Retirees Reflect on Their Careers
Dr. Murella Bosse, Dr. Bill Haskins, Dr. Martha Eggers and Linda Gordon leave behind a remarkable legacy—a collective 114 years of hard work, commitment, dedication and influence. We asked them to reflect on their McKendree careers, share some parting thoughts and tell us what they look forward to in retirement.
Dr. Murella Bosse, professor of psychology, joined the faculty in 1973. It is no exaggeration to say she has influenced every student on campus for years, as she led the development of the University 101 course.
I am proudest of our people and students, more specifically:
• The growth of the psychology program from one professor and 12 majors to four professors, 10 adjuncts and 115-plus majors.
• The admission of psychology students to graduate schools (and every spring the list of these students posted on my office door, an idea I discovered at Technos Institute in Tokyo).
• The development of what is now known as University 101 (with the help of a lot of really creative and sharing professors).
• The development of the internship program (with the encouragement of my mentor and the former academic dean, Dr. Emerial Owen).
I’m also pretty happy about the congratulatory line of faculty at the end of the commencement ceremony. (I got that idea from my son’s commencement at Knox College and Dr. Folk helped me to implement it.)
I will miss the classroom interaction with students, and the creativity involved in designing new courses.
Retirement will allow time for oil painting, hugging my grandsons more, Stephen Ministries, working out in the gym, and auditing courses in art, economics and calculus. And traveling to see Paris and its art, to Hilton Head Island to visit my new grandson, and to an island in Canada for a week with my family at my oldest son’s cabin. I love islands.
My advice? Time really goes fast. Start cleaning out your office now.
Dr. Bill Haskins, professor of speech communication, taught at the university level for 43 years, the last 27 at McKendree.
Some of my proudest moments include receiving the United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award and the Grandy Faculty Award. They highlight what I love to do—teach my student scholars! There are few joys that match the feeling of knowing when they not only “get” what I am discussing, but are able to apply the information to benefit their lives, and those they touch.
I am proud and humbled by the scholarly endeavors that I have been encouraged to pursue, including more than 50 publications, presentations, a book and monographs. They have helped me be a better teacher and have exposed my students to current thinking in the field of communication. As scholars, our professional obligation is to seek knowledge by exploring topics that contribute to development of our profession and our students. I hope that in some small way this was met.
Finally, I had the rare opportunity to be both Associate Dean and Academic Dean, privileged to work with a variety of staff personnel, teachers and students throughout the McKendree community. There were many challenging times, but we always seemed to pull together to make this institution a little better each day.
I will miss the camaraderie with faculty, staff and students. I hope to maintain some of those ties by attending events or by visiting campus now and then to share a cup of coffee and a laugh with friends.
During retirement, my wife Linda and I hope to return to China. I may teach at one of the universities and tour parts of China and other Asian countries. We also want to do more fun stuff with our family: travel, play tennis, take dance lessons and just do silly stuff together! I thank my family for helping me to stay focused on what truly matters in life: love, respect, and kindness for each other.
Dr. Martha Eggers, assistant professor of education, was one of only four Education Department members when she began teaching at McKendree in 1984. In 28 years she has been part of the program’s amazing growth.
My career at McKendree has been rewarding and inspiring. Through it all I’ve been blessed with several colleagues who have become lifelong friends and with many students who are now friends.
I have many special memories. In the early days I worked very closely with a colleague who was highly revered by the faculty, administrators and students. Measuring up to her quality was a huge challenge. Fortunately, she mentored me, patiently answered my questions, modeled academic advising, freely offered advice and encouragement, listened to my experiences, and guided me in many ways. Our program was growing very quickly in my early years, and we were teaching, advising and placing students for field experiences and student teaching. I still remember where many of our students taught because I personally selected their cooperating teachers and supervised them during student teaching. Our efforts focused on our students, to better prepare them for their teaching profession.
I am most proud of the excellent reputation our School of Education has among area K-12 school administrators and teachers, thanks to the dedication of our EDU faculty over the years and the excellence of our EDU graduates. I am so proud of the professional educators many of our students (now teacher candidates) have become, whether they are excellent, caring classroom teachers or school administrators. I am especially proud of those that persevered to overcome obstacles as they continued their schooling; juggled family, part-time jobs or athletic responsibilities; met our high standards or set and met their own high standards; and grew into mature, highly effective educators. As a former mathematics educator, I have special pride in my contributions to help prepare new mathematics educators for all grade levels.
I will miss the camaraderie with my EDU colleagues and others throughout the campus who have always respected and supported me and who work so hard in support of the students.
I now look forward to a different balance and priorities: less time doing reports and more time better preparing for the teaching I will continue to do; less time doing committee work and more time with family and friends; and less time doing assessments in Live Text and more time not feeling guilty about spending time doing what I want to do in my personal life.
As a faculty member, I tried to base decisions on what I thought was in the best interest of, and most fair to, the faculty as a whole. As an instructor, I tried to base decisions on what I thought would benefit my students in the long term, even if it resulted in extra work or less convenience for me. As education generally, and education programs specifically, have more accountability requirements, I hope faculty and administrators never lose sight of our primary purpose: educating students to be the best people and professionals they can be. We are here for the students!
Linda Gordon, a faculty secretary for 20 years, calmed the nerves of many a stressed out professor from her first office in Clark Hall, later in Piper Academic Center, and eventually in Carnegie, where she remained a cheerful presence for the past 10.5 years.
My time at McKendree has never been dull. With such a wide variety of tasks, I never got bored. I’ve done everything from making paper dolls with faculty pictures as the “dolls,” to helping organize international trips for students and faculty. I’ve put together different manuals for tasks that have been assigned to me, such as Technos, faculty searches and publishers’ information. I feel like the next person to sit behind this desk will find these items helpful in day to day tasks.
I would like to be remembered as someone that was easy to work with and willing to do what was requested. I will miss the weekly lunches with my co-workers and the new challenges that kept me busy.
In retirement, I look forward to working in the yard more, reading and traveling. I’ve often mentioned that when I retire, I’m going to write a book entitled “From Behind the Desk.” I can’t give any preview to what that will entail. You will have to wait to buy the book. Possibly I could order desk copies for the faculty? Old habits are hard to break.