Meet The 2021 CSC Retirees


(Photo by Daniel Binkard/Chadron State College)

The end of the academic year at Chadron State College also closes the careers of 8 faculty, staff, and professional staff members who are or have retired.

They are:  Office Assistant II Melody Carnahan, Office Assistant II Joanne Downs, Professor of Psychological Sciences and Counseling Dr. Laura Gaudet, Professor of Education Dr. Don King, Business Professor Dr. Richard Koza, Instructional Technology and Design Specialist Elizabeth Ledbetter, Professor of Business Dr. Barb Limbach, and Professor of Psychological Sciences and Counseling Dr. William Roweton.

Carnahan started her career at Chadron State College in February 1996 when she joined the Housing Office as an Office Assistant. She was employed in that office for 18 years and is thankful for many memories.

When she worked in Housing, High Rise had female freshmen and Kent Hall housed male freshmen. A few years later, CSC followed trends to coed housing. High Rise was converted to coed housing by suite and Kent Hall turned to coed housing by floor. Another transition she saw was in Sparks Hall. The building was family housing apartments until it was renovated and an addition was added on the south side. The demolition of many of the West Court apartments was also a major change.

Carnahan said the Host Parent Program was a great benefit to Chadron State College as far as retention and recruitment. She became friends with a long list of students as her family participated in the program for many years. She said that her years working in Student Services were some of the most rewarding at CSC.

“You can learn so much from students and the friendships you build are sometimes everlasting,” she said.

She still has contact with many students and some will stop by during the year and bring their families to visit her. 

After leaving the Housing Office, Carnahan transferred to the Office of Market Development for a couple years before going to work for the Conferencing Office in the Student Center. She said Conferencing has been great place to work and an opportunity to be around students again. She enjoys chatting with them on their way to the cafeteria or stopping by for an EagleCard.

With her position in Conferencing, she has the opportunity to work with CSC faculty and get to know them personally. She said she will miss working with students and faculty, but is looking forward to joining her husband, Brian, in retirement. They plan to follow grandchildren in their events, and do more camping, gardening, hunting and fishing. Her last day as a CSC employee will be April 30, 2021.

Downs started at Chadron State College as an Office Assistant II in August 2001. She said in spite of it being the first day of school and her nervous feelings, her co-workers made her feel welcomed and at ease. As an OA II, she assisted faculty in the Health Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) department her entire career. New duties were added along the way, including administrative support for the faculty of Family and Consumer Sciences and Rangeland.

“Some of the new duties were more challenging than others, but I was able to take on all of them and complete them,” Downs said.

Several years ago, she became qualified as a proctor for the Praxis pre-professional test for pre-service teachers. Since then, she has been part of a cadre of proctors who administer the test twice a month. As such, she sets up the room, announces instructions, observes students, and assists students with computer issues.

Downs also worked closely with Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator Joy Omelanuk scheduling and uploading student course evaluations for all departments.

She said her fondest memories are watching students come in as nervous freshmen and graduate as confident adults. One in particular who stands out is Willie Hoffman. He was a student coach her first day and now he is Dr. Hoffman, a colleague and friend in the HPER department.

Downs said retiring was a difficult decision.

“I want to thank everyone for the experiences, memories, and friendships I have made at Chadron State College. I will miss the students and faculty I have worked with for almost 20 years,” Downs said.

She plans to spend time with her grandchildren and summers at the lake. Her last day at CSC will be July 20.

Prior to joining the faculty as a Professor of Psychological Sciences and Counseling, Gaudet taught at colleges in Colorado and Wisconsin, and was a special education teacher of elementary and junior high students in Texas. Additionally, she was a learning specialist at a rehabilitation center and a therapist at a mental health center.

Gaudet has been chair of the Counseling, Psychological Sciences, and Social Work Department for 15 years, and taught 11 graduate counseling courses and 12 undergraduate psychology courses. Her area of specialization is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and she has advocated awareness and accommodations for those who have brain injuries. Several members of her family have been affected by TBI so her quest for knowledge is personal and professional.

In 2015, Gaudet, a board certified as a Forensic Traumatologist and an Expert in Traumatic Stress, presented at Neuro-Talk in China. The trip was to a familiar area for Gaudet who lived with her family in Taiwan for three years when her father was stationed there during his military assignment. A year later, she returned to China and presented a talk about the effectiveness of a brief educational intervention on perceptions of those with TBI.

She has been involved in Quality Matters online course design training for eight years. Several international presentations she made were through the use of technology, including one in June 2016 to the Singapore Conference on Applied Psychology.

In 2017 she presented on the Implementation and Evaluation of Screencast Videos for Graduate Online Counseling Courses in Greece and Vancouver. She shared her research about gender-related traits of persons with and without TBI in Spain the same year.

In addition to writing multiple papers and textbook supplements, she has evaluated more than 20 textbooks, and delivered CSC’s 2017 winter graduate commencement address.

Gaudet will retire to Monterey, California, where she will be closer to family. She hopes to walk her dogs on the Carmel Dog Beach and continue to teach as an adjunct for CSC.

King began his Chadron State College career in 1993. He started as an Assistant to the Dean and advanced from Assistant to Associate Professor in the Education Department. In 2001, he was promoted to Professor and became Chair of the Education Department.

Before coming to CSC, King earned master’s degrees in agriculture from California Polytechnic State University and education from the University of California-Davis. He earned a doctorate from Iowa State University in Agricultural and Extension Education in 1991.

In addition to his teaching, advising, and duties as chair, King wrote a number of proposals and grants. Many of his presentations focused on infusing a more international and multicultural perspective into the college classroom. He maintained his ties to agriculture by hosting the annual regional FFA competition at CSC.

He has served twice in capacities related to accreditation renewal for the Education program.

For nearly 10 years, King coordinated secondary education and the secondary alternative teacher certification program. While in these roles, he co-authored handbooks for student teachers and cooperating schools that host teacher interns.

King was instrumental in designing a successful year-long student teaching pilot program at partner school districts in Chadron, Scottsbluff, and Sidney. The collaboration paved the way for the Education program to expand the new format to additional schools. He described the format as a win-win situation for CSC and its partner schools.

“School districts can reduce their faculty workload, energize the work environment, receive in-service from CSC faculty, and choose from applicants they trained when positions open. Meanwhile, our students serve as a working part of the school’s faculty and staff, and improve their skills and knowledge so they can move seamlessly into their first year of teaching as a professional,” King said.

King was a member or chair of numerous campus committees, served on a number of boards and councils in the Chadron area and at the state level, including President of the Nebraska Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

In 2015, King was CSC’s graduate commencement speaker. He told students they continually amazed him with their inspiration and talent. He said he was impressed with their dedication, compassion and desire to improve the teaching profession.

In his retirement, he plans to further enjoy his mountain biking pursuits, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Koza’s long association with CSC 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 those 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 endorsement in 1973.

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.

Among Koza’s many other college activities he has sponsored the Students in Free Enterprise club, co-sponsored Blue Key, and served on the Homecoming committee, as well as Faculty Senate, academic review, and promotion and tenure committees.

Koza was president of the Chadron Kiwanis Club, chair of the city planning commission, and member of the Chadron school curriculum development team.

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.

Ledbetter is retiring after 16 years at Chadron State College.

Her first position was working in the Instructional Resource Center (IRC) and she has fond memories working in the Kline Center with Dr. Robin Smith.

“Robin was a wonderful mentor, and Kline was a hub of activity in the center of campus. At one point or another, everyone had a reason to call on services offered by the IRC, Print Shop, Tutoring Center, College Relations, Alumni and Foundation, or Information Services,” she said. “I met so many campus and community members in that building with its rolling terrazzo tile floors and cool ‘60’s architecture.”

As the Distance Learning Coordinator, Ledbetter assisted with the data migration process when Sakai was selected as the learning management system for CSC Online.

Most recently, she served as CSC’s Instructional Technology and Design Specialist in the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). She values the relationships she has formed with new faculty and veteran faculty members through co-facilitating the New Faculty Orientation program and TLC programs focused on professional development opportunities for instructors.

Her work to support CSC Online and course development efforts was rewarding.

“I love building courses using the tools in Sakai. There’s a flow that can create an easy-to-follow pathway for students. My goal has been to make the learning experience better for students. The science behind how we learn is fascinating and incorporating that science into the online learning environment is exciting for both students and instructors,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter was pleased to see the culmination of a collaborative endeavor with colleagues Mary Donahue and Lucinda Mays and several CSC students on an outdoor project in November of 2020. A 7-circuit, classical labyrinth is now located in a former water cistern just off the walking paths to the west of C-Hill. Walking the labyrinth offers a way to reflect, reduce stress, and regain perspective, Ledbetter said. She hopes CSC and community residents can spend time there and use it as a tool to nurture self-care and healing, inspire creative thinking, and foster mindfulness.

Ledbetter and her husband, George, have three adult children, Tara, Kailas, and Geoffrey. Tara is pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Kailas and Geoffrey are employed by CSC. George writes articles for the CSC Alumni Magazine and College Relations since retiring as the editor and publisher of The Chadron Record.

In retirement, Ledbetter looks forward to pursuing her artistic and creative interests, cross-country skiing, yoga, travel, and bicycling all over the world with George.

When Limbach retired in the fall of 2020, it marked the end of a higher education career that spanned more than four decades, included teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses, reviewing textbooks and journal articles, and four years as registrar.

A native of Crawford, Limbach earned her bachelor’s degree from CSC in 1979, then managed a bank in Crawford and sold real estate, before returning to complete a master’s in business education in 1985.

Limbach began her CSC career as an instructor in the business department in 1987 and a year later became registrar, a position she had until 1992. While serving as registrar, she led the implementation of a software package that automated the college’s student information system.

In 1992, Limbach added a Specialist in Education Administration master’s degree to her credentials and returned to classroom instruction for the college. She completed an Education Ph.D. in Applied Science and Technology from the University of Wyoming in 1994.

As a professor, Limbach taught numerous business and business education courses and regularly attended Nebraska Education Association and National Business Education Association conferences. She also served as faculty coordinator for graduate studies in business.

Individually and together with Dr. Wendy Waugh, Limbach made presentations at many national education conferences and published articles in business education journals. She was also a reviewer for textbook publishers and reviewed articles and manuscripts for several publications.    

Limbach said receiving cards and letters of appreciation from former students who were able to apply the lessons learned in class to their careers was the most rewarding part of her teaching career.

“Being able to make a positive difference in students’ lives is a good feeling,” she said.

Limbach’s retirement plans include continued involvement in education through publishing and by serving as an article and textbook reviewer.

Limbach’s children include sons Zach, the activities director at Lincoln East High School, and Zane, senior vice president at Sandhills State Bank in Valentine, and daughter Zalie Prosser, who is in administrative assistance at Daktronics in Brookings, South Dakota.

“Seven grandchildren are the joy of my life,” she said. “Staying busy with grandchildren activities will also be a priority.”

Roweton, who retired in December 2020, has the unique distinction of having worked under more than half of the Presidents in Chadron State College history. Roweton joined the CSC faculty in 1984 and in his 37-year career he taught under six presidents.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he met his wife, Marilyn. He taught at Indiana State University and James Madison University in Virginia before coming to CSC.

He filled many roles at CSC, including Professor, Chair of the Psychology Department, Director of Institutional Research, and Assistant to the President. Like others who have been teaching for decades, he transitioned from presenting traditional classroom lectures to online.

“Visuals are what speak to the student today,” Roweton said.

Associating with dedicated and motivated students has been a rewarding aspect of his work.

“I don’t teach classes. I teach individuals. I make it a point to figure out where the important student differences reside,” Roweton said. “Our lives are complicated and so are theirs.”

He has taught a wide range of students, including many first-generation students, as well as some who are children of his former students.

“I asked one young man what advice his parents gave him about taking my psychology course (since they met there and later married). ‘Pay attention,’ he said. There are others, but that one sticks in my mind,” Roweton said.

Roweton speaks highly of all the services offered by the information technology department and appreciates services like the Inter-Library Loan. It may seem like a normal service today, but before it existed, conducting research meant Roweton had to travel to Boulder or Fort Collins to access library materials.

Roweton is mindful of the cost of textbooks and has made it a priority to provide Open Educational Resources for students in his courses. He said it is continually easier to find free software or eBooks that function well.

For more than 25 years, he served many times as a consultant evaluator on a team of peer reviewers for the Higher Learning Commission, an experience he found rewarding.

“There’s always something that can be improved,” he said of reviewing other state colleges and universities seeking reaffirmation of accreditation. “You meet people through that process that you wouldn’t otherwise.”

Four major projects Roweton recalls during his career at CSC include a Title III grant he co-wrote with Dr. Roger Wess that helped establish a Model Information Classroom in Hildreth Hall. He also wrote a grant to encourage Hispanic children at Longfellow Middle School in Scottsbluff to seek post-secondary education. He arranged for the students to visit CSC as part of a plan to support their higher education goals.

Roweton co-wrote and produced a video biography about Dawes County native and female educational pioneer Leta Stetter Hollingworth that was presented at an international conference in Lincoln. His curiosity about other distinguished psychologists from Nebraska led Roweton to research supported by the Nebraska Humanities Council in which he documented the five American Psychology Association’s presidents from Nebraska, including J. McVicker Hunt a native of Scottsbluff.

His plans for retirement involve living within minutes of the couple’s daughter, Susan, in Boulder County, Colorado. The Rowetons plan to explore miles of biking and walking trails.

—CSC College Relations