CHADRON – Delivering the address at Chadron State College’s first in-person commencement ceremony since the pandemic will Saturday morning at 9:00 will retiring CSC Professor Dr Richard Koza.
Koza’s long association with Chadron State College has included playing football for the Eagles, earning a bachelor’s and two graduate degrees and teaching courses, serving as chair of the Business Academy, several years as Faculty Athletic Representative, and receiving the 2006 Teacher Excellence Award.
In addition to his connections with CSC, Koza, who is retiring this year, has owned and operated a local real estate business and an insurance agency and taken an active role in community affairs.
Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and brought up in Florida before moving to Wyoming as an eighth grader, Koza graduated from Torrington High School. He attended Eastern Wyoming College for two years, then transferred to Chadron State, where he played football and completed his Bachelor of Science in Education with a coaching
After graduation, Koza taught health and physical education and coached in Benkelman, Nebraska, for a year, then spent five years teaching and coaching in Ogallala. Upon returning to Chadron in 1978, he earned licenses in real estate, appraising and insurance, became part owner of Associated Brokers Real Estate and purchased Larson Insurance Agency.
The return to Chadron also included resumption of Koza’s academic education at CSC. He earned master’s degrees in education and business administration and in 1996 completed a Ph.D. at the University of Wyoming.
In the early 1980s, Koza had his first college teaching experience as an instructor of Chadron State’s off-campus real estate classes. A one-year contract to teach marketing for the college in 1996 led a couple years later to a full- time position. Through the years he has taught a variety of business courses, with his focus most recently on finance and strategic management.
During Koza’s time at Chadron State, the Business Academy has received specialized accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, changed from a traditional semester format to an eight- week course structure, implemented an online Master of Business Administration course, and began to offer undergraduate courses online and face-to-face.
As a teacher, Koza said he has enjoyed seeing the energy and excitement that new and returning students bring to the campus and community each year, and the collaboration and friendships with other faculty members. He singled out Dr. Margaret Crouse and Dr. Charles Cressy as faculty mentors and is appreciative of the opportunities Chadron State has provided to publish papers and present at academic conferences.
Koza and his wife, Kris, were married in 1973, have three children, all with degrees from Chadron State, and six grandchildren. Besides traveling with his wife and visiting their children and grandchildren, Koza said his retirement plans include playing golf, fishing, and relaxing.