This summer, UCM lost five faculty members: Alfred Twomey, Joyce Jabolenski, Joseph Dolecki, Linda Mederis and John Horine. Their work was appreciated by the staff and faculty who knew them when they worked on campus.
Alfred E. Twomey
Alfred E. Twomey, professor of history for 41 years, died June 15 at 89 years old.
Twomey started working at UCM in 1962 and taught more than 35,000 students in his time on campus, according to a press release.
In 2003, the Board of Governors honored him by naming the auditorium in the Wood Building, “The Alfred E. Twomey Auditorium,” where he taught many of his classes, according to the release.
Amber R. Clifford-Napoleone, associate professor of anthropology and director of the McClure Archives and University Museum, said she has known Twomey for nearly 30 years.
She started volunteering at UCM in high school in 1989 when she met Twomey. She said he was her professor, her mentor, and then a colleague.
“Dr. Twomey was brilliant and complex, and very, very funny. He knew what is now UCM inside and out, having taught and worked here for so many years,” Clifford-Napoleone said. “He had one of the sharpest minds I’ve ever glimpsed and an even sharper sense of humor. He was an incredible scholar as well.”
Clifford-Napoleone said Twomey had multiple publications and was a well-known historian of German history and opera.
“He was a dapper dresser and a world traveler and loved good food and good conversation,” she said.
Krisana West, an academic advisor at UCM, said she first met Twomey as a student in his history lecture class in 1993.
She said one of Twomey’s favorite things to tell students is that he is called “Dr. Death,” but preferred to be called “Prince of Darkness” because it was more elegant. She said his gaze could be piercing and nothing slipped by him.
“I loved his class. His lectures were like stories, and I didn’t want them to end,” West said. “It took me most of the semester to realize the ‘Dr. Death’ everyone was complaining about was actually this professor. At that time I was a biology major, but after a few years I changed to a history major, primarily because of how much I enjoyed his course.”
West was also Twomey’s graduate assistant for two years from 1999 to 2001. She said Twomey saw everyone as a person and cared deeply about his students.
“He would come into the GA office, sit down and start to talk. He was incredibly complex and intelligent, and had such a range of interests,” she said. “Dr. Twomey would tell stories of his childhood in Colorado, of his travels all over and discuss a wide range of historical topics.”
Clifford-Napoleon said he has trained graduate students for decades and taught them how to be teacher-scholars. She said those students have gone on to be professors, historians have joined many other professions.
“The same is true at UCM, where there are many faculty and staff who were students of Dr. Twomey. When I spoke at the Board of Governors meeting in June, I made a point of mentioning the loss of Dr. Twomey. As I told the Board, without Dr. Twomey there would be so many classrooms without a good teacher… I know that Gene’s legacy is in every syllabus I write. Without Dr. Twomey, there might not be a Dr. Clifford,” she said.
Clifford-Napoleon said Twomey holds the record for the largest number of students taught by any one professor with over 30,000 in his career.
“You really have to think about that number: 30,000 people who learned from him,” she said. “That is a tremendous legacy and why the Twomey Auditorium in the Wood Building bears his name.”
Joseph Dolecki was 100 years and 173 days old when he died June 6.
Dolecki taught economics at UCM for 28 years. He served in the Army during WWII for four years and was in the Pacific Theater as a commando, and later as a tank corps gunner, according to an obituary.
George Wilson, provost emeritus and former dean of the economics department, said he met Dolecki when he started working for the department in the fall of 1972.
Wilson said at that time he had no classroom teaching experience. He said Dolecki invited him to sit in on a few of his classes.
“I found Joe to be an energetic and enthusiastic classroom teacher,” Wilson said. “He clearly enjoyed the study of economics and he wanted all of his students to share his passion for the subject.”
Wilson said he learned many effective teaching techniques from Dolecki, but he said he was never able to match his enthusiasm.
“Joe’s students had great respect for both his knowledge of economics and for his teaching methods. ‘Tough but fair’ were the words students often used to describe him,” Wilson said.
Wilson said Dolecki was the senior member of the economics department and when he spoke, everyone listened.
“He was an advocate for high standards, strong academics, good teaching and student success,” he said. “He had a great sense of humor, including the ability to laugh at himself. He was an important contributor to the collegiality and friendship we shared in the department.”
Paul Englemann, professor emeritus of economics, knew Dolecki as a colleague for nine years. Engelmann was appointed as department head of economics during Dolecki’s last year before retirement and he served as a former associate dean in the Harmon College of Business.
“Joe was certainly, in my opinion, the academically strongest member of the department when he arrived,” he said.
Englemann said he knew of Dolecki earlier through Joe Jadlow, his dissertation advisor at Oklahoma State University. He said Jadlow may have been the first person to graduate with a Master of Arts in Economics from UCM, a program Dolecki had started.
Jadlow told him a story about how as a sophomore, he was anxious to take his first economics course from Dolecki, who had the reputation as a rigorous professor.
“Dr. Dolecki discovered that a number of students were enrolling in a different instructor’s section in order to avoid him, so on the first day of class the two faculty members switched sections,” Englemann said. “Joe Jadlow was very upset not to have Dr. Dolecki as his first instructor, although he had several courses from him later on.”
Joyce Jablonski died at 62 on July 10, For the last 15 years, she was a professor of art and head of the ceramics department at UCM while also pursuing her own art.
Alison Krenzer, senior studio ceramics major, said Jablonski was one of her professors and would greet her every day by dancing, singing or peeking into her studio space to make sure she was doing her work.
“It’s really hard for me to choose one specific memorable moment from class because every single day I had her class was a new adventure,” Krezner said. “She always presented us with a new problem to solve or figure out for ourselves every day.”
Krenzer said Jablonski was willing to invest in her as a student.
“Having her as a professor was a completely unique experience,” she said. “She didn’t take anyone’s crap and she wasn’t one to accept excuses. As a new student I was scared of her because of the strong presence she always had, but as I got to know her I realized that she was one of the most loving and sensitive people I’ve ever met.”
Krenzer said during their art critiques, Jablonski would always ask questions about their work and push them to think further about their art process.
“Looking back on things, I never realized how committed she was to helping me until after she was gone,” she said. “Somehow she always knew what each individual needed to further their own art, I still don’t understand how she always knew exactly what I needed. But it wasn’t in the form of giving me an easy answer, it was in the way she would talk to me about a specific feminist artist, or how she would recommend that I look into specific glazes to try on my sculptures. She pushed but never took over. She urged us to find our own footsteps and to create work that was authentic to who we were.”Rahila Weed, chair of the art department, said Jablonski was a talented artist and her artwork explored the nature of materials, working with forms from a feminist perspective.
She said Jablonski loved to travel, and she conducted workshops in Ghana, Japan, China, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, New Zealand, Canada, Georgia and Argentina.
“She was very dedicated to her ceramics students,” Weed said.
Krenzer said Jablonski believed in her even when she thought she was done with ceramics as a career.
“When I came back into the major she told me, ‘I knew you weren’t done investigating. I knew you’d be back.’ I cannot imagine where I would be if this woman didn’t come into my life,” Krezner said. “More than being my professor she became my friend, and I’m so upset that I will never have someone like Joyce again. She was one of a kind.”
Linda Mederis, librarian emerita, died June 8.
She started working at UCM in 1979. She served as chair of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library in 2010, taught library science courses from 1985 to 1990 and held other positions. She retired in June 2015.
Karla Massia, associate professor in library services, said she knew Mederis since 1990, and came to know her better when she worked with her for the James C. Kirkpatrick Library in 2001.
“Many people found Linda difficult to get to know. She was not outgoing but more private and introspective; some would say stoic,” Massia said. “Once you did get to know her, you would find a compassionate person, and a wry sense of humor. She was never interested in being the center of attention, but was happy to focus the limelight on someone else and their accomplishments.”
Mollie Dinwiddie, former UCM librarian, worked with Mederis for 30 years. She said Mederis had a reserved personality, but when she spoke, people could count on her meaning what she said.
Dinwiddie said Mederis was a dedicated librarian.
“She was very calm and deliberate in her handling of problems, and she thought through issues that needed decisions, getting input from the other library employees to develop policies and procedures that served the campus well,” Dinwiddie said. “While she didn’t anger quickly, one learned when she meant business.”
She said Mederis was involved in the work that led to the move from the Ward Edwards Library into the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. She said this was a big job, making sure all materials were moved accurately without damage or loss.
She said Mederis assisted many students over the years to get books and articles they needed for research papers.
“They likely would say she didn’t talk a lot but she found what they needed in a timely manner. Her service to students was steady and reliable but she rarely sought out the spotlight,” Dinwiddie said.
Dinwiddie said in the spring of 2016, She and Mederis went on a UCM theater trip to New York City. She said they saw five Broadway shows while being there.
She said she talked Mederis into seeing ABC’s “Good Morning America” even though it was not her normal interest. They saw the stars of the show, and they also saw Ben Affleck and Valentin Chmerkovskiy outside the studios.
She and Mederis waved at the cameras as they passed by while Mederis’ sister and brother-in-law captured the moment on video.
“The day of Linda’s memorial service this past June 12, Linda’s brother-in-law told me that Linda looked her usual solemn self in the video recording, and I was grinning hugely and waving madly,” Dinwiddie said. “We were pretty much yin and yang to one another and it worked well for more than 30 years.”
John (Jack) Horine
John Horine, professor emeritus of aviation, died at age 88 on May 9. Horine worked at UCM for 50 years as a department chair and faculty member.
Lemuel Shattuck, former assistant professor of aviation, worked with Horine in the department.
He said his office was next to Horine’s, and Horine never failed to stop whatever he was doing to counsel a student or colleague.
He said Horine created the aviation department with seminal individuals in September 1968. The department will be celebrating its 50-year anniversary this September.
“I kept telling him that he was going to be the guest of honor for the last few months of his life, and for a time I was optimistic that he would survive long enough to be present in person. He will still be the guest of honor in any case,” Shattuck said.
Terry Hunt, chair of the aviation department, said he first met Horine in the fall of 1985. He was a senior aviation science student at the College of the Ozarks, and the faculty brought them to tour the UCM campus to learn about the graduate school programs.
“That meeting with Dr. Horine forever changed the trajectory of my professional life. I pursued the Aviation Safety MS degree after graduation from the School of the Ozarks and have been involved in professional aviation and collegiate aviation education from that time on,” Hunt said. “I enjoyed many years with Dr. Horine and count him as an esteemed colleague, mentor and friend who I will sorely miss.”
Hunt said Horine was a master teacher. He said Horine loved the department and his students.
“He was quiet, measured in his speech and enjoyed one-on-one visits with students,” he said. “This is where he really imparted wisdom and knowledge. He could be opinionated and passionate in his positions but always in a respectful and constructive manner. He was the consummate professional and gentleman. A joy to work with.”
Hunt said he believed Horine almost single-handedly built the aviation program and was there even before the beginning.
“He was UCM aviation,” Hunt said. “His finger print is on every facet of the program that we have today. His legacy affected thousands of aviation professionals serving in every facet of the aviation industry around the world.”
Hunt said he would not be a professional aviation educator if it was not for the influence of Horine.
“He focused my passion for aviation in a direction I would not have been aware of without his influence,” Hunt said. “He saw in me the potential of being a teacher and afforded me the opportunity to stand before a class and express my passion for aviation. Here I am today with over 30 years of collegiate aviation educational experience…because many years ago, Dr. Horine saw the potential in a young man who was passionate about all things aviation.”
Shattuck said aside from it’s actual creation, he oversaw the department’s development into a professional program.
“He was always unfailingly supportive, courteous and generous with his time and knowledge,” Shattuck said. “The most enduring, and by far, best quality of Jack Horine was his love. His love of teaching, his students, his colleagues and of aviation. He will be missed.”
An endowment has been established in Horine’s name: The Dr. John Horine Aviation Professional Scholarship Endowment. Shattuck said Horine had theory that students who could learn as much through associations with professional aviation organizations as they could in a classroom.