Many individuals were in the spotlight at Chadron State College’s annual luncheon to honor employees Tuesday, April 10, but an announcement from one of the event’s emcees got the most attention.
CSC President Dr. Janie Park announced that she would retire from her post this year, effective May 11, and that Dr. Randy Rhine, who is CSC vice president for enrollment management and student services, will become the interim president.
Park, 65, received a standing ovation from the crowd in the Student Center ballroom after Ed Hoffman, Nebraska State College System vice chancellor for facilities, planning and information technology, delivered a message from NSCS Chancellor Stan Carpenter.
Park, who is CSC's 10th president and the first woman in the role, has been at the CSC's helm since August 2005.
“Making the decision to retire from a career that I’ve loved hasn’t been easy,” she said. “But I know that I’ll always regret waiting too long and not having the time, and the health, and the vitality, to enjoy the things that I’ve dreamed of doing in retirement.”
Park said that she and her husband, Tom, plan to return to their home and family in Red Lodge, Mont., May 12.
“The past seven years have been, without exception, an honor and a privilege to serve this great college, and I’ll miss you all more than I can express,” she said.
Hoffman, who was CSC vice president for finance and administration early in Park’s tenure, said Park will be missed.
“As you know, I’ve worked with Janie for a number of years, and I know first-hand Janie’s accomplishments. That gives us good reason to celebrate her presidency and her successes,” he said.
In the message Hoffman delivered, Carpenter highlighted numerous accomplishments of Park’s time as at CSC’s top position. Hoffman said the chancellor was unable to attend the luncheon because he is out of state on system business.
“As the college’s 10th president, Janie has definitely touched our lives, urging us to think outside the proverbial box and come forward with new ideas,” Carpenter wrote. “Janie came on board knowing that changes were needed at Chadron State, and she went right to work on a number of key initiatives designed to increase enrollment, improve campus facilities and bring in qualified faculty and staff to help get the job done.”
In addition to the continuous trend of increased enrollment since Park was hired in 2005, Carpenter pointed out Park’s role in the many physical improvements – both aesthetic and environmentally-friendly -- to the campus, the successful completion of the Chadron State Foundation’s first-ever multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign, and strengthening ties between CSC and its alumni and friends.
“It is evident that Janie has changed the tenor of relationships on campus and in the community for the better,” Carpenter wrote. “Her efforts in this regard cannot be overstated. She restored a link that had been broken, and she did so with grace, class and humor. She was not just the president of Chadron State College. She and her husband, Tom, became vital members of the Chadron community.
Carpenter wrote that she was a staunch advocate for the college, yet understood the nature of being part of a college system.
“On the very few occasions she was on the losing side of a policy decision, Janie understood the big picture and was a real team player.”
—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services