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IU Northwest honors retirees at semi-annual retirement reception

Amid laughs, tears, colleagues share stories as they wish co-workers well

IU Northwest file photo
Pictured from left: W. Marshall Anderson, Ph.D.; John Rudolph; Kathy Horvath; Elizabeth McKee; Richard Hug, Ph.D.; Rhoda Burson; Karen Evans, Ph.D., Charlotte Reed, Ed.D.

The colleagues and families of retiring Indiana University Northwest staff and faculty members gathered on campus June 21 to recount fond memories and show appreciation for the 13 individuals who are leaving the university this month and beginning a new chapter in their lives.

The retiring individuals honored at the reception include: W. Marshall Anderson, Ph.D., Rhoda Burson, Karen Evans, Ph.D., Kathy Horvath, Rick Hug, Ph.D., Elizabeth McKee, Charlotte Reed, Ed.D, and John Rudolph.

Those retiring but unable to attend the reception include: Diane Hodges, Ph.D.; Jerry Taylor, Ph.D.; Jo Anne Bowen; Pat Krayniak; and Cindy Kurpis.

IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe welcomed each retiree and recapped their various titles and responsibilities throughout the years.

“This is an event where we both say thank you to colleagues who have worked hard during their time with us at IU Northwest and also wish them well in the next stage of life,” he said.

Their voices cracking occasionally as the emotion welled up, long-time colleagues of each retiree in attendance took turns at the podium, recounting stories, revealing endearing personality traits and above all, thanking their colleagues – and friends - for their unwavering dedication and service over the years.

W. Marshall Anderson, Ph.D.

IUSM-NW, 31 years of service

Pat Bankston, Ph.D., who serves as Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at IU Northwest as well as the Assistant Dean and Director of IU School of Medicine-Northwest, donned a couple of different voices as he did his best to impersonate Anderson.

The crowd erupted with laughter as Bankston described how Anderson once reacted to a curriculum change he didn’t agree with, dramatically throwing a book in a trash can, and of how he eventually came around, even becoming a staunch advocate.

Bankston noted Anderson’s teaching awards, his often-stellar evaluations from students, and his contributions on many committees and leadership groups.

Sending the audience into hilarity once again, Bankston called Anderson quite a “character” and reminded colleagues about an office memo in which “Marshall was dinged” for his “unauthorized singing in the classroom.”

Anderson joined in the laughter, remembering the memos that often began with the phrase, “It has come to my attention . . .”

“That memo that went out was one of the few where they knew who actually did it,” he laughed.

Rhoda Burson

Human Resources, 11 years of service

Human Resources Director Carolyn Hartley spoke of Burson’s extreme friendliness and described what an asset that trait has been over the years, as Burson is often the first person a new employee encounters at IU Northwest. She is perhaps best known for her bubbly greeting, “hi y’all,” and her famous “thank you very much” tagline, spoken Elvis-style, of course.

Hartley said Burson was particularly instrumental in implementing the successful online application system (OLA).

“Had it not have been for her perseverance and her patience,” Hartley said, “this tool may not have been as successful as it is today.”

Hartley expressed some lighthearted concern about who would continue to feed the campus birds and squirrels after Burson leaves.

Taking the podium, Burson assured her colleagues that she is not “retiring to Graceland,” but rather, heading to Illinois to be closer to her family.

“Everyone in here and those that couldn’t make it,” Burson said, “will always have a piece of my heart here.”

Karen Evans, Ph.D.

SPEA, 13 years of service

Barbara Peat’s tribute to Evans took on a more serious tone. She praised Evans for her thoughtful preparation for classes and for the concern she shows each and every one of her students.

“The dedication she brings to teaching is astounding,” Peat said, noting in particular her commitment to students and her interest in exploring ways in which we can improve their learning.

Peat said Evans has made valuable contributions on the many committees she served on throughout the years. And, she is well loved for her sense of humor, too.

“We can always depend on Karen to offer a statement that lightens the mood,” Peat said.

Evans said she is looking forward to traveling and getting her house in order in retirement.

 “I’m glad to be retiring but I am going to miss all of the people,” Evans said.

Rick Hug, Ph.D

SPEA, 28 years of service

Peat returned to the podium to tell the audience about the kind-hearted and caring disposition of Hug, whom she said leaves a footprint in the heart of everyone he encounters.

She described Hug as an involved citizen with an acute sense of social awareness and as a role model for others, as well as someone who is exceptionally dedicated to student learning.

“When I think of the heart that goes into his involvement in trying to make the world a better place, that’s what Rick does,” Peat said.

Hug is perhaps best known for his role in organizing the Annual Forum for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect at IU Northwest, which, Peat said, has a far-reaching impact on many lives thanks in large part to Hug’s involvement.

Hug became the first recipient of the Dr. Richard Hug Cherish the Children Award during April’s annual forum. The award was presented to Hug in recognition of his many contributions to child safety and abuse prevention in Northwest Indiana. The namesake award will be presented to a new winner each year.

“SPEA and IU Northwest will always be very special to Karen (Evans) and me and we look forward to seeing all of you at meetings like this over the years,” Hug said.

Kathy Horvath

Webmaster, 19 years of service

Executive Director of Information Technology Carol Wood opened her tribute to Horvath by calling her “a geek,” an endearment that she says is now considered to be a coveted title, at least according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Anyone who knows Horvath, Wood said, knows she is a lover of Walt Disney World, was once an avid softball mom, loves canning pickles, works with service animals, and is an early adopter of technology.

Wood said Horvath has been a conceptual force behind many applications used daily at IU Northwest, such as the academic bulletin, spotlights on the home page, email reminders, and more.

“Kathy never does anything halfway,” Wood quoted one co-worker as saying. “She pours her whole heart into whatever the project is.”

Horvath said she has loved being part of the “IU Northwest family.”

“I so enjoy being part of IU Northwest,” Horvath said. “It felt as if when I walked on campus, I knew everyone here.”

Elizabeth McKee

Library, 19 years of service

Librarian Tim Sutherland laughingly said that the library is a less quiet place than it used to be with McKee among the stacks, thanks to her infectious laugh and sense of humor.

He thanked her for her keeping careful watch over the library’s thousands of materials and making sure they are properly recorded and accounted for.

Even with such a large family of her own, and as a foster parent to many children, McKee still gives much of herself to her work, Sutherland said. Even recent health challenges have not been able to keep her from coming back better than ever, he said. 

“Very true to form,” Sutherland said, “we knew Liz would be back this week at work, looking better than ever for her retirement today.”

McKee said she had only intended to work at IU Northwest for 10 years but before she knew it, 19 years had passed.

“They say time passes fast when you are having fun and I’ve had a blast,” McKee said. “This is not the last you will see of me, I will be keeping in touch.”

Charlotte Reed, Ed.D

CETL, 19 years of service

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs David Malik, Ph.D. spoke of the legacy that faculty and staff create here at IU Northwest.

“When they leave, all the things they did while they were here carry over,” Malik said. “Those decisions all improve the institution and move us ahead to where we ought to be. . . . The longer they’ve been here, the more they’ve been able to shape the campus, and Charlotte is no exception.”

Malik said he respects Reed for being a vocal contributor and for all of the imagination and enthusiasm she brings to anything she is involved in. In fact, he laughed, “having Charlotte remain quiet is an impossibility.”

“My heart is as full as this room,” Reed said. “There are many people in here that mean a lot to me who have been a part of my 19 years. You have made it special and you know who you are. . . I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have served here. The students, the staff, the faculty members, you have been a part of my family and my life. . .”

John Rudolph

Web Services, 32 years of service

Wood returned to the podium to dish out some nostalgia about Rudolph, who joined IU Northwest, she said, when a Sony Walkman cost $200 and a common calculator was $100. She fondly noted that his first days were before cell phones and when the “Star Wars” saga was born. She wasn’t the only one in attendance who remembers his favorite shirt, the one with his nieces’ and nephews’ handprints all over it.

More importantly, Wood said, she will remember Rudolph as an excellent programmer, an expert with student data, and a whiz with focused programming.

Rudolph joked that he has been employed by IU Northwest during five different decades, two different centuries and two different millennia.

“I thank you very much for honoring me today and I hope everybody else that’s been honored will continue in their retirement with the best wishes from me and from everyone,” Rudolph said.

Three of the retirees being honored received special recognition by Professor of Education Vernon Smith, Ed.D., who is also an Indiana state representative. Smith stepped in to name Burson, Hug and Reed as honorary state representatives and presented them each with a plaque.


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