UNK retirees, faculty, staff recognized for years of service

KEARNEY – Numerous University of Nebraska at Kearney faculty and staff, including retirees, were recognized Tuesday (April 21) for their years of service at UNK’s annual Celebrating Excellence luncheon in the Nebraskan Student Union.

Faculty Retirees honored, by department, include:


Joseph Springer, 36 years – Joe began at Kearney State College in the fall of 1979 serving as an Assistant Professor in Biology. He has held the positions of Associate Professor, Professor of Biology and the Chair of the Biology Department. Joe says his greatest accomplishment at UNK was being Chair of the Biology Department when it received the University-wide Department Teaching Award in 2014. He is also proud to have accomplished the construction of graduate offices in Bruner Hall, and the purchase of three vehicles and a camper trailer for use in Biology field studies.

Joe’s advice to new employees would be to “get to know the UNK community by getting involved outside your department via committee work, attending athletic events, plays, and music recitals.” Joe plans to retire to the Orcas Island in the Salish Sea, an American island that lies between the cities of Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle.

Counseling & School Psychology

Julie Dinsmore, 22 years – Julie Dinsmore began her career at Kearney State College in 1974 where she was a secretary in the Department of Art and Art History. She also served as an assistant to the Dean of Students, Bob Nye from 1978-1982. Julie became an adjunct professor in Counseling & School Psychology in 1982 and then as a tenured professor from 1990-2015. Julie was recognized with the Pratt-Heins Award for Teaching and received the OTICA Award for Teaching.  She is enjoying her retirement while living in Leawood, Kansas.

Max McFarland, 29 years – Max joined the faculty of Counseling & School Psychology in the fall of 1986.  He has served as the Education Specialist School Psychology Program Director for 18 years and as the Counseling and School Psychology Department Chair for 5 years.

When asked what was his greatest accomplishment at the University was he said, “Our graduates are making significant education and mental health impact in the lives of children/families all across the country, and now even reaching around the globe as the School Psychology program has become the first program in the world to receive international accreditation.” After his retirement, Max says that he will be “re-careering” – devoting full-time efforts to the family winery and vineyard business.


Susanne Bloomfield, 29 years – Susanne started at Kearney State College in 1979 as an adjunct professor in English. She became a tenure track Assistant Professor of English in 1988. Susanne also held the positions of Associate Professor and Professor of English. She received many teaching awards during her tenure – most notably the Martin Distinguished Professor Award, the Pratt-Heins Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Leland Hold/Security Mutual Distinguished Faculty Award.

Susanne says her greatest accomplishments at UNK were the ones that her students achieved, the relationships she shared with her students and watching them walk across the stage at graduation. She advises new emplyees to “Work with your students on the assignments and activities that you expect of them, keep up-to-date on new developments in your field, and never be satisfied with what you know!” Susanne and her husband have moved to southern Colorado where they enjoy trail riding and camping trips with their horses. She is working on a memoir and will continue to teach online American Literature courses as an adjunct.

Industrial Technology

Stephen Amundson, 18 years – Stephen came to UNK in April 1992 to complete a MBA program where he was awarded a graduate teaching position in Accounting & Finance. Since that time, Stephen has been a faculty member in Accounting & Finance, Marketing & Management and Industrial Technology. He has been an active member in the UNK community member serving on many committees – most notably Faculty Senate, International Studies Advisory Council and the World Affairs Executive Committee.

Stephen says he considers his greatest accomplishment is at commencement when he chooses “simply to believe, in a small part I contributed to the students’ success.” His retirement plans include a particular harbor where he will be relaxing with an optional umbrella in a beverage.

Kennard Larson, 24 years – Ken joined the faculty in the Department of Industrial Technology as an Associate Professor in August 1991. He went on to hold the positions of Construction Management Program Coordinator, Professor and Department Chair of Industrial Technology.

Ken says his greatest accomplishment at UNK was elevating the Construction Management Program to a top ten university Bachelor of Science degree program, and developing the Construction Management Student Exchange Program with the University of Rostock, Germany from 1998 – 2008. The advice that he would give to new employees at UNK would be “Strive to make service to undergraduate student education a priority, supported by excellent teaching and continuing academic scholarship.” Ken and his wife Dixie will spend retirement visiting grandchildren, traveling, volunteering for/supporting the Multiple Sclerosis Society and continuing to learn.

Kinesiology & Sports Sciences

Barbara Amundson, 20 years – Barbara joined the staff of UNK in October 1994 as a secretary in the English Department. She also held positions in Family Consumer Sciences, Nebraska Safety Center, and the Graduate Office. Barbara is currently a Senior Lecturer in Kinesiology Sports Sciences teaching Leisure Students – Travel and Tourism.  She has been active in the UNK community by serving on the International Studies Advisory Council and the World Affairs Executive Committee.

Barbara lists graduating with her undergraduate and graduate degrees as her greatest accomplishments – which allowed her to teach. At age 60, Barbara was the UNK mascot Louie the Loper at a UNK volleyball game. When asked what advice she would give to new employees, she said, “Be available for the students.”  Her plans for retirement include relaxing with her toes up somewhere in the Caribbean.

Marketing & MIS

Dave Moffett, 28 years

Modern Languages

Anita Hart, 18 years – Anita Hart was hired as the department chair in Modern Languages in 1996, and served in that capacity for five years (1996 – 2001). Prior to that, she taught Spanish language and literature at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She has published extensively in the area of Contemporary Spanish Poetry, and Women Writers.

Anita is an excellent teacher with high standards and a strong commitment to students’ learning.  She is a thoughtful individual, who always has some kind words of encouragement, or wisdom, or even a few beautiful flowers, to brighten her colleagues’ day.

Physics & Physical Science

Jose Mena-Werth, 23 years


Teacher Education

Roger Nyffeler, 5 years – Roger began his career at UNK in August 2008 in the College of Education where he supervised student teachers and taught a class of Teacher Education 100 each semester. In July 2009, he accepted the position of Director of Network of Partner Schools for the College of Education and supervised student teachers.

Roger considers his greatest accomplishments at UNK two-fold: successfully recruiting perspective high school seniors to apply at UNK and the College of Education and the many positive relationships he has had with the student teachers he has supervised.  Advice he would give to new employees at UNK includes, “Ask a lot of questions, be patient with the system…it moves really slow, and don’t wait for the system – just do it!”  Retirement for Roger will include traveling near and far, spending more time with his wife, family, and friends, volunteering, and “playing more” in his favorite past times.

Ken Anderson, 5 years


Staff retirees honored, with department and years of service, include:

Facilities Management & Planning

Frances Garcia, 11 years

James Lange, 17 years – Jim Lange began his career at UNK on March 1997 as a custodian in Facilities Management & Planning and later became a carpenter. Jim is most proud of the two white glass cabinets he made that hold the art sculpture of Indian Scout Sacagawea and Revolutionary War art. The cabinets can be found in West Center. Jim was also very active in Staff Senate during his time at UNK. When asked about his plans for retirement, Jim indicated that he plans to relax and enjoy life.

Leiton (Swede) Anderson, 24 years – Swede began his employment at Kearney State College in May 1990 as a carpenter in Facilities Management & Planning. He lists his greatest accomplishments to campus as the numerous office makeovers he did. Swede was asked what advice he would give to new employees, he said, “Show up on time, stay busy, and try to get along with everyone.”  His plans for retirement includes trying to stay as healthy as possible.

Claris Lewis, 42 years – Claris began her career at Kearney State College on July 17, 1972 as a secretary in Facilities Management & Planning. During this time, Claris experienced many changes in her position title and job description. She was asked what advice she would give to new employees and she said, “Look for opportunities to support your department and to get involved with the campus community.” Since her retirement last fall, Claris has been volunteering in her church and community activities.

David Webster, 46 years – Dave started his employment at Kearney State College in 1968.  His first position at the college was called a “helper” and he did a little bit of everything on campus. Dave is best known to the UNK community as a painter in Facilities Management and Planning – a position he held for a number of years. When asked what his greatest accomplishment was at the University Dave replied, “I tried to stay in line and did what I was told.” At this time, he does not have any specific plans for his retirement. Dave considers it an honor to have worked with the people he did at UNK.

Health Care

Janet Anderson, 8 years

Kathleen Ganz, 14 years – Kathy began her employment as an Office Associate in the Health Care Office in January 2000. She is known to her co-workers and the students as their “life coach” – very encouraging, supportive, and always listening to them. Kathy always remembers something personal about each person she meets. For herself, Kathy considers her greatest accomplishment at UNK the relationships she formed with a variety of students.  Her retirement plans include more time with family and friends, reading, travel, and learning.

Intercollegiate Athletics

Eve Green, 26 years – Eve started at Kearney State College on Aug. 1, 1988 as a Staff Secretary in Intercollegiate Athletics. One thing that is always consistent about Eve is her love of UNK Athletics and sports.  Over the years Eve has driven many passenger buses to transport teams to their sporting contests. It would be hard to estimate how many student-athletes, student workers, assistant coaches, graduate assistants and trainers she has had contact with over the years. When asked what advice she would give to new employees, Eve replied, “Face every day with enthusiasm and maintain a sense of humor. Everyone must keep the students uppermost in everything we do.” After retirement, Eve plans to spend time with grandchildren and scouting out winter locations that will be warm.

International Education

Linda Martin, 7 years


Dee Ellingson, 22 years – Dee started at UNK on Aug. 2, 1993 as an Office Associate in Psychology. Dee has been an active member of the UNK community serving on both Staff Senate and Staff Senate’s Professional Development Committee where she served for 14 years. Dee says her greatest accomplishments include: being one of the creators of the Leadership UNK program for staff, serving as a coordinator for that program for seven years and being a member of the Leadership UNK Board of Graduates. Her advice to new employees would be to “realize that you are an important part of the UNK system. Be helpful to students. Without them we cannot continue to grow.” Dee’s plan for retirement includes attending the many sporting events that their 11 grandchildren are participating in.

Student Affairs

Judy Spellman, 24 years – Judy Spellman started at Kearney State College on April 16, 1990.  During her tenure at UNK, she served as an Administrative Associate for 11 Deans for Students Affairs. Judy feels her greatest accomplishment was providing an efficient, welcoming and stable office environment for her supervisor regardless of their office location. She was an active member of the campus Emergency Operations Team, assisting with disaster planning to create a safer campus for our students, faculty, and staff.  Judy received numerous awards during her employment – most notably the Staff Award for Excellence in August 2013. She and her husband Rich are enjoying their retirement spending time with family and friends and looking forward to many adventures ahead while traveling with their fifth-wheel camper.

10 Years of Service
Derrick Burbul – Art & Art History
Jeremy Childress – Information Technology Services
Debra Gilbertson – Facilities Management & Planning
Amber Hinrichsen – Child Development Center
Christopher Knoell – Teacher Education
Carrie Kracl – Teacher Education
Kay Liibbe – Information Technology Services
Raymond Marker – Facilities Management & Planning
Kristi Marshall – Student Support Services
Lee McQueen – Facilities Management & Planning
Jane Petersen – Information Technology Services
Jolene Pierce – Admissions
James Rohrer – History
Janna Shanno – Graduate Studies & Research
Kathryn Zuckweiler – Management
Roy Stutz – Intercollegiate Athletics
Janette Thompson – English
Jenara Turman – English
Andrew White – Music & Performing Arts
Wade Willey – Facilities Management & Planning
Gui-Jie Zhang – International Education

15 Years of Service
Dawn Adams – Police & Parking Services
Holly Carnes – Intercollegiate Athletics
Gary Clark – Facilities Management & Planning
Stacy Darveau – Business & Technology
Susan Deiger – Theatre
Gina Garden – Museum of Nebraska Art
Sherri Harms – Computer Science & Information Technology
Timothy Hogins – Facilities Management & Planning
Otis Ingersoll – Nebraska Business & Development Center
Brian James – Facilities Management & Planning
Scott Jochum – Industrial Technology
Anita Lorentzen – English
Richard Simonson – Biology
Daren Snider – Modern Languages
Jane Strawhecker – Teacher Education
Bruce Uden – Facilities Management & Planning

20 Years of Service
Kayla James – Office of the Chancellor
Diana Jones – Student Records
Jon Larsen – Intercollegiate Athletics
Robert Luscher – English
Karen Premer – eCampus
Corliss Sullwold – International Student Services
Richard Wardyn – Facilities Management & Planning
JoLene Williams – Admissions

25 Years of Service
Shelly Fleck – Education
Judy Spivey – Communications
Dee Urwiller – Library
Theresa Wadkins – Psychology

30 Years of Service
Karin Covalt – Assessment Office
Ed Scantling – Academic Services & Enrollment Management

35 Years of Service
Dannien Jones – Natural & Social Sciences
Sherry Morrow – Industrial Technology

40 Years of Service
Jane Sheldon – Business & Finance


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