Wayne State College


Alumni eNewsletter | Spring 2010





Christensen Receives State National Bank Teaching Award

Dr. Doug ChristensenDr. Doug Christensen, professor of biology, was presented the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award at the spring 2010 baccalaureate commencement ceremony. This prestigious honor is awarded on the basis of rigorous standards that require a superior level of effective teaching.

President Richard Collings and Phyllis Conner, vice president for development and executive director of the Wayne State Foundation, presented the award. David Ley, the bank's chief executive officer, established the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award in 1998 as a way of recognizing and strengthening outstanding teaching at Wayne State. Ley and the State National Bank of Wayne support the college in many ways, including scholarships and as a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees.

Christensen began his career at Wayne State in 1998 after earning his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in Food Science and Technology and his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Christensen's nomination materials for the award note his contributions to the Wayne State Life Science Department, such as challenging students to increase their critical thinking abilities and being instrumental in bringing undergraduate research opportunities to the college through a joint research program with the University of Nebraska Medical Center.


George Shuck '76 Receives Alumni Achievement Award

George L. ShuckGeorge L. Shuck was presented the Alumni Achievement Award at the Spring 2010 baccalaureate commencement ceremony. He enrolled at Wayne State in the fall of 1973 in the business school and completed his studies at Wayne State in 1976, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting and a minor in economics.

While at Wayne State, Shuck was vice president of the Student Senate and was a member of the tennis team. After graduating from Wayne State, he attended the University of Kansas, graduating with a master of science degree in accounting in 1977.

Shuck began his career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen & Co. as a staff accountant in the auditing division in the company's Kansas City office in 1980. While at Arthur Andersen, Shuck's primary audit focus was on commercial business enterprises primarily in the manufacturing and retail sectors.

Shuck changed his career path from public accounting to private industry in 1985. He became chief financial officer for a computer hardware and software retailer in Kansas City. Another opportunity presented itself a year later and he became a shareholder and president of a T.J. Cinnamons franchise in Memphis, Tenn. Shuck temporarily relocated to Memphis and was actively involved in the entire business operations of the franchise.

After spending two years away from Kansas City, Shuck returned and joined Ferrellgas, Inc., a national propane retailer in Liberty, Mo., as manager of financial accounting and reporting. He was promoted to director of administration services in 1992. In this position, George's responsibilities included the tax, audit and administrative services departments.

Shuck left Ferrellgas and became president and sole stockholder of a custom metal fabricating company in Kansas City in 1995. He sold the business in 2004 after receiving an offer from a local strategic competitor. Shuck assumed the position of vice president and chief financial officer of Clearwater Natural Resources in 2005 where he continues his employment today. Clearwater was founded in 2005 as a private MLP to acquire coal mining businesses in eastern Kentucky.

George and his wife, Deb, make their home in Kansas City, Missouri. They enjoy golf and supporting their alma maters (Deb is a graduate of Kansas State University).  Shuck has been a Trustee of the Wayne State Foundation since 1993 and has hosted two Kansas City alumni reunions.





Carhart Chemistry Labs Among Best in the State

Immediately after spring commencement in 2009, the Phase I renovation of the Carhart Science Building began, and one year later, in May 2010, it is finished. This renovation has been a priority for a very long time, but it is an expensive project; so finding adequate resources has been exceptionally challenging. The project was phased to address the most serious issues first: new roof, windows, heating and cooling, venting and the complete renovation of third floor and the chemistry labs. The Wayne State Foundation was asked by the college to raise $2.4 million, and with help from the State of Nebraska 309 Task Force, Wayne State was able to put a total of $6.7 million in place to fund Phase I. The Wayne State Foundation was pleased to respond, and it was successful because of the support of Alumni, foundations and the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees. The Wayne State Foundation is currently working to raise funds for Phase II.





Wayne State Honors Retiring Faculty

Dr. Jay O'Leary came to Wayne State College 44 years ago in 1966, specializing in music and, specifically, woodwind instruments. He holds bachelor of music education and doctor of musical arts degrees from the University of Colorado. His master of music degree is from Boston University.

He received the Wayne State Foundation Teaching Excellence Award in 1970. Before coming to Wayne, he served as Associate Principal Clarinet and Soloist of the United States Army Field Band of Washington, D.C., during which time he played at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy and the later inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson.

O'Leary was Fine Arts division head at Wayne State for 20 years, and was the director of the Wayne State Summer Music Camp. He was Principal Oboe of the Sioux City Symphony for 40 years, and currently plays in the Sioux City Municipal Band and Siouxland All-America Band.

Dr. Linda Taber began her career as a Wayne State College professor in 1992. She earned her bachelor's degree in history at Penn State University in 1964, her master's degree in history at Rutgers University in 1966 and her doctorate in history at Stanford in 1983.

She served as a visiting professor of history at the University of South Dakota and the University of Iowa before joining the Wayne State faculty full time. Taber taught Wayne State courses in World History, World Civilizations, Ethics and Values, Society and Gender, African History, the Renaissance and the Reformation, and Slavery in a Global Perspective.

She noted in thoughts about her retirement that, "The college has undergone numerous changes in campus and curriculum, but some of the best things about teaching here have remained the same. Every semester I have had the opportunity to teach in fields that interest me, even when my interest took an unexpected turn into the history of slavery, ancient and modern. I appreciate the program flexibility which made it possible to develop and share new interests."





Message from Deb Lundahl, Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Deb Lundahl, Director of Development and Alumni RelationsSpring could not arrive fast enough after our harsh winter. We were delighted to have a warm and sunny afternoon for commencement May 8 when 361 students marched into the beautiful Willow Bowl and received their undergraduate degrees and George Shuck received the alumni achievement award. The graduate degrees were presented in Rice Auditorium to 146 students during the morning.

We have many opportunities for you to connect with friends and classmates during the summer and fall. The Omaha Golf event July 17 as well as the Dakota Dunes event Aug. 23 will be two of the first occasions.  And, this year we are celebrating Wayne State College's centennial birthday!  Please plan to join us for Homecoming, Sept. 24-26, when we will have the final centennial celebration events. This year the honored class years will be 1950, 60, 70, 80, 85, 90, and 2000. Also, plans are underway for a Rural Health Opportunities and Mid-American Rural Health Opportunities alumni reunion, an all-football player reunion and a reunion for everyone who worked on the Spizz. Watch for more details via mail and the Web site and call your friends and encourage them to come join the 2010 Homecoming celebration.

Please check our Web site at www.wsc.edu/alumni for information on upcoming events and reunions and photos of past reunions. We appreciate all of you who use our Web site to update your information and leave us messages. We are working to gather your e-mail addresses so we may use that means to communicate with you for our newsletters and other updates.

Please continue to stay in touch; we love to hear from you and we value your loyalty and friendship. If you are back on campus, please stop by our office, Hahn Room 306, or call me at (402) 375-7209. I would enjoy giving you a tour of the campus.

Deb Lundahl




Upcoming Alumni Events


July 9-11

Chicken Days | www.chickenshow.com

July 17

Reunion - Omaha Golf - Call 402-375-7526 for details

August 23

Reunion - Dakota Dunes Golf  - Call 402-375-7526 for details

August 28

Reunion - Des Moines, IA - Jim Sievers Home - Call 402-375-7526 for details

Sept. 23  

Scholarship Luncheon

Sept. 24-26


December 12

President's Gala

December 17





ALUMNI NOTES | Spring 2010

(Towns and cities listed on these pages are in Nebraska unless noted or generally understood.  All events occurred in 2009 unless indicated otherwise.  Efforts are made to keep our news current.)




Rex Johnson and his wife, Margie, celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary March 2. The couple resides in Bellingham, Wash. Prior to his retirement in 1982 from the position of athletic director and assistant principal in the Bellingham School District, Rex spent his career coaching in Nebraska and Washington. They enjoy traveling and have toured all 50 states, the Pacific, Central America and Asia during their retirement years.



Wanda (Lenton) Philips, of Akron, Iowa, appeared as a guest performer on the "Bonnie Hunt Show" filmed in Culver City, Calif. Wanda writes a column for the local newspaper in Akron and her articles were among those selected for humor in small-town newspapers across the U.S. She began writing after a 35-year career in education.



Neil Edmunds (MSE '60) is a retired University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor and was honored at the 2010 Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day held at the Governor's Mansion. He was a member of the faculty/staff at Wayne State from 1969 to 1977.  Neil and his wife, Carol (Gesiriech '61), reside in Lincoln.



John Tanner (MAE '66) resides in Upland, Calif. After a career in education, John enjoys his retirement as the owner of an antique clock business, purchasing and restoring antique clocks.



Richard D. Jordan and his wife, Deborah, have lived in Australia since 1974. They reside in the city of Creswick. Richard retired from the University of Ballarat after teaching in the English department for 30 years.



Joyce (Brdicko) Dean and her husband, Ivan, serve as co-pastors of First Presbyterian Church, Beaver City. Joyce taught at West Point Schools for several years before becoming a commissioned lay pastor.



Nancy (Robinson) Nish resides in Canton, Mo. She is employed with Culver-Stockton College, Canton, serving as the coordinator of Career and Internship Services. Nancy is pictured with her daughter, Natalie, a senior at Canton High School.



Charles Cooper has led Special Olympics Nebraska as CEO for the past six years and successfully bid the 2010 Games at which time he assumed the position of President/CEO for the 2010 Games. Predicted as this year's largest sporting event, the games will be held in July at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.  The games will host the largest civilian airlift in the world July 17 when 300 donated private jets begin landing at Duncan Aviation, Lincoln. The jets will land every 90 seconds for 12 consecutive hours making it, for that day, the busiest airport in the world. Charles and his wife, Sandra, live in Omaha and are the parents of two grown children and grandparents to two.



Kevin Saunders has been elected to the Board of Directors for the National Association of Credit Managers. Kevin and his wife, Cindy, reside in Olathe, Kan. He serves as the district credit manager for Crescent Electric Supply, Kansas City, Mo.



Clyde Stuhr is a 19-year Air Force veteran, with the present commission of lieutenant colonel. He marked his 200th career combat mission in the F-15E Strike Eagle, surpassing more than 700 combat hours, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom efforts from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Upon redeploying to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C., he assumed duties as the 4th Fighter Wing Inspector General.



Joe Shinstock and his wife, Diane, reside in Roseville, Calif.  They were married Jan. 23 and are employed with Protandim.



Kim (Hansen) Kai and her husband, Matt, announce the birth of daughter, Callie, on Nov. 9. She is welcomed to their home in Pender by brother, Cale (5). Kim is employed at The Pender Times.



Angie (Nichols) Jager and her husband, Jeff, announce the birth of daughter, Emery May, on Dec. 23. She is welcomed to their home in Rock Rapids, Iowa, by sister Ella (4). Angie is director of the Rock Rapids Chamber of Commerce.



Gregra (Williamson) Derby and her husband, Nick, announce the birth of Zacary Jace on March 9. They reside in Omaha. Gregra is the local client relations manager at The Knot.



Crystal Lutjens and Don Kula were united in marriage Sept. 19. She is an infant/toddler teacher at Early Head Start, Columbus. The couple resides in Monroe.



Lindsey (Stockwell) Mosel received a Doctor of Medicine degree at commencement ceremonies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha on May 8.



Jeremy Fajman received a master of arts in theatre degree from the University of Central Mssouri, Warrensburg, Mo. Jeremy resides in Columbus.



Timothy McKenna, Bloomington, Ill., received his master's in communication degree from Illinois State University in May. He has accepted a full tuition waiver and assistantship at Ohio University where he will continue his education to obtain his Ph.D.





  • Pauline (Murray) Elliott '35, (94), Ames, Iowa; April 22.
  • Eleanor (Severson) Clemon '40, (88), Sioux City, Iowa; Jan. 1.
  • Lila (Brauer) Johring '41, (91), O'Neill; March 31.
  • Delia (Welch) Miller '41, (88), Kansas City, Mo.; March 3.
  • Lila L. Fletcher '47, (94), Norfolk; March 5.
  • Marian (Sandahl) Biermann '47, (83), Wisner; Jan. 19.
  • E. Lee Farber '57, (79), Fort Dodge, Iowa; Feb. 20.
  • Duane H. Mackey '60, (71), Vermillion, S.D.; March 11.
  • Paul F. McKeever '60, (72), Bennington; Nov. 15.
  • Gail (Vasek) Otten '63, (67), York; March 4.
  • LaVeryl (Nelson) Tharpe '63, (66), Charlotte, N.C.; April 19.
  • Cathy (McGrew) Shrauger '66, (65), Casselberry, Fla.; Mar. 22.
  • Sandra (Whitehurst) Dahlkoetter '72, MSE '93, (62), Stanton; March 6.
  • Jeffrey A. Gross '75, (58), Omaha; Jan. 4.
  • Joyce (Goodman) Rohlfs '75, (29), Osmond; March 12.
  • Lloyd G. Arie '76, (56), Fremont; May 5.
  • Leona (Ingram) Kloepper '79, (80), Neligh; Feb. 17.
  • Merlyn W. Weddingfeld '81, (83), Hartington; March 5.