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Undergraduate research in chemistry
I came to ISUE-USI in 1969. I left a very good position as an industrial research chemist for Phillips Petroleum Company to come to ISUE. I always wanted to teach and I saw ISUE as a place I thought would grow. I was excited to have the opportunity to be in on the “ground floor” with all of the opportunities and challenges that were apparent.

I always thought that undergraduate research was an important component of a chemistry major’s education, and when I first came to ISUE it was almost non-existent. My first major push was to develop a strong undergraduate research experience for our students. The biggest challenge was to find dedicated laboratory space. I remember the only place we could find to do research was in a corner of the physics stockroom. We also found some space in the chemical storage room.

Despite these difficulties, we had success. It wasn't until the year I retired that we finally got suitable dedicated space. Our research success helped us obtain a National Science Foundation grant to renovate the laboratories and to receive a sizeable donation from Dr. Paul W. Torrington. Dr. Torrington funded the equipment for our organic synthesis research laboratory, which I had the privilege of designing. This is the type of laboratory I had hoped for and planned for 30 years. Unfortunately, I decided to retire the year it was completed and never got to conduct research in this laboratory. I did feel pride in the fact that patience and hard work had finally paid off at least for the future faculty and students.

"In my last four years at USI the students in my group synthesized over 50 new chemical compounds. This was a phenomenal achievement for undergraduate students."

In the 1980s when we became USI, I felt we were presented with additional challenges. I felt that now research was even more important if we were going to compete against IU and Purdue for state funding. I guess for political reasons or for reasons I never fully understood we always talked about regional research. I tended to state the regional importance of my research, but as far as I was concerned the students who worked in my group did things of fundamental importance to the field of chemistry. In my last four years at USI the students in my group synthesized over 50 new chemical compounds. This was a phenomenal achievement for undergraduate students. In these four years they presented a total of 23 papers on their work at the American Chemical Society Midwest Regional Meeting at Osage Beach, Missouri; the American Chemical Society Regional Meeting in Midland, Michigan; the Undergraduate Poster Session sponsored by the Indiana-Kentucky Border Section of the American Chemical Society; the National American Chemical Society Meeting in Chicago, Illinois; the 18th Annual Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) Area Collegiate Chemistry Meeting at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky; and at the National American Chemical Society Meeting, in Boston. Our students brought national and international recognition to the University.

The success of our chemistry majors has not been just because of their strong chemistry background. It is because they have been advised to take a wide variety of courses from other disciplines. My advisees were put in courses that were rigorous and taught by a highly trained and caring faculty. I see this as a major challenge as the University grows. When we were smaller I personally knew all the faculty and I knew who were the strongest members. I tended to put my students in these classes. Even as we grow, it is imperative that the faculty from all disciplines know one another and communicate with one another about how their advisees are doing in other classes. I used this personal contact with other faculty members to keep track of and to encourage my students to do well in classes outside of their major. This personal interest in students is a major factor in their success. This aspect of my job became harder as the size of the University grew, but the faculty must keep up with this challenge for the sake of our students.

I have never regretted leaving a much higher paying position to come to ISUE-USI. The challenges were as I expected and the enjoyment of my career at USI exceeded my expectations. The students I have had made my career very satisfying. Their success has always been a pride of mine. So many students have done well in their careers. Many have gone on for their master and doctoral degrees and others have become dentists, physicians, and optometrists. I am proud of all of them. I retired at the right time. I feel that I went out on a high and I am still on a high. Thanks USI for giving me such a rewarding career.

Dr. Howard Dunn
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

That was a long time ago, but I do remember all the professors taking a special interest in the students, helping us get through the tough classes. I especially have fond memories of Wanda Hibbitts who was my accounting professor and through her encouragement and dedication to her students, I selected accounting as my major. She was a great professor. I attribute the successes I have had in my career to the opportunities afforded me by USI (ISUE). I was not financially able to attend a University away from Evansville and if not for ISUE, I would not have earned a degree. Thank you, USI, for giving me the opportunity for an education and fulfilling life.

Mark Neidig ’76, accounting
Senior Vice President
Old National Bank

Bones or bonds?
One of my favorite things was going to Dr. [J. Eliseo] DaRosa's economics class. I remember him explaining the elasticity of the bone. The class said, “Bone...?” He responded, “Bones! Bones! U.S. Government Bones!” Another good memory was business law class with Jack Engleke. I enjoyed the way he treated the class like we were in law school. It was very much fun, and I am sure he inspired some of our classmates to go to law school.

David Raibley ’73, business administration
Owner, Two Men and a Truck
Evansville, Indiana

I look back and cherish the beginning of the radio station and working with Dr. Ken Creech. So many stories could be told about the snowy mornings sliding into the station to do the morning news. I so clearly remember that dreadful June 8 tornado that turned our tower into a metal pretzel.

The improvisation games of Doug Hubell [associate professor of theatre] have helped me to this day. I was a clown then and only grew better from those experiences. I will forever remember the first clown picture I received from his daughter. It still has a very special place in my house and my heart.

Terry Ricketts ’83, communications
Communications Consultant and leader of the Volunteer Clown Troupe
Arizona Public Service
Phoenix, Arizona

President David Rice — unassuming but confident
"I was so taken by his modest, unassuming, yet confident manner, that my next thought was, "I'd like to work for him." I was not disappointed."
During my job interview visit to the USI campus, I was invited to lunch with a large table of senior administrators. I confess that I hadn't done enough homework to know the president's name, so when David Rice introduced himself, I didn't realize that he was the president. At the table, everyone participated in a free-flowing discussion of issues at USI and how my experiences might relate to them; it wasn't until about halfway through the hour that it struck me, "This guy must be the president." I was so taken by his modest, unassuming, yet confident manner, that my next thought was, "I'd like to work for him." I was not disappointed.

Dr. Phil Fisher
Dean Emeritus, College of Business
Professor Emeritus of Management

Impression of faculty
My first experience with USI was in 1989 when I did recruitment for a small hospital in Southern Indiana. I visited several universities throughout the state and will always remember the impression I had of USI was how respectful and kind both the faculty and the students were. This was before the Health Professions Center even existed and the faculty were so excited about the plans! I believe it was a great gift to have that “first impression” before actually joining the work force here this year [2005]. I have to say the same kindness and respect is still very evident in the professionals here.

Mellisa Hall
Instructor in Nursing

Joe Sayyah Memorial Screenwriting Award
Joe Sayyah was an extraordinary student at USI—a Vietnam vet who completed his undergraduate and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degrees here. He had recurring cancer linked to Agent Orange, and for his MALS project he decided to write a screenplay. He studied with me as an undergraduate in many creative writing courses, but always lamented the fact that we didn’t offer screenwriting. When he was told that he was out of remission, and that he would not live long, he nevertheless wrote and finished an excellent screenplay, and graduated with his MALS. Because of Joe, we now have a screenwriting class in which every student completes a full-length screenplay in a semester—quite an accomplishment for any person! The Joe Sayyah Memorial Screenwriting Award is given at Honors Day to a promising young screenwriter, in honor of Joe’s courage, gifts, and love of life.

Patricia Aakhus
Instructor in English

37 years on faculty
I want to express my appreciation to the University for giving me the opportunity to be a member of the USI family for 37 years. I loved being on the faculty of the fastest-growing state university in Indiana. It is a compliment to you and the administration that the enrollment has grown from 412 in 1965 to over 10,000 in 2004.

It was an honor to be part of an outstanding Communications Department which has made great progress under the leadership of Dr. Dal Herring. I enjoyed working with creative and resourceful colleagues whom I respected and teaching students who were eager to learn. Teaching at USI was a wonderful life experience. I was challenged, inspired, and motivated throughout my career.

I thank the University for hosting a reception for this year’s [2004] retirees. The presence of administrators, faculty, and friends sharing this event with us was a lovely tribute.

Having a scholarship established in my name is a great honor. It will benefit many deserving communications studies students who will receive tuition assistance allowing them to pursue their academic goals.

Last of all, I was happy to receive the exquisitely crafted commemorative captain’s chair. It will occupy a special place in my home and always be a reminder of my treasured years at USI.

Mary A. Schroeder
Assistant Professor Emerita of Communications

Achieving my professional goal
It is with great respect that I communicate this letter to you, Dr. Hoops, as well as the serving board that guides my college alma mater, the University of Southern Indiana. I am sure that you often get mailings from satisfied graduates as well as some literature that is not always so welcome. After thinking about what my undergraduate education has meant to me, I decided the time to share with the current school leadership was long overdue.

This is what USI has given me: a Presidential Scholarship from 1993-1997, an Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity brotherhood, a variety of clubs and activities that offered leadership opportunities, a student teaching experience at Reitz High School, an English Academic Achievement Award, not to mention a ton of friends, three of whom were in my wedding a few years ago (incredibly, each of the three were in a different fraternity than my own!). So, what happened after I walked out of Roberts Stadium [following Commencement] back in May of 1997? Well, I was an English teacher and coach at Evansville Harrison, then an athletic director/assistant principal at Eastern Greene Junior/Senior High School, and now I have achieved my professional career goal: a principal’s position at Loogootee Junior/Senior. High School.

"I sincerely would not have had the chance to go to a four-year school without the Presidential Scholarship."

After graduating from Washington Catholic as valedictorian in 1993, I sincerely would not have had the chance to go to a four-year school without the Presidential Scholarship. In fact, I was the first member of my family to go to college. The scholarship program let me accomplish my goals. I often think about what I would be doing without my college education. I worked with several fine individuals employed at your institution, and I want to personally recognize them for their impact on my college years: Dr. John Gottcent, English professor, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had; Mr. Tim Mahoney, economics, a person who seems to know and work with every single student on campus; Mr. Ray Simmons, sports information, a gentleman who loved his job and gave me a chance to work with him in all facets of athletics; Mrs. Ruth Waller, intramural director, a wonderful woman who was no-nonsense and tough; Dr. Jeanne Barnett, biology and Presidential Scholar coordinator, an incredibly intelligent, diligent, and understanding professor; and Mr. Barry Schonberger, dean of students, who served as a counselor and trusted my sincerity when I found myself in a difficult situation on campus. These people are just a few of those who stand out in my mind for their commitment to my well-being and success as a student.

I would also be remiss if I failed to mention my brother, Brian, who also attended as a Presidential Scholar, graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1998, went on to a Ph.D. in polymer chemistry from the University of Southern Mississippi, and came back to live in the area and work at GE. He also teaches in the evening as an adjunct in the Chemistry Department. Brian, too, served as a role model and friend, besides a little brother, while at USI. On behalf of the Mullen family, thank you for USI and everything the school has done to help students like us reach their dreams.

John P. Mullen ’97, English
Principal, Loogootee Junior/Senior High School
Loogootee, Indiana

First in mining
My favorite memory was my graduation in May 1979. I was part of a first at Indiana State University Evansville. I was part of and the only female in the first graduating class receiving a B.S. in mining engineering technology.

Gay Bauwens ’79, mining engineering technology
Boise, Idaho

Achieving a goal
Twenty years ago I was a young woman in my early 30s. I had been employed with the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation in the business 0ffice for 14 years. I was encouraged by my mentor, Mr. Patrick Henry, to enroll at USI and earn a degree so that I could possibly grow with the E-VSC and someday be the budget director.

My special memory of USI is of the two deans who went out of their way to talk with me and set me on my way of achieving my goal of earning a college degree. I first had a meeting with Dr. [Charles] Bertram, dean of education. As we talked, he realized I needed to see Dr. [Kenneth] Settle, dean of business. He made a phone call and Dr. Settle met with me immediately.

Dr. Bertram and Dr. Settle were both professional and very pleasant. They set the USI attitude. After night classes of 16 years, I earned my degree in business administration.

Thanks to Mr. Henry, Dr. Settle, and the late Dr. Bertram!

Debra E. Wells ’00, business administration
Director of Budget, Extra-Curricular and Finances/Treasurer
Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation
Treasurer, Association of School Administrators
Treasurer, USI Alumni Council

Late papers
Dr. Chuck Petranek [professor of sociology] was my advisor. His classes were always interesting, and he has a great sense of humor. He once asked me if I had been born late and I responded, “Yes, I was about 10 days late.” His response was, “You can't help it. If your papers are a few days late, I won't deduct points.” He once told our class that a student had been to Columbia and brought him back a pound. After waiting for class reaction, he finished, “of coffee.”

Teresa Marchant Dreier ’83, sociology
St. Louis, Missouri

Hands-on experiences
"These hands-on experiences in education taught me so much more than I learned through my textbooks. The field experience programs were well structured, practical, and helped prepare me to be an effective teacher. "
I value the opportunities for education field experiences I received while at USI because they effectively prepared me for teaching students within my own classroom. I remember teaching computer art to young children through the USI Saturday art program as directed by Dr. Joseph Uduehi, associate professor of art education. Another valuable experience was the opportunity to teach art to children for the Extended Services Super Summer programs as directed by Ginger Ramsden. Janet Greer, instructor in teacher education, supervised my field experiences at Helfrich Park School teaching Grade 6 Language Arts ISTEP remediation. Another extraordinary learning experience was teaching art under the supervision of Greg Roeder at Thompkins School as arranged by Dr. Bob Mays. These hands-on experiences in education taught me so much more than I learned through my textbooks. The field experience programs were well structured, practical, and helped prepare me to be an effective teacher.

Ann M. Nagy ’02, visual art
Art Teacher
Reitz Memorial High School and
Westside Consolidated School
Evansville, Indiana

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