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Press Releases

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SU Says Farewell to 24 Retirees

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. – William Butler Yeats

Together they represent more than four centuries of experience. Now, Salisbury University says farewell to 24 retiring faculty and staff who helped light that fire for thousands of students throughout the years.

They are (first year at SU in parentheses): Drs. William Grogan (1979), Vaughn Wagner (2001) and Harry Womack (1971) - Biology; Judith Fischer (1976) and Charletta House (1984) – Blackwell Library; Dr. John Tyvoll (1973) - Chemistry; Gerald Patt (1988) - Communication and Theatre Arts; Donna Jackson (1987) – Dining Services; Drs. Darrell Hagar (1974) and Michael Waters (1978) - English; Bobbi Aaron (1977) – Financial Services; Dolores Karamian (1998) – Guerrieri University Center; Drs. Thomas Anastasio (2000), Donald Cathcart (1971) and Earl Quillen (1998) - Mathematics and Computer Science; Estel Holland (1993) – Motor Pool; Dr. Jerry Miller (1972) - Philosophy; Jack Hershberger (1997), Earl Johanson (1996) and Faye Pianka (1988) – Physical Plant; Dr. Harry Basehart (1971) - Political Science; Dr. Liddell Madden (1999) - Social Work; June Dysart (1985) – University Analysis, Reporting and Assessment; and Jeffrey Webb (1987) – University Police.

Each has contributed to their fields and the University in a unique way.

Grogan has seen the Biology Department grow from 10 faculty and about 100 majors when he arrived in 1978 to 30 faculty and some 600 majors today. He has been in charge of the major’s introductory zoology course and taught entomology since the late 1980s and introduced the department’s evolution course in the mid-1990s. Grogran’s nationally known studies in entomology were rewarded when colleagues named eight newly discovered species in his honor—including Thrypticus grogani and Parabezzia grogani—and one genus, Groganhelea. He has also involved many students in his research, which he plans to continue upon retiring.

Wagner taught a variety of courses at SU, including a timely bioterrorism class, earning the University 17 training grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Through this class, he also brought in a plethora of guest speakers to share their expertise not only with students, but with the greater community as well. Other course topics have included epidemiology and air quality. He has taught not only environmental health majors, but also biology majors in co-listed courses such as toxicology.  A nationally recognized expert on bioterrorism, he has served as a security advisor for two Super Bowls during his time at Salisbury.

Womack has seen many changes during his 37 years at SU. In his early years he was the faculty advisor for the first Multicultural Club and the student newspaper The Informer. More recently he served as chair of the SU Forum. He also has become a highly regarded expert on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, heading the Wicomico Environmental Trust and other regional environmental organizations. “In 37 years here, I’ve never considered quitting and never been disgruntled,” said Womack. “SU has been good to me.  My only hope is that I’ve been as good to it.”

Starting as a cataloger, Fischer became head of technical services and then associate director. She also served as interim dean. “Everybody loves Judy, and deservedly,” said Dr. Alice Bahr, dean of libraries and instructional resources. “She is an example of fairness, hard work, and that rare ability to put the library first at all times. She has been instrumental in every major library initiative, from automation to planning for a new building. If the library is the heart of the University, then Judy is the heart of the library.”

Since coming to the Eastern Shore in 1968, House has given her time to and held leadership positions in many organizations. She is past president of the Wicomico Commission for Women, the Salisbury branch of the American Association of University Women and the Democratic Club of Wicomico County. Currently, she is president of the Wicomico Women’s Club and parliamentarian for the USM Women’s Forum Executive Council. “Throughout her 24-year career at Blackwell Library, first as head of circulation and then as reference/special collections librarian, she has been a wonderful library advocate and spokesperson,” said Bahr.

“Dr. John Tyvoll has been a pillar of the Chemistry Department since his arrival in 1973,” said Drs. Fred Kundell and David Rieck, both colleagues. “He served as department chair during the early 1980s and again over these past three years. John is a bright, energetic colleague whose enthusiasm for science serves as an inspiration to everyone around him. His tireless work for the department is deeply appreciated by students and faculty alike. As a teacher, John enlightened and motivated thousands of students, many of whom still remain in contact with him. Throughout his tenure at Salisbury University, John beneficially touched many lives and he will truly be missed.”

Patt has served SU’s Bobbi Biron Theatre Program through 84 productions. “Together we have created productions of every genre and of every major age in theatre history,” said Dr. T. Paul Pfeiffer, director of SU Theatre. “Many years ago, Salisbury State College sponsored galas. Gerry, amidst all of the frenzy of production schedules managed every year to design and execute stunning wall panels and decorative screens for these events. Most recently, he undertook the arduous task of conducting an official self-study of the theatre program. This last act contributed perhaps more than any other action to the successful accomplishment of our long-held dream of creating SU’s new Department of Theatre and Dance.”

Jackson was hired as a contractual food service aide in the Powell Dining Hall in 1982. In 1987, she was promoted to prep cook. In 1997, Jackson was instrumental in the successful opening of the Commons. “From that point, she has worn many hats and handled many duties with great success,” said Michelle Fitz, marketing specialist for University Dining Services. “Donna often stated how happy she was working as part of Dining Services because of her interest in cooking, her dedication to serving the students and the affection she had for her fellow employees.”

Hagar began his SU career as supervisor of the Writing Laboratory, a position which changed first to director of the Writing Center and later to director of developmental studies.  From 1983-1993 he served as dean of graduate and continuing education, then moved to the English Department as Professor.  Since then he has taught a wide range of courses, including the Bible as literature, satire, short story and poetry.  He developed a course based on one of his favorite authors, Patrick O'Brian, about whom he has undertaken several scholarly projects. Beyond the classroom, he served on the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art board of directors from 2002-2006, chairing the board from 2004-2006.  

Waters is completing 30 years of service to SU as “an inspiring teacher and renowned poet and scholar,” said Dr. Elizabeth Curtin, English Department chair. Waters is the author of eight books of poetry. His most recent volume Darling Vulgarity was one of five finalists for the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. He also has edited four poetry anthologies and presented readings and workshops nationally and internationally.  He received numerous fellowships, including a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and residency fellowships, including positions at Yaddo, MacDowell, The Chateau de Lavigny International Writers' Residence Program and the St. James Cavaliere Centre on Malta. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Romania in 2007.

Aaron transferred to SU’s Accounts Payable Office after working for another state agency. “She was knowledgeable in all accounts payable functions due to her diverse experience in all positions within the department,” said Katy Shockley, accounts payable supervisor. “Bobbie was very resourceful in resolving issues for vendors and other departments on campus. She is enjoying retirement with her husband, family and friends. We wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.”

Karamian began her career at SU as a building manager for the Guerrieri University Center. Shortly thereafter she became the center’s day manager. “In this role she quickly became recognized as the person to see if you were scheduled to have an event in the University Center,” said Lawanda Dockins-Gordy, the center’s director. “Over the years her attention to detail and professionalism aided in the overall success of each event held in the facility. We all wish the very best to her in her retirement years.”

“A visiting associate professor of computer science, Dr. Anastasio first came to SU just when we began offering a degree in computer science,” said Dr.  Kathleen Shannon, chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department. “He was the primary force in designing, developing and maintaining our computer science laboratories and has been a major contributor in creating the computer science curriculum here. He actually retired a few years ago but came back in a full-time temporary capacity for the last two years when we needed him. Even though he will not remain a full-time employee I hope he will continue his affiliation with our program for some time to come.”

Cathcart has served SU in a variety of roles. “Most notably, he is a dedicated and respected mathematics educator whose impact will be felt long after he retires,” said Shannon. “A significant number of mathematics teachers and supervisors in the schools in the tri-state region count Dr. Cathcart as one of their mentors.” He coached cross country and track and field in the 1970s and ’80s and more recently has remained involved as a member of the Varsity Club board.  In addition, he has served as department chair, acting dean and associate dean of the Henson School and acting provost.

“A senior lecturer in mathematics, Earl Quillen came to us after a 17-year career in the Delaware school systems as teacher, assistant principal and mathematics supervisor, and he leaves us after 10 years of providing excellent instruction to SU students,” said Shannon. “We were very fortunate to be able to recruit Earl for our department, and although we will miss him, we wish him well in his retirement.”

Holland began driving buses for SU 15 years ago. “During these past 15 years he has provided a wide variety of driving responsibilities that included transporting our athletic teams to competitions, taking academic groups to numerous locations and providing reliable daily shuttle service,” said Colleen Kirby, Motor Pool fleet coordinator. “As the University grew and increased its bus fleet, Estel had to adapt to driving much larger buses, as well as a new shuttle schedule. While change can be chaotic at times, Estel Holland could always be depended on to provide the most dependable, safe and courteous bus transportation service for the students.”

“A professor of philosophy, Dr. Jerome Miller has given SU 36 years of his passionate commitment to philosophy and teaching, of inspiring students to study philosophy and providing guidance to and transforming the lives of so many students,” said Dr. Grace Clement, chair of the Philosophy Department. “He has enriched SU through his leadership in creating and sustaining the philosophy major and the Spring Symposium and through his work supporting diversity on campus and in the University System of Maryland. He has enriched the world of philosophy through his brilliant writing, including two acclaimed books and many important essays. Few teachers have influenced so many so profoundly and so well.”

“As Athletic Complex manager, Jack Hershberger provided many years of invaluable and devoted service,” said Dr. Michael Vienna, director of athletics and recreation. “He was committed to providing the best possible facilities for our University, and as a result of his tireless efforts, he was an instrumental cog in the success of the athletics program. He was always committed to excellence from himself and his staff, and he will surely be missed but not forgotten. We wish him, and his wife Jeannie, all the best in his retirement.”

Johanson has contributed more than 11 years of service to the University. He was a working supervisor in charge of up to 16 student painters and was required to maintain an aggressive five-year repainting cycle of the buildings assigned to him. “Earl processed a vast knowledge of the painting industry and was a resource on which others could depend. He was a team player and an important part of the Physical Plant’s support of Auxiliary Services,” said Robert Maddux, multi-trades supervisor for auxiliaries. “On behalf of the Physical Plant, we wish him all the best.”

“Faye Pianka spent several years in the Facility Services Office working as a housekeeping supervisor II,” said Shirley Pinkett, assistant director of facilities services. “Her dedication to the detailed cleaning operation in her area of assignment was impeccable. Faye is an extremely hard worker. We wish her the very best and hope that she is enjoying her retirement.”

In the past 35 years, Basehart has sent more than 200 interns to the Maryland General Assembly. “That would have been enough for most of us, but Harry pursued two additional visions: the establishment of a separate Political Science Department and with it a major in political science (1983), and the creation of an institute (PACE, 1999) to emphasize the ethical virtue of ‘being political,’” said Dr. Michael O’Loughlin, Political Science Department chair. “In effect, Harry Basehart has not only transformed students, but has had an enduring impact on University, as well.”

“Recruiting and advising students, Liddell Madden has been crucial to the growth of SU’s Social Work/Sociology Program to more than 100 majors,” said Dr. Marvin Tossey, chair of the Social Work Department. The University System of Maryland has honored her for her work in establishing a dual-degree program between SU and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She has been an energetic contributor to University life as well as the greater community, advising student organizations such as the Social Work Club, the Canterbury Club and the Pan-Hellenic Council, working on several University committees and supporting community organizations such as the Ward Museum and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Dysart has served the University Analysis, Reporting and Assessment Office for 23 years. “In our office, June has been referred to as our ‘cruise director,’” said Kara Siegert, director of University Analysis, Reporting and Assessment. “She never forgets a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion for every member of our office. Anyone that visits the UARA House can’t help but notice how June decorates for each and every holiday. Our office will be sadly bare when June leaves us this summer. Her shining personality, warm smile, and infectious laugh will be missed by many across the campus. We wish her continued happiness with her husband, family, and canine companion as she begins the next phase of her life.”

Webb retired from the SU Police Department as the lieutenant in charge of the Criminal Investigations section. “Jeff wore many hats while working here,” said Lt. Bob Brown. “He was the primary investigator, the training coordinator, the property and evidence custodian, and the liaison to the other police departments and agencies in the area. Jeff had worked for two other police departments and one prison in the past, which gave him many contacts with which to exchange information.  He left big shoes to fill (I think they were size 13, actually).”

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at


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