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Seven Faculty Members Retire at End of Spring Semester

Dr. Kent Blaser, Professor of History
Kent Blaser, Ph.D., came to Wayne State in 1979. His teaching and research interests include historiography and the philosophy of history; Nebraska and the Great Plains; and the history of Wayne State College. Dr. Blaser was head of the college’s Division of Social Sciences from 1984 to 1989; director of Wayne State’s Honors Program, 1993-1994; president of Mid-America American Studies Association, 1995-1996; and editor of Midwest Review from 1983 to 1994, among many academic accomplishments. He earned his bachelor’s in U.S. history from Kansas State University and his Ph.D. from University of North Carolina, (Chapel Hill) in American History. He previously taught at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Dr. Christopher Bonds, Professor of Music
Chris Bonds, Ph.D., taught at Wayne State for 28 years. Dr. Bonds was chair of the music department from 2004 to 2007. He said he considers his greatest accomplishments at Wayne State to be the students he has taught who have gone on to have successful careers in music. Dr. Bonds was hired as string instructor/orchestra conductor in the Fine Arts Division. He previously taught at Ball State University, Carroll College, Elmira College and Whitman College. He earned his bachelor’s of music and master’s of music at Arizona State University and his Ph.D. from University of Iowa.

Dr. James Curtiss, Professor of Education
James Curtiss, Ph.D., was a professor of education at Wayne State for 14 years.  Dr. Curtiss was a music teacher for 24 years in Nebraska public schools. He earned his bachelor of music education degree from Indiana University in 1966; his master of arts degree in music education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1972; and his doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1998. Dr. Curtiss also served as a music teacher and chair of the Fine Arts Department from 1978 to 1990 for Sidney Public School in Sidney, Neb.; music teacher and chair of the curriculum committee from 1968 to 1978 for Chappell Public School in Chappell, Neb.; and music teacher from 1966 to 1968 for Bladen Public School, in Bladen, Neb.


Dr. Janet Gilligan, Professor of English
Janet Gilligan, Ph.D., came to Wayne State in 1988. Among her many accomplishments, she has mentored more than 100 English education student teachers.  Dr. Gilligan initiated the Language Arts Festival, an annual Wayne State College event that hosts for students in grades seven through 12, which is now in its fifth year. She also won the The Balsley-Whitmore Teaching Excellence Award in 2009, funded by an endowment established by Howard Balsley and Irol Whitmore Balsley, is given annually to a faculty member in English who embodies the teaching mission of WSC. Dr. Gilligan earned her bachelor’s of science in education from Saint Mary of the Woods College, master’s in English from Northern Illinois University, and Ph.D. in English from Northern Illinois (concentration in Middle English Literature). She previously taught at Hamilton College, Northern Illinois University, and Universite de Nantes, France.

Dr. Richard Keenan, Associate Professor of Communication
 Richard Keenan, Ph.D., has taught for 15 years at Wayne State. Dr. Keenan has developed new and expanded classes in public relations and presented research findings at national and international gatherings of the Popular Culture Association each year during the past 15 years.  He has been an active participant in community service with his church and plans a career change to church ministry work. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from University of Michigan, master’s in communication from University of Illinois, and Ph.D . from City University of Los Angeles. Dr. Keenan previously taught at Mary College, East Carolina University, J.C. Smith University and Theil College.

Vic Reynolds, Professor of Art
Vic Reynolds, M.F.A., was hired as full-time tenure-track faculty in 1988. Reynolds was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. After retiring from Wayne State, Reynolds plans to continue to work in his studio in Wayne. Reynolds works using a wide variety of art materials in the creation of paintings, drawings, and digital images. While serving a tour in Vietnam (U.S. Army 116th Combat Engineers), Reynolds was selected to be part of the U.S. Army Combat Art Team Vlll, which was assigned by the Army Historian in Washington D.C. to depict and create impressions of the Vietnam War. He received his bachelor’s and master of fine arts degree from the University of Idaho and taught previously at the University of Nevada and the University of Alabama. 


Frank Teach, Director of Student Activities and Instructor of Physical Education

Frank Teach, M.A., was hired nearly 40 years ago to run the college’s new intramural sports program. Teach also developed the student activities program, which reached out to students to involve them in the coordination of campus activities. He earned his bachelor’s degree and a master’s in education from Wayne State. During his master’s program, he served as a graduate assistant for baseball coach Fred Pierce.



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