rose to senior manager at Allison Advanced Development Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce, prior to his retirement in 2007.

Much of his career was spent as engineering manager of technical teams and program manager of large, technically-complex and high-value research and development programs. These included the propulsion or aerodynamic systems of aircraft and missiles that could be either submarine- or air-launched to protect the nation. 

Jacox was involved in designing the engines of six Cruise missiles and worked with every branch of the military except the Coast Guard. He became acquainted with many of the nation’s military and space leaders and spoke at the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Naval Post-Graduate School and numerous aerospace symposiums.  

Engines that he and his teams designed and tested, set records, several of which are still classified and will probably never be broken.

Today, Jacox works nearly full-time as a consultant for a large Indianapolis-based machine shop that supports the aerospace and defense, commercial and naval nuclear, oil and gas and power-generation industries.  He also owns the Cleveland Model and Supply Company that he purchased in 1996. It is the oldest, continuously-operating model airplane firm in the world.

John is married to the former Karyn Foster, a native of Alliance and a 1976 Chadron State graduate. She has a career with a wealth management firm.

Dick Kettlewell—Distinguished Alumni Award

Dick Kettlewell has been a professional photographer for 33 years, earning numerous awards as both a photojournalist and a nature photographer since majoring in theatre and history and graduating from Chadron State College in 1973.

It was the “lure of the American West,” in his words, that brought Kettlewell to Chadron State. The son of a government employee, he had lived in Tokyo, London, the Philippines, Washington, D.C., and Munich before he boarded a huge jetliner in Frankfurt and headed to a region he had never seen, but was already engrossed with the idea of spacious prairies, vibrant deserts, jagged peaks and especially the wildlife.

Kettlewell acknowledges that he and his three traveling companions, who were from large cities on the East Coast, had second thoughts about their choice of colleges when the DC3 they were on landed at the Chadron airport and there was no town in sight. But before long, he says Chadron became the hometown he had never had

After graduating, he was involved in television production for PBS before switching to print journalism in 1980.

As a photojournalist, he worked primarily as a sports photographer for the Albuquerque Journal and the Rapid City Journal. He also has provided photos for many major newspapers, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Washington Post, as well as for the Smithsonian, Discovery and Natural History Magazines.  

While at the Rapid City Journal, he created a regular photo column entitled “The Spring Creek Chronicles.” Using the changing seasons as a backdrop, his work features images and information about the region’s wildlife and landscapes.

He has put his best work into books such as “Black Hills Impressions” that is in its third printing, “South Dakota Impressions” and “Pronghorn Babies!” a children’s book about a day in the life of an antelope fawn.  He’s also developing another book that will have “The Spring Creek Chronicles” name and contain more of the photos he shoots after spending countless hours in the outdoors.

Produced by Far Country Press, Kettlewell’s books are available in both major and hometown  bookstores, on the Amazon network and at state and national parks.   

Dr. Marty Ramirez—Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Marty Ramirez is a 1967 Chadron State College graduate who has had a distinguished career as a psychologist and a community activist who inspired and encouraged many individuals while developing mentoring relationships with them.

He is a native of the Scottsbluff area, where his family had come as immigrant/migrant workers.  After graduating from Chadron State, he served in the Army and was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam just 10 days before his tour of duty was to end.

Following his discharge, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and began working at UNL as a counselor in the Department of Minority Affairs in 1973. After earning his doctorate, he joined UNL’s Counseling Center and later was on the staff of the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services. He worked at the university 38 years before retiring in 2012, but has a new endeavor since then.

The latter is co-hosting a weekly program called “Latino Perspectives” that is available internationally on the Internet. It discusses issues affecting Latinos in Nebraska.

Throughout his career, he was asked to speak at many workshops on mental health, career development, diversity and cultural competency issues. 

He has been honored numerous times.

 In 1987, he received both the NEBRASKAland Days “Hispanic Man of the Year Award” in North Platte and the League of United Latin American Citizens “National Hispanic Man of the Year Award” in Corpus Christi, Texas.

He also was presented Omaha’s “Mexican Independence Day Veterans Award” in 1992 and Lincoln’s YWCA “Mentor and Allies Award” in 2000.

Earlier this year, he received the “Melvin W. Jones Mentoring Award” during Lincoln’s Celebration of Community Leadership Dinner.  The award recognized how he had assisted countless clients by serving as their mentor and inspiration. The presenters also honored him for promoting diversity throughout the community.

Marty and his wife, the former Connie Holm, met while they were attending Chadron State.  She earned a degree in elementary education in 1966. They have seven children and 11 grandchildren.


Dr. Sarah Keim Janssen—Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Dr. Sarah Keim Janssen was born and raised in Chadron.  Her parents are Deb and Harvey Keim, formerly of Chadron. After graduating from Chadron High School, she was accepted to study medical technology, now called clinical laboratory science, through the Rural Health Opportunities Program at Chadron State College 1997-2000.  Following one year of studying at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she graduated with Highest Distinction in 2001.

For the next two years, Sarah worked at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff and also was an adjunct instructor for Chadron State, teaching Introduction to Laboratory Medicine and a hematology course.

In 2003, Sarah returned to UNMC to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics, cell biology and anatomy.  After completing the degree in 2008, she became an instructor at the Medical Center and began teaching anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy to first-year medical, physician assistant and physical therapy students.  She has since been promoted to assistant professor and is the course director for the PA/PT anatomy and medical embryology courses and co-director for neuromuscular physical therapy.

Sarah has received several teaching awards, including the Basic Science Outstanding Teacher Award in 2010. The award was started by the College of Medicine’s Class of 1962 “to inspire and foster continued excellence in classroom teaching.”  Each of the last two years she has received Golden Apple Awards from the first-year medical classes “for her ability to explain things so we can understand” and “not assuming that we know everything.”

She is involved nationally in the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, serving as an elected member of the Career Development Committee and a councilor-at-large.

In addition, Sarah is involved in Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching as an editorial board member in biology.  Her group was awarded the Editorial Board House Cup in 2012 for being the most productive.

Sarah’s husband Kevin Janssen earned his master’s degree at Chadron State and is a chemistry teacher at Ralston High School.  They have 4-year-olds twins, Reece and Gunnar.

—Con Marshall, CSC Information Services

Jerry Bauman
Jerry Bauman
Dick Kettlewell
Dick Kettlewell
Marty Ramirez
Marty Ramirez
Sarah Keim-Janssen
Sarah Keim-Janssen