CHADRON – Chadron State College acknowledged the accomplishments of 13 retirees Thursday during the annual faculty and staff recognition luncheon.
The following retirees were recognized. Max Franey, Dale Grant, Jerry Haugland, Bruce Huckfeldt, Sally Katen, Yvonne Moody, Jeri Neuharth, Connie Rasmussen, Sheri Simons, Kathy Stokey, Una Taylor, Brad Wilburn, Dale Williamson.
Dr. Kim Madsen, professor of Applied Science, was recognized as the Teaching Excellence Award recipient. Nominees for the award were Dr. Patti Blundell, Dr. Shaunda French-Collins, Dr. Wendy Jamison and Dr. Beth Wentworth.
Twenty-three employees were honored for their years of service.
Max Franey began work as a carpenter in June 1987. He retired from the maintenance department in August 2017.
Vice President of Administration and Finance
Dale Grant won’t have to wear a suit and tie much longer. That’s because Grant, Chadron State College’s Vice President of Administration and Finance who often jokes about his dislike of dressing in business formal attire, is retiring following Spring Commencement.
However, Grant does admit he wears a suit and tie for the college’s commencement ceremonies because he wants to honor the students’ achievements. His final day at CSC will be May 11, 2018 – two months shy of his 20th work anniversary.
“Working at Chadron State has been a very enjoyable experience. There’s good people to work with and they made my job a lot easier,” Grant said. “The people you work with are special and that’s the biggest thing I’ll remember. I have a lot of great memories. I admit it’s nice to attend grand openings of buildings, but graduation ceremonies are the one time I’ll wear a suit and tie because it’s a big deal for the students. I’ll miss seeing that.”
Grant was born in Chadron and lived in Whitney before moving to Chadron with his family as an elementary student. He was Chadron High School’s first 1,000-yard rusher on the gridiron and graduated in 1973. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from CSC in 1994.
He started his CSC career as comptroller in 1998 and two years later became the Director of Business Services and Comptroller. In 2006, he was named the Vice President of Administration and Finance by former President Janie Park.
Grant was part of Park’s nascent leadership team. Shortly following his March 2006 appointment, Dr. Lois Veath was named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Randy Rhine was named Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Services. Veath retired in 2012, the same year Rhine was named President.
“Dale has been an invaluable member of our team at Chadron State College. His financial knowledge has served this institution well for nearly 20 years. He has been especially helpful to me as I transitioned into’s role by helping me to understand the details of our financial operations,” Rhine said. “Dale has worked to ensure that we have always operated within our budget and has been instrumental in managing the construction projects on the campus over the past decade.”
As the Vice President of Administration and Finance, Grant oversees a large faction of the college’s workforce. Twelve employees report directly to him and those supervisors represent 60 employees from several departments, including custodial, maintenance, grounds, boiler house, safety, business office, accounting, conferencing, food service, bookstore, fleet cars and construction projects.
Grant took a straightforward approach to how he managed so many employees.
“You get good people and you let them do their jobs. It doesn’t mean that I agree with every decision, but if I am going to give them the authority to make decisions, I don’t try to manage what they’re doing. If I disagree with their decisions, I will talk to them about it,” he said. “I tried to keep informed with what everyone was doing, but I never wanted to interfere with how they were doing their jobs.”
All of these duties kept him busy, but Grant takes satisfaction in knowing he’s played a part in some of the larger projects on CSC’s campus. Since he has been a VP, the college has finished seven major construction projects and brokered a pool agreement with the City of Chadron.
“Those projects took a lot of people’s collective time and effort and I’m proud to have helped in some way,” he said.
Prior to working at CSC, Grant was a Certified Public Accountant for Fred Lockwood and Company in Chadron, a hospital administrator in Crawford and worked as a bridge and building carpenter for 12 years for Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
Grant and his wife Cherri have three daughters, Billie, Crissy and Traci, and five grandchildren.
Dr. Jerry Haugland began his Chadron State College teaching career in August 2005 and retired in December 2017.
Haugland was a professor of accounting, finance and business law at Southeast Missouri State University for more than 30 years, when he retired in 2000.
He abandoned his retirement in 2005 when he became a Professor of Business at CSC, primarily teaching undergraduate and graduate accounting courses.
Haugland grew up on a ranch outside of Sutherland, and the opportunity to move to the region was a homecoming of sorts, according to CSC Business Professor Dr. James Koehn who began his teaching career at the same time Haugland started at CSC.
“He was a mentor for myself and other young faculty members,” Koehn said. “He was a great addition with all of his experience.”
Koehn said Haugland liked to work and, therefore, spent a lot of time in his office.
“One of his biggest surprises was how well students were able to learn in an online class,” Koehn said.
Besides teaching, Haugland served on numerous department committees and the academic review committee.
Haugland has two sons, Charles and Michael, a CSC graduate. He is living in Boston near his oldest son, Charles.
Print Shop Supervisor
Bruce Huckfeldt worked at CSC, for the first time, as a student in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the Media Center housed in the basement of what is now the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center.
With a sly smile, Huckfeldt said that it took him 12 years to finish his bachelor’s degree because of extracurricular activities.
When Huckfeldt returned to campus as a full-time employee in September 1998, it was as an audio-visual production technician with Tom Kaus as his supervisor. At that time, the Print Shop came under the auspices of the King Library.
He brought his experience and expertise gained as a press operator for B&B Printing and the “Chadron Record” where he also worked former Print Shop Supervisor Rod Cain.
During the years the offset press was located in the Kline Center, Bruce and others dealt with issues related to the deterioration of the building. For several years, air conditioning would not function in the hottest times of the summer, forcing him and his coworkers to print late at night when the ink would dry.
“For about three weeks each year, we’d come in at midnight, open the doors, turn on the fans and start printing,” Huckfeldt said.
Temperatures on the opposite end of the spectrum were also problematic. One winter, water pipes broke that flooded the east end of the main level.
“It was about five degrees. We opened the floor drains and swept in the water until the main valve was closed,” Huckfeldt said.
About six years ago, the offset press was retired after almost 14 million impressions. It was nearly new when Huckfeldt started as a full-time employee. Print needs have changed as large format college publications such as the course schedule and scholarship directory transitioned to online. In 2009, the first digital printer was purchased and two more have been leased since then, drastically reducing production times. Digital printers also accommodate variable data printing.
Huckfeldt was an active campus community member and served as a negotiator for the Nebraska State College System Professional Association for a number of years.
One of his fondest memories was working with Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
“The hours they spent sitting and standing to assemble 10,000 or 20,000 booklets was really a sacrifice. We could never have been done on time without their help. What a great bunch. It never ceased to be a good time,” Huckfeldt said.
Speaking of his current assistant, Craig Conway, Huckfeldt said he was, “the best thing to ever happen to me at CSC.”
Retirement plans for Huckfeldt include spending time with his wife, Kim, and their three grandchildren in Nebraska and Utah. He also plans to be active with education advocacy led by the Nebraska State Education Association-Retired organization.
Accounting Clerk III
Sally Katen admits she’s “a Chadron girl” through and through. And, she wouldn’t want it any other way.
She was born in Chadron and has lived in the community all but two years of her life. While traveling figures prominently in the plans for her and husband Duane now that she’s retiring, they’re not planning to move away.
Katen’s parents, Roy and Edith Tyree, also were Chadron natives. Her only sibling, older brother Gary, lives in Bayard.
Katen graduated from Chadron High School in 1970. She was a member of one of the Cardinals’ first volleyball teams, but didn’t get to play basketball, a sport she would have loved to have tried. Instead, she was a cheerleader for the boys’ basketball team.
She enrolled at Chadron State the summer of 1970 and was married to Duane Katen the following New Year’s Eve in Chadron. The couple lived in Scottsbluff in 1973-74 while he worked at the Swift and Co. packing plant. They returned to Chadron after he was hired as a surveyor by the Nebraska Department of Roads. He had that job 40 years before retiring and also was a member of the Nebraska National Guard unit in Chadron for 25 years. Katen was the customer service representative in the Kansas-Nebraska Natural Gas Co., office in Chadron for 18 years until the position was eliminated in 1995.
Almost immediately, she was hired as one of the six workers in the Chadron State Business Office. She will have been there 23 years when she retires on June 30. For several years, there’s been only three employees in the office.
With the technical advances, the job has changed a lot, Katen said. The office no longer handles nearly as much cash or writes nearly as many checks. Most payments are now online.
“It’s not like it used to be,” Katen said. “Before the start of each semester, we post the bills to the students’ accounts and most of them use a credit card to make the payments. We still disburse some scholarship checks and get checks from a few parents and a lot of the grandparents of students.
“Some freshmen don’t understand the process when they get their bills and they come to our office to ask questions. Once they figure it out, that’s usually the last time we see them.”
Katen’s long been active in the community. During the 1990s, she was one of five women who organized three all-school reunions for Chadron High graduates. The gatherings filled the Nelson Physical Activity Center to capacity.
She also served on the Chadron Board of Education for 12 years, was on the Babe Ruth baseball board several years and has long been a member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority that each fall sponsors a crafts fair. She’s also an avid sports fan who attends numerous CSC athletic contests, often supports the Galaxy Series and loves attending the musicals at the Post Playhouse at Fort Robinson each summer.
In addition, she earned lots of Chadron State apparel as a member of the winning team during the Chadron State Foundation’s annual on-campus fundraising drives eight times.
Two of the Katens’ offspring, Stacy and Curt, are CSC graduates. Stacy and her husband Corm Borm, live in Cheyenne. Two of their children, Josh and Kaite, also are CSC alums. Curt and another of the Katens’ sons, Jeff, who earned an engineering degree from the University of Wyoming, and his family live in Arizona. Altogether, there are seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Katen is hoping she and Duane will spend considerable time in Arizona during the winters from now on. When they return, she expects to do considerable volunteering.
“I am really grateful I got to work at Chadron State,” she added. “I really appreciate the college letting me finish my degree while I was employed here. I’ll miss the people I have worked with and the students.”
Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences
Dr. Yvonne Moody, professor of Applied Sciences, came to Chadron State College as an undergraduate in 1971. Now, after 38 years of employment she is retiring in May. Moody, a native of Crofton, Nebraska, majored in Home Economics and stayed to create a second home and family on campus.
She said she felt a desire to teach starting with her first day of elementary school. Moody knew she wanted to teach, but wasn’t sure what discipline until she enrolled in an elective course in home economics as a Crofton High School junior. In that course, she said she discovered the one field that encompassed all of the important concepts in life that interested her.
During the first semester of her freshman year, she was enrolled in the final home ec class to be taught in Old Admin. She recalls she and her classmates packed the supplies and equipment in the clothing, textiles and foods lab on the third floor in September and moved them to the newly constructed Burkhiser Technology Complex.
As an undergraduate at CSC, Moody became involved with state and national affiliates of the American Home Economics Association in 1974 and has remained active in them until her retirement.
She said she relishes the continued journey of learning in a discipline that evolves rapidly, based on the increasing practical and perennial needs of society.
Her teaching career began at Lexington (Nebraska) Junior High School and continued with the pursuit of a graduate degree in education. She took courses from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and Kearney State College before she returned to CSC for a graduate assistantship. She earned her master’s degree in education in 1978 and spent the following year teaching in Hill City, South Dakota.
When the home economics program at CSC had an opening in 1979 Moody applied.
“I was blessed with the administrative leadership and mentorship of Dr. Edwin Nelson. Dr. Merlyn Gramberg as well as Dr. Leland Moeller become a second family. Margaret Crouse was a new hire at the time. We all received valuable mentoring from Berdine Maginnis and many other colleagues and predecessors in those early years,” Moody said.
She earned her doctorate from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and received the Leader Award from the Nebraska Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in 2007. She credits her professional network, as well as the campus community with a number of special opportunities. One of those was serving as an intern with the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees in 1975 when former Chadron State College President Ed Nelson was interim board chairman.
She also acknowledges her late husband, George, and their two children for teaching her that textbook theories can all be revised based upon new challenges that life, farming and grandchildren offer.
Her retirement plans include travel, reconnecting with extended family and friends and alumni as well as spending time with her grandchildren. She is also planning a few home and landscape improvements, quilting and working through book and movie lists.
Office Assistant II
Jeri Neuharth is anxious to try retirement again. She failed it the first time. But after being in the labor force 51 years, she admits it’s unlikely she’ll seek or accept another job after she retires June 30 from Chadron State, where she’s worked the last 20 years.
Before that she was employed by Nebraska Public Power District for 30 years and also was the office manager for two Chadron State professors who had a private counseling service one year before she came to the college.
“Even though I have enjoyed all my jobs, it’s probably time for me relax a little,” said Neuharth, who, certainly doesn’t look it, but believes she’s the oldest full-time employee of the college.
Relaxing for Neuharth and Marv, her husband of nearly 60 years, likely means going on a long bicycle rides and gardening. They’ve completed the 109-mile Mickelson Trail in western South Dakota four times, and have other trails they plan to explore.
Marv Neuharth, who has been an adjunct professor at Chadron State most of the time since 1990, grew up on a farm near Lake Minatare. Just prior to his senior year of high school, his family moved from there to Washington State. That’s when he met, courted and married Jeri.
Neuharth describes her husband as “the new senior boy in school.” He was tall, funny and had personality. Things clicked and they were married about six months after she graduated from Grandview High in May 1958.
Their honeymoon was unique. They boarded a train and 24 hours later arrived in Scottsbluff to join Marv’s older brother on the family farm.
Their two daughters, Jodi and Janet, were born during the next few years. The couple farmed for several years, but both also branched out. Marv attended what was then Scottsbluff Junior College for a year, received a teaching certificate and taught a one-room country school for five years. Neuharth went to work in the NPPD office in Scottsbluff in 1967.
Marv enrolled at Chadron State in the fall of 1985 to continue his education. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1987, a master’s in 1988 and a specialist’s in 1989. Those were the first of the 10 degrees family members have earned from Chadron State.
Neuharth remained in Scottsbluff until she transferred to the NPPD office in Chadron in August 1987 and later became the district supervisor for the offices from Crawford to Gordon. She also enrolled at Chadron State and received her bachelor’s degree in 1994.
After retiring from NPPD, she spent the next year as the office manager for Pathways, Inc., the counseling service set up by Dr. William Agnew and Linda Smith. Soon after it closed, she was hired as the office assistant for Social Work, the Social Sciences and Justice Studies. She began her new duties in August 1998.
In November 2014, she became the assistant to Dr. Jim Margetts, dean of Essential Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The day after she retires on June 30, she’ll celebrate her 78th birthday.
Neuharth anticipates Marv will continue working as an adjunct faculty member “as long as the college has classes for him to teach. He loves what he’s been doing.”
Each of the Neuharths’ daughters have earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CSC. Jodi is the office manager for her husband, Dr. Jeff Lias, a Chadron surgeon, and Janet works at the Lancaster County Jail in Lincoln. Her husband, Jim Donavan, also is a CSC grad and is an insurance agent in Geneva. Jodi’s son, Michael Straub, also graduated from Chadron State.
The Neuharths also have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren
CEO, Chadron State Foundation
For the past 27 years Connie Rasmussen has never had a job. Sure, she technically had an office and had to buy a parking pass. Granted, she supervised employees and successfully managed a multi-million dollar non-profit organization for more than a decade. But to Rasmussen, none of those obligations felt like work.
However, after more than a quarter of century of service to Chadron State College and the past 14 years as the Chadron State Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Rasmussen retired at the end of 2017.
“Honestly, what I do has never felt like a job,” Rasmussen said. “I always felt so lucky to work on a college campus because the students keep you young and then the alumni you meet with always remind you of why you do this in the first place.”
After living in Kansas and Colorado, her parents moved the family to Chadron while she was in high school. Her parents bought a ranch on Slim Buttes Road and following her high school graduation, Rasmussen enrolled at Chadron State College.
Rasmussen admits she didn’t have a typical undergraduate experience. She worked three jobs and took enough credits to graduate in three years with a degree in elementary education. She then taught in Kimball for two years, where she met her husband, Al.
“Al’s niece was in my first grade class and we were studying about Alaska,” Rasmussen said. “Since Al had been teaching in Alaska but had returned to Kimball, he spoke to our class. He ended up asking me out and the rest is history.”
The young couple went to Alaska following their nuptials but neither had jobs. However, with their backgrounds in education, they both found teaching gigs in Glennallen. They remained in Alaska for five years but returned to Dawes County because they wanted their children to grow up near their grandparents.
Rasmussen worked a couple years at a local bank, but the college was never far from her thoughts.
“A lot of college kids banked with us and I always remember seeing the transformation the college made in their lives,” she said. “They would come in the first time as scared, indecisive freshmen, but they’d walk out a few years later as adults and that was amazing to see. It was at that point, I realized the college really makes an impact on young lives.”
When a position opened at the college dealing with Title III grants, Rasmussen jumped at the opportunity. She worked as the Title III Program Coordinator for two years before joining the Chadron State Alumni Office.
Rasmussen was the Director of Alumni and Annual Giving until 2003, when she was asked by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to be its Chief Executive Officer.
“When I first started the job, I thought it was just fundraising, but it is so much more,” she said. “In order to be successful, it takes a passion for Chadron State. The alums and community have a deep appreciation for the college and all the Foundation does is go out and give them opportunities to provide support. They see what a difference CSC makes.”
Rasmussen’s leadership certainly made a difference. She led the Foundation in its first multi-million dollar comprehensive campaign, Vison 2011, and helped secure more than $30 million. As part of that campaign, three campus facilities were funded and built with support from the Foundation: the Chicoine Center, the Rangeland Lab and Classroom facility and the Coffee Agriculture Pavilion. In addition to securing funds for construction, significant new endowment and program funds were secured.
During Rasmussen’s tenure, the Chadron State Foundation’s assets increased to $22 million and the dollar value of student scholarships distributed grew by 60 percent. Endowed funds grew by 54 percent, and in 2016 more than 2,431 alumni and friends made charitable gifts to the Foundation.
The charitable gifts for scholarship support at CSC hold a special place in Rasmussen’s heart. All of her siblings either graduated or attended Chadron State and with the exception of her husband and one of her siblings’ spouses, the spouses have all graduated from CSC. Additionally, her two children and all her nieces and nephews are alumni.
Director of Housing and Residence Life
Sherri Simons began her career at Chadron State College in 1979 as a Typist II in the Housing Office where her supervisor was Don Duncan. At that time, Dr. Ed Nelson was the college’s president and she would see four others serve as president of the college before she retired in September 2017.
Simons advanced to Staff Assistant I and worked in the south half of the Kline Campus Center under Monica McClure, director of student life and director of housing. Simons was later promoted to Secretary II and administrative assistant for Dr. Peggy Provin.
Simons was named the Interim Housing Director from 1995 to 1997. She became the Director of Housing from 1997 until she retired. Additionally, she served a time as the Interim Title IX Coordinator in the summer of 2017.
Simons witnessed many changes through the years including the residence halls changing from single gender to coed living arrangements, major renovation of Work Hall, internet service added and phone service removed from the resident halls, as well as the construction of Eagle Ridge Housing.
Through the changes and challenges, former employees and co-workers attest to Simons’ ability to guide and nurture others.
“She was always a positive person to be around and was incredibly dedicated to her position, students and co-workers. To work on her staff was a privilege,” Office Assistant Kelly Phillips said.
Billie Knifong, former manager of Residence Life programs, said Simons was a great mentor and leader.
“She helped so many of her employees and students reach their potential. She taught me so much and I was very blessed to have her guidance and direction. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss, and now friend,” Knifong said.
Current Director of Housing Austen Stephens echoes Phillips’ and Knifong’s sentiments.
“Sherri was even wiser than her 38 years at CSC would suggest. Sometimes she was almost prophetic. Her awareness and vision for not only the Housing and Residence Life department, but the campus as a whole, continues to be inspiring. It would be impossible to quantify the impact that Sherri has made on my life and I know she has had an equal impact on so many others. Let us take a moment to reflect back on a career highlighted not only by the countless late nights and weekends spent on campus, but by the lives that were influenced by a strong woman,” Stephens said.
Senior Director of Student Affairs Pat Beu said Simons was continually committed to student safety and growth.
“She discussed with students issues of maturity, goals and success. She was also tireless in reminding other college officials of students’ perspectives. Sherri was an advocate for student development. She also wasn’t afraid to roll her sleeves up when things needed cleaned up and prepared for student arrivals,” Beu said.
Office Assistant III
Kathy Stokey arrived at Chadron State College in 1971 as a married student living in West Court and she retired 47 years later as an Office Assistant III in January 2018.
Most recently, she worked 11 years for the Vice President of Administration and Finance Dale Grant. Previously, she worked 10 years for Ed Hoffman, Grant’s predecessor.
“This has been the best job ever. Working in Sparks [Hall] is like family. It’s bittersweet to leave,” she said.
Hoffman said Stokey should be commended for her years of service and exceptional patience in a position that, at times, could place extraordinary stress and expectations on staff.
“Kathy was always quick to step up and help share the workload, sometimes drafting correspondence back when email was rare and often times coordinating demanding schedules. I have great memories of her ever-patient knack of bringing the schedules of many individuals together for meeting after meeting, often including the consideration of multiple time zones. In short, Kathy has a long history of getting the job done and doing it every day with a smile,” Hoffman said.
Stokey and her husband, Jim, high school sweethearts from Lewellen, started their employment on campus as dorm parents in 1975-76 at Andrews Hall.
“We’ve made a lot of lifetime friends on campus,” Stokey said.
The Stokeys returned to campus from 1980 to 1982 to be High Rise dorm parents. Kathy recalls she was thankful for Jim’s Graduate Assistant position with health insurance when she gave birth to their son, Vern.
The Stokeys’ daughter, Janell, grew up around Elderhostel guests and youth attending cheerleading and wrestling camps.
“Janelle loved the dorm life. Elderhostel was like having a house full of grandparents,” Stokey said.
Seeing large groups of students gathered around the TV in the High Rise lobby to watch the soap opera “General Hospital” is another of Stokey’s lasting memories from working in High Rise.
In the early 1980s, Stokey was a part-time typist in two departments, Language and Literature and Social Sciences. Later, she also was an assistant to Dr. Michael Cartwright, an academic dean, for a year.
Stokey still receives Christmas cards from one of her student workers she supervised during the 12 years she worked for President Sam Rankin. Another former student worker is Joby Collins CSC’s associate chief information officer,
“They were self-motivated and mature. I gave them a list of things to do and they took care of it,” Stokey said.
Stokey earned her bachelor’s degree in 2002.
“We were introducing ourselves and after I said I first enrolled in 1981, one of the other students in the room said, ‘Oh my gosh, they let you go to school that long.’ He couldn’t believe it,” recalled Stokey about a comment by a fellow student in Dr. John Dunn’s psychology class.
Her plans for retirement include continued involvement with the American Legion Riders. She has served as Secretary/Treasurer of the motorcycle group that sponsors a CSC scholarship for a current military service member or veteran through its annual poker run. She also helps with Thursday night dinners at the Legion.
Since 2015, Stokey has been on the board of directors for the CAPstone Advocacy Center that serves more than 500 neglected or abused children in 11 counties each year. She plans to complete additional volunteer training and make presentations to civic organizations and public school employees to increase awareness of the needs of children in the region.
Stokey became involved with CAPstone as a member of Guardians of the Children National Child Advocacy Organization. For years, the local group has donated funds from several annual poker runs to CAPstone.
The Stokeys’ children and grandchildren all live in Chadron. The couple plans to attend their grandchildren’s athletic and recreational activities and travel.
A native of New England, Dr. Una Taylor, earned both her master’s and doctorate from the University of Connecticut. Her research interests have included 19th Century French Song, Children’s Choirs and the Kodaly Method.
She joined the faculty at Chadron State College in 2006 as head of vocal studies. She has performed as a soloist, recitalist, and accompanist throughout New England and Nebraska.
While at CSC, Taylor taught Women’s Vocal Ensemble, Elementary Vocal Methods, Introduction to Music Education and Diction. She led the Community Choir for years and was a member of the Graduate Council and Educator Preparation Committee.
She served as Department Chair twice, most recently until her retirement in May. Taylor orchestrated nearly five years of work preparing for accreditation of the music program by the National Association of the Schools of Music. This goal became a reality in November 2016.
Dr. Jim Margetts, dean of liberal arts, said the NASM accreditation is truly a great accomplishment.
“It is an assurance to current and prospective students and faculty that we have received the blessing of our peers because we went through the accreditation process. Our reputation cannot be questioned and now we are seen as equals with many high-caliber music schools,” Margetts said. “Una was a key player in CSC gaining this accreditation. Her willingness to work on the self-study was so important. Music faculty teach a lot and meet with students frequently, so it’s hard to find time to get things like that done.”
In a 2016 Q&A article, Taylor said the department can boast a 100 percent placement rate for music education students. Other graduates have gone on to careers working in music stores, instrument repair, recording studios, or have pursued their education further in graduate school.
Taylor has been involved in teaching music in a variety of capacities during her career. In addition to 10 years of experience teaching in the public schools at the middle and high school level, she taught on the faculty of the Community School for the Arts at the University of Connecticut as a private vocal and piano instructor, as well as on the music faculty at Central Connecticut State University.
She has served as a clinician, guest conductor and received awards from National Association for Teachers of Singing, the American Choral Directors Association and the Organization for American Kodaly Educators.
Taylor has served as vocal adjudicator and chairperson for many choral festivals in her home state of Connecticut, New England, Nebraska, and the western states. A long-time member of American Choral Directors Association, she served on the Nebraska Choral Directors Association board as Community Choirs Repertoire and Standards chair and Women’s Choirs Chair from 2006 to 2010.
In her retirement, she will undoubtedly enjoy more time gardening, hiking with her dogs and raising yaks.
Professor, English and Humanities
Even though Brad Wilburn’s favorite job was delivering pizzas, he will retire from his longest tenured occupation at the end of the 2018 spring semester.
“CSC has been my longest job and when I first got here I was overjoyed,” said Wilburn, Professor and Department Chair of English and Humanities who has taught at CSC since the fall of 2005. “Once I got the job it was huge because I had a sense that this is where I could settle in. I was able to afford a house and make use of the teaching skills I developed. It was the perfect landing spot.”
Wilburn was a roving professor for a dozen years after he earned his doctorate in Philosophy at Stanford University in 1993. He taught short stints at Cal-Tech, Stanford, Santa Clara, and Washington University in St. Louis, before winding up at Chadron State.
“I bounced around because the market was real tight for philosophy teachers. I didn’t have as many publications as my peers, but what I did over those 12 years was build up my teaching resume,” Wilburn said. “Bouncing around helped me build up my teaching chops. Teaching is a profession where you learn by doing. You have to be dedicated to be good at it and you have to do it over and over.”
Wilburn was hired as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the English and Humanities department and earned full professor in 2015. He became Chair in the fall of 2017.
Wilburn, who taught logic, ethics and other philosophy courses, and advised the Chess Club, said he has enjoyed every class he has taught at CSC.
“It’s a luxury being a college professor because I get to teach stuff that I enjoy to students who are excited about learning,” Wilburn said. “There have always been students here at CSC that are incredibly bright and inquisitive. Those are the sorts of students I love to teach.”
Wilburn grew up in Fresno, California, and graduated from McLane High School in 1977. He earned an undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis in the early 1980s and studied Philosophy at Stanford.
During his studies, Wilburn had assorted jobs. He worked at an IRS Processing Center, cut down Christmas trees, drove a forklift, and manned the counter at a McDonald’s.
“Driving a forklift is fun,” he said.
Wilburn, who has four brothers and two sisters, credits his parents for helping him develop his work ethic, as well as his love of education.
“My parents valued education. My father got a bachelor’s in communication and a master’s in communication with an emphasis in parliamentary procedure when my siblings and I were in college,” Wilburn said.
His parents, Diane and James, moved to Chadron after visiting Wilburn during his first semester. His brother Daniel also lives in town.
Wilburn said he doesn’t have any immediate plans in retirement but he said he and his wife, Tammara, will likely move back to the West Coast in the future since Tammara’s two sons, Shaheen and Jahon, are both enrolled in graduate schools in California.
Wilburn’s son, Patrick, is a social worker in New York City.
In his upcoming spare time, Wilburn said he will embark on various writing projects, gardening and playing computer games. He also wants to play in more chess tournaments and has a special road trip planned.
“I love road trips and I love driving,” he said. “I have a trip planned going on U.S. Highway 50 from Sacramento to Ocean Beach, Maryland, and then taking Highway 20 from Boston through Chadron to Oregon. One of the great pleasures of road trips is sitting and thinking and listening to music. I can’t wait for it.”
Dale Williamson, who worked at Chadron State College for nearly 34 years and spent a quarter of the century as the college’s Registrar,
got his connection with Chadron State College off to a great start 48 years ago.
Before classes began in the fall of 1970, the Eagles entered a golf tournament at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City. Randy Hunt, a native of Rapid City, was on the golf team. He knew Williamson was an excellent golfer and was enrolling at CSC. He advised coach Harry Simonton to contact Williamson, go through his hometown of Custer and bring him to the tournament. The arrangements were made and, wouldn’t you know it, Williamson won the tourney.
“That was great coaching,” Simonton said while recalling the incident four years later after Williamson had won about a third of the tournaments while playing for the Eagles.
The highlight of Williamson’s collegiate career was winning the NAIA District 11 Tournament in 1974, just before he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business. He shot a 141 over the 36 holes. He was inducted into the CSC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
After graduating, Williamson continued to excel in golf, winning countless tournaments in the region. He qualified for the U.S. Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur Tournament in Dallas in 1987 and won the Nebraska Amateur Golf Championship in 1994 while shooting eight strokes under par and five strokes better than the runner-up. He is one of just three from the Panhandle to win the state tournament, which dates back to 1905.
Golf honors aside, Williamson was a successful employee at CSC. He came to work at CSC in November 1983 as an assistant in the Institutional Research office headed by Dr. Rod Fleeman. Before long, he switched to Admissions directed by Jacque Schmiedt and primarily recruited students from South Dakota and Colorado.
A few years later, Williamson was promoted to Director of Admissions. In 1992 he also became the Registrar, succeeding Barb Limbach when she went back to teaching business. Both of his jobs had many responsibilities and after a few months they were split. He remained the Registrar and Terie Dawson became Director of Admissions.
The Registrar’s Office had begun the process of switching from paper to computer records in the early 1990s, requiring lots of training and patience, Williamson remembers. Chadron State’s records system was mostly “home grown” for about the first 15 years he was in the position. Beginning in 2009, at the governor’s insistence, the State College and University of Nebraska systems worked together to develop the format that is now in place.
For most of two years, Williamson was part of a team of six Chadron State employees who drove to Lincoln each Monday. After he worked with the registrars from Peru State and Wayne State while his CSC colleagues were doing the same with their counterparts, the group would return to Chadron on Thursday night and spend Friday in their offices.
“It was a painstaking process that took a lot of time,” Williamson said. “But we got it done and had a system with many more capabilities.”
He admits the registrar’s job kept him and his co-workers on their toes.
“You have to know the catalog frontwards and backwards or at least where to look for all the requirements for the various majors and minors,” he said. “You also have to keep up with the changes the departments make in their curriculum and how they may affect the graduation requirements. It’s precise work that has to be 100 percent accurate and kept up-to-date to meet all the standards.”
He added he’s extremely appreciative of the support he received from his co-workers in the Registrar’s Office and the cooperation provided by numerous college administrators.
Williamson’s wife, Megan, also from Custer, is the assistant to Andy Pope, the Chadron Schools activities director. The Williamsons have two children, Jake and Sarah. Both are CSC grads, are married, live in the Black Hills and both couples have two children.
—CSC College Relations