85 Employees Amass 1,015 Years of Commitment to the College
The College of Southern Maryland recognized 85 employees who have accumulated 1,015 years of service to the college at a ceremony Feb. 4 at the La Plata Campus. Among the employees are Ron Brown and Danny Williams, each with 40 years of service; Paul Toscano with 30 years of service, and Sue Behmke, Rex Bishop, Dr. Bill Comey, Steve Hundert, Tom Repenning and Kay Zalesney, each with 25 years of service.
Brown, who is chair of the college’s communication, arts and humanities division, has come a long way from the one-room schoolhouse he attended in Carlisle, Penn. From a young age, Brown was interested in history, not only from hearing about his father conducting research for the Federal Writer’s Project, but also because he saw his high school history instructors as young and “cool,” he said. Brown has a bachelor’s degree in history from Frostburg University and a master’s in history from the University of Maryland where he studied on a fellowship. He taught history for one year at Lackey High School in 1969, and before he could transfer to Largo High School the following year, he was swooped up by Dr. John Sine, who was the college’s dean at the time.
As Brown was preparing for his first semester teaching college-level Western Civilization, he remembers running into Sine who asked, “Did I tell you that you would also be teaching U.S. History at Dahlgren [Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division]?” The U.S. history class was part of “Operation Bootstrap,” a program conducted during the day for employees working toward a college degree, and Brown recalls that in the first class meeting, loud “explosions” interrupted class. His students assured him that they were not in the line of fire.
Since that first semester, and over those 40 years, Brown has taught hundreds of classes and thousands of students, served four college presidents, three deans and two vice presidents, and served as Faculty Senate president. “I am most appreciative of having the opportunity to work with wonderful faculty, staff, administrators, students and the Southern Maryland community,” Brown said.
Williams, a longtime CSM golf coach may have retired as coach after 60 seasons and eight sports–and after touching the lives of hundreds of Southern Maryland students–but at 40 years of service he hasn’t retired from teaching.
“Students are still No. 1,” Williams said at the ceremony where he also gave numerous plugs for faculty and staff to take advantage of the wellness programs on campus.
Williams came to CSM in the early 1970s, and along with teaching sports and fitness classes had a hand in starting several athletic teams, including women’s softball. He coached the first CSM soccer team in 1974 and assisted Dr. Bill Close in coaching baseball and basketball in the early years of each program.
For 14 years, Williams was the head men’s tennis coach (1974-87), guiding the Hawks to three Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference (MDJUCO) championships and two regional titles. In 1987, his team finished the season ranked 15th in the country. Overall his record as a tennis coach is 78-37.
Williams coached the golf team since 1989–compiling an overall record of 114-80, three MDJUCO championships, and a national champion in 2002. In his final season as head golf coach, Williams’ team went undefeated in the regular season (6-0), winning the MDJUCO Championship, finishing second in the Region XX Tournament and qualifying four players for the national tournament.
At 30 years of service, Toscano has watched the emergence of the digital age and its effect on student life. In his first job at CSM as a counselor, Toscano advised students on academic matters, taught personal development courses, coordinated transfers and placement testing, and registered students for classes. “The whole registration process was just a few weeks long and students had to come to the campus to sign up for classes,” Toscano said. “The line would be long and take hours to get through.” Two other counselors assisted Toscano at the time. Now, with more than 9,000 students enrolled in degree programs on three campuses, the advisement department responsibilities have grown exponentially, and the registration process can be accomplished online months in advance.
After 16 years as counselor, Toscano shifted to distance learning as coordinator of the highly popular telecourse program and later managed CSM’s entry into online education with two classes in the summer of 1999. This spring the college offered 240 online credit sections, said Toscano, adding that he expects online classes to continue to grow.
Hundert, a professor of mathematics with 25 years of service, started his career at CSM in Great Mills teaching in a 1930s-era elementary school with a slate blackboard. Hundert was not deterred; his keen sense of adventure and travels had prepared him well for any and all obstacles.
Prior to teaching, Hundert had spent a couple of years travelling: living in a kibbutz in Israel, hitchhiking around Europe, living on his brother’s farm in Nova Scotia and working as a ski lift operator in Tahoe. Then it was time to train for a real job, he said. While in graduate school at the University of New Hampshire, Hundert worked as a teaching assistant and enjoyed it. “I taught classes a bit and loved it,” he said adding that once he found his passion, he never looked back.
Following a couple of years at Virginia Military Institute and Mohawk Valley Community College, Hundert landed at CSM. “It is a real campus now,” Hundert said of the Leonardtown Campus’ four buildings including the recently opened Wellness and Aquatic Center.
Hundert said that mathematics professors would prefer to believe that the reason students delay taking math classes is because they want to save the best for last, “but we know the truth is that students are anxious about math because they think it is too hard or maybe they’ve had bad experiences with math in the past. While paper and pencil calculations are still important, computers and calculators enable students to see mathematics more visually and discover concepts through experimentation and observation.”
Debra Wyvill, a longtime Calvert County resident and 15-year employee who is a sociology, psychology and teacher education professor at the Prince Frederick Campus, says that her surroundings have changed considerably over the years but that the students haven’t changed very much. Maybe there is more technology, she said, but the student-teacher relationship remains the same.
Diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago, Wyvill continued to teach throughout her chemotherapy treatments and recovery. It is a time that neither she, nor her students will ever forget, she said. The Human Development in the Lifespan course was required for nursing, social science and education majors and in addition to textbooks and lectures the students witnessed Wyvill’s transformation face-to-face. The real-world experience made a huge impact on her students. “It was a lesson to me on how important is it to inspire–not just teach.” As she motivated her students to follow their passions, the students were keeping Wyvill motivated as well.
Wyvill grew up in Prince George’s County and attended Prince George’s Community College before transferring to the University of Maryland and later to George Washington University. “The best teachers I’ve ever had were at the community college level,” she said, adding, “That’s what made me want to teach [at CSM].”
“We need people who tell students they can be more, we need people who inspire others as well as educate,” said Wyvill. “I want to be one of those people.”
CSM employees honored for years of service at the college are:
Charles Baker, Kenneth Bays, Margaret Bolton, Anthony Borland, Amy Carney, Kevin Cumberland, Patty DeCarlo, Neva Ducharme, Keri Field, Justin Gelrud, Linda Goodman, Dr. Chretien Guidry, Michele Hawkins, Mary Humbert, Ronda Jacobs, Dr. Stephen Johnson, Teresa Jones, Stephen Kegley, Doug Kuykendall, Tracy Mason, Tuesday Miles, Steve Moomey, Dr. Melanie Osterhouse, Annette Ragland, Maureen Rotto Coar, Tracy Sewell, Annie Sutten, Dr. F.J. Talley, Laura Tolarski, Dana Venneri, Darlene Wade, Lynn Williams and Andrew Wodzianski.
10 years: Kathy Alden, Stacie Aubel, Janice Bonham, Marie Brandenburg, Phyllis Coombs, Sherrise DeBaugh, Rachel Drake, Joseph Hagens, Bill Hitte, Carol Kachauskas, Janice Love, Debbie Mancuso, Rose Miller, Dr. Kathleen Rottier, Tom Russ, Ed Schauf, Lee Vines, David Ware, Anita Warnes, Sharon Wilding and John Wilson.
15 years: Dr. Richard Bilsker, Karen Brandt, Dr. Victoria Clements, Paula Coluzzi, Jeri Crews, Mike Green, Bonnie Harrison, Michele LaCroix, Ed McBride, Mark Pielmeier, Debra Proctor and Debra Wyvill.
20 years: Bernice Brezina, Dr. Maria Bryant, Andrea Chisley, Dave Howard, Michael Maloney, Linda Schleip, Michelle Simpson, Pam Starkey, Dr. Barbara Stephanic and Janet Thompson.
25 years: Sue Behmke, Rex Bishop, Dr. Bill Comey, Steve Hundert, Tom Repenning and Kay Zalesney.
30 years: Paul Toscano
40 years: Ron Brown and Danny Williams
For information on employment opportunities at CSM, visit http://www.csmd.edu/employment/.