Six retiring faculty members honored at FHSU reception

HAYS, KS - Friends and colleagues said farewell Thursday to six members of the Fort Hays State University faculty who are retiring in the current academic year. Altogether, the six retirees represent about180 years of service to the university.

The wine and cheese Faculty Retirement Reception took place at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Black and Gold Ballroom of the Memorial Union.

"We think of our students, staff, alumni and faculty as family, so whenever members of the faculty retire, we have a mixed reaction," Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, said. "We feel a sense of loss because we'll miss them, but we also wish them well as they embark on an exciting new chapter in their lives. The annual reception gives the university a chance to show our thanks to the retiring faculty for their many years of service."

Dr. Larry Gould, FHSU provost, introduced Dr. Ron Sandstrom, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, who presented retiree Dr. Elton Beougher, Dr. Al Geritz, chair of the Department of English, who presented retiree Dave Ison, and Dr. Maurice Witten, retired professor of physics, who presented retiree Dr. Roger Pruitt. Beougher, Ison and Pruitt each shared reminisences about their years at the university. Three other retirees, Marilyn Coffey, Dr. Jim Forsythe and Dr. Paul Gatschet, were unable to attend the reception.

The six retirees:
Dr. Elton Beougher, professor of mathematics and computer sciences, came to FHSU in 1958 as a student. He joined the faculty 10 years later as an assistant professor of mathematics and over the past 32 years he held a variety of positions both at the university and with professional organizations. He chaired the Department of Mathematics from 1973 to 1982. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from FHSU and a Ph.D. in math education from the Univesity of Michigan in 1968. Elton said he was not surprised that he spent his career at FHSU because it was like coming home. "I'm a western Kansan. I've enjoyed the wide open spaces," he said. He plans to pursue his hobbies and visit his grandchildren in retirement.

Marilyn Coffey arrived at FHSU in 1988. Her education background includes a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1959 and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Brooklyn College in 1981. As an associate professor of English at FHSU, she was acknowledged for her contributions to the world of literature. Marilyn plans to dedicate even more time to writing during her retirement in Nebraska. She has finished writing two poems and is working on a novella.

Dr. James "Jim" Forsythe held numerous positions while at FHSU. He arrived in 1963 as an assistant professor of history. In 1968, he was promoted to associate professor and in 1971, a professor. From 1975 to 1981 he served as chair of the Department of History. He became the dean of the Graduate School in 1981 and added the position of vice-provost of academic affairs in 1993. He received a B.S. in history from North Texas State University in 1960, an M.A. in history from North Texas State University in 1962 and a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico in 1971. He wrote a book documenting the history of FHSU, "The First 75 Years: A History of Fort Hays State University, 1902-1977," and is working on making major revisions to update it for the university's Centennial in 2002. He and his wife, Sherrill, will continue to live in the Hays community.

Dr. Paul Gatschet started his association with Fort Hays State University as an undergraduate student in 1955. He earned a B.A. in English in 1957, an M.S. in Industrial Education in 1960 and an Ed.S. in Curriculum in 1967. He then continued his association with FHSU by joining the faculty as an instructor of English in the fall of 1967. In 1973, Paul took a leave of absence in order to complete a Ph.D. from Kansas State University and then returned to FHSU, where he was chosen in 1974 to chair the Department of English. He fulfilled that responsibility until 1983, when he was called upon by President Tomanek to serve two years as director of Forsyth Library. In 1985, he returned to the English Department and subsequently was appointed director of composition, a task he was devoted to until his retirement in January 2000. In retirement, Paul wants to do some traveling with his wife, Carolyn, a former instructor of nursing at FHSU.

David "Dave" L. Ison joined the FHSU faculty in the Division of Language, Literature and Speech in August 1965. He retired from his position as an associate professor of English on Jan. 14, 2000. He has been awarded emeritus status. Prior to coming to FHSU, he received a B.A. in education from Central State College in Oklahoma in 1961 and an M.A. in English from Oklahoma State University in 1965. In an attempt to mix teaching with campus involvement, he served in Faculty Senate and was president of the Faculty Association. Since leaving Hays, Dave and his wife, Harriett, have retired to their dream home on Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Grove, OK.

Dr. Roger Pruitt came to FHSU in 1970. As a professor of physics at FHSU, he taught a variety of classes ranging from general education physics to star gazing and model rockets. He has been on phased retirement for two years and has only taught during the spring semesters. He received a B.S. in secondary education from the University of Kansas in 1959, and an M.S. in physics in 1967 and a doctorate in physics in 1969, both from Colorado State University. In retirement, Roger and his wife, Ruth, plan to stay in Hays to enjoy the many advantages of living in a university town.

Back to Index

Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |