A UNK staple for 41 years, Pam Proskocil retiring from Department of History

Name: Pam Proskocil
Job Title: Office Associate, UNK Department of History
Years at UNK: 41
Career Path: I started as a part-time secretary for the History Department in 1977 then added in part-time secretary for the Criminal Justice Department. In 1987 I became full time for the History Department and have remained in that position 41 years. In that time, I have worked for nine different department chairs and countless faculty.
Family: Husband, Vern; Daughter Jessie Thoene and her husband, Will, of Kearney; Daughter Kelsey Borden and her husband, Andrew, of Kearney; Two granddaughters.

Hobbies/Interests: I like to fish, especially for crappie at our lake cabin at Sherman Reservoir. I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family.

Three words that describe your personality? Forthright, rule follower.

Share something about yourself that few people know? Although there might be more people that know this than I would like to admit, I am an avid storm watcher. Before the smart phone, I had one of the first portable weather boxes to keep me informed.  Sometimes people make fun of me, but when the weather gets bad they seek me out.

What do you like most about your job? Interaction with students. It is always interesting to meet them, and they keep me young.

Biggest change you’ve seen at UNK since you started? I started here when the University was Kearney State College. Just about everything has changed since then, but the biggest change I have experienced is in technology. When I first started I had only typed on a manual typewriter. The electric typewriter was a great innovation. I spent many hours typing and mimeographing documents. Next came the first computer, and on and on. Now I have a computer, a copier, a tablet and a smart phone.

Best career advice you received? Who gave it to you? I got most of my best advice from a former department chair, and later dean, Mike Schuyler. He told me not to worry about the small stuff. There isn’t much you can do about it anyway. It was during his years as chair when I started to feel I was part of a team. He would always listen to what I had to say and made me feel that my input was valuable. Plus he always told great jokes.

What is your favorite thing about UNK? I love the fall semester when all the new students move in and start a new phase of their life. I love the feeling in the air. A friend of mine used to say she could “smell school starting.”

Where is your favorite place to visit on campus? The Nebraskan Student Union. I love to go over there when students are there. It always seems so upbeat, and of course I like the fast food! Since I am an avid shopper I always like to stop in the bookstore and see what they have on clearance.

Biggest challenge you faced in your time at UNK? Budget cuts. Through my time here there have been several times we have had to do more with less. There were years we would make copies on the back of previous copies to save money. One summer we worked Four 10-hour days to conserve electricity. We always made it through the difficult times, but it was a challenge.

What qualities make someone successful in your position? Initiative and hard work. Taking an interest in UNK and attending different events helps people stay connected and develop a sense of belonging. I have probably spent more waking hours here than with my own family, so to be successful you need to take pride and ownership in your surroundings.

How do you measure success, in terms of your career? The fact that I still have contact with former staff, students and faculty. Some of these people have become lifelong friends.

Tell us about the time in your life at UNK when you worked the hardest? When the History Department decided to develop an online graduate program my workload increased dramatically. For the first years of the new program it was up to the chair, tgraduate chair and me to get everything done. I would wake up at 3 a.m. and remember something that needed to be done. It was soon apparent that one person could not do it all. Later we hired two online program coordinators, and I could finally go home and sleep at night.

What is your fondest memory of UNK? My fondest memories come from the Kearney State College days. We were a small group of individuals housed in very close quarters. Most of us took the time to stop and visit with others and really got to know each other.

3 thoughts on “A UNK staple for 41 years, Pam Proskocil retiring from Department of History

  1. Congratulations again Pam ! Thanks for leading me to my career at UNK/UNMC – I would not be here without you!
    You have provided many memories and laughs over the years ! I hope you have a wonderful retirement, fishing
    and spending time with your family and grands ! I will still think of you whenever and wherever a storm warning comes out !!

  2. Congratulations Pam and thank you so much for your kind words about Mike. They did bring a big smile to his face, as did the part about your storm watching! Mike and I both wish you the very best in your retirement!

    Sue S.

  3. Pam,

    WOW 41 years! I know that you will enjoy yourself and the extra time with your family. 🙂

    You gave me my work study job when UNK was Kearney State College, and I remember that mimeograph machine. 🙂 I also got to know Dr. Davis through my job in the History department. Those were the good old days. I remember you listening to the radio for clues to buried treasure. You always kept us laughing. 🙂

    I wish you well!

    Tammy (Falk) Gonzalez

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