A number of A&S faculty have chosen to retire this year. In this issue of the E-Zine, we report what they or their departments have sent us to reflect on how we are to remember their UMKC careers and plans for retirement. Since some were not available to respond in time for this issue, we will post theirs in subsequent Zines.
David Atkinson (Political Science) came to UMKC in 1967 as an Assistant Professor and retired in 2011 as Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science. He also held a joint appoint in the UMKC School of Law, where he was Curators’ Professor of Political Science and Law. Over his 44 years he taught courses on Public Law, including Constitutional Law, Judicial Process, and Jurisprudence. David received the Shelby Storck Award and the Alumni Reunion Fellowship Award for outstanding teaching. He was also honored for his teaching by the American Political Science Association with their teaching award for Outstanding Teaching in Political Science. In additional to many articles in professional journals, he was the author of Leaving the Bench: Supreme Court Justices at the End. This book was reviewed favorably in the Wall Street Journal along with many professional journals and was discussed by Brian Lamb and the author on C-SPAN’s Booknotes. Atkinson has now been awarded emeritus status and has also been appointed a James C. Olson Professor.
Jennifer Martin (Hall Family Foundation Professor of Theatre) will be retiring September 1st and has accepted a James C. Olson professorship to continue limited teaching in the graduate acting program. Beyond theatre, she will continue to apply the nonverbal techniques that actors use on stage to professional communication in medicine, law, business and higher education. She wants to expand those trainings and conduct further research that measures how nonverbal techniques effect perception and therefore professional evaluations. Jennifer has been awarded Emeritus status. Her garden also beckons and she looks forward to happy hours with dirt under her fingernails.
Philip Olson (Sociology) will retire and become Professor Emeritus as of August 31. He will also be a James C. Olson Professor. He came to UMKC in 1969 from Clark University as Professor of Sociology to chair the department. His research has focused most prominently on urban neighborhoods, especially in Kansas City, but his work has extended as far away as China where he visited a number of times in the 1980s and studied the status and care of older adults during the period of rapid modernization. He is a past-president of the Midwest Sociological Society. He will continue to teach one course per semester in the department and work on his book which links sociological theory to conspiracy theories.
Peter Singelmann (Sociology) is retiring and becoming Professor Emeritus as of August 31. He was recently honored as part of the first class of James C. Olson Professors. Singelmann has been a part of the department since 1971 and has been a distinguished scholar on the sugar cane industry in the state of Morelos in Mexico where he does research nearly every year. He plans to complete a book on his recent work there over the next two years. He will continue to teach one course per semester in the department for the next two years.
Charles Wurrey (Chemistry) After obtaining his PhD from MIT in Physical Chemistry in 1973, Charlie came to UMKC as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1974 after a year of post-doctoral research at the University of South Carolina. Originally hired to teach at the Truman Campus in Independence, he also taught courses at all levels on campus and started research into molecular spectroscopy and molecular structure which led to many publications and research grants. He was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 1980. After a sabbatical and development leave at the University of California, San Diego, and serving as a Distinguished Visiting Scientist with the US Environmental Protection Agency, he was promoted to Professor in 1988 and became Department Chair in 1989. From 1994-1996, he served as Faculty Fellow in the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs for the UM System. In 1996, he was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was promoted to Executive Associate Dean in 2001, serving in that role until December of 2008, and also served as Interim Dean of the College in 2005. Wurrey received the Amoco Outstanding Teaching Award, 1986; the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2001; was appointed Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of Chemistry in 2002 and won the University of Missouri Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2003. He has been awarded Emeritus status and will become a James C. Olson Professor.
Mary Ann Wynkoop, (History) began her career at UMKC in 1992 the same year she received her Ph.D. in American History from Indiana University. Wynkoop was appointed Associate Director of the American Studies Program in 1997, with her appointment as Director following in 2002. In addition to her invaluable work as an Associate Teaching Professor with the American Studies Program, Mary Ann helped develop and taught two of UMKC’s most popular cluster courses: “Introduction to Women’s Studies” and “American Social Film.” In recent years, she served as coordinator and one of the key players in organizing and conducting the 2008 and 2010 week-long NEH summer workshops for high school teachers from across the country – “Crossroads of Conflict: Contested Visions of Freedom During the Kansas and Missouri Border Wars.” A native Kansas Citian, Wynkoop plans to remain in the Kansas City area.
George Gale’s (Philosophy) career was divided in three parts: Leibniz, cosmology, and viticulture. He added a little something to each of these fields along the way. In Leibniz studies, he provided some new insights into the connection between Leibniz’ physics and his metaphysics, particularly concerning the role of the Principle of Perfection. In cosmology, he wrote about the anthropic principle (beginning with an article in Scientific American), and, with UMKC physicist John Urani, made sure that the history and philosophy of cosmology treated the 1930s and 40s properly. (This effort earned them a “Paper of the Decade” award from the American Journal of Physics, and George an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) Finally, in viticulture, he reports he is pleased and relieved to say that his book Dying on the Vine, a historico-philosophical analysis of the scientific, social, and cultural responses to the destruction of most of the world’s fine vineyards by a near-microscopic bug, is in the final throes of publication by the University of California Press. He also has been a visiting professor at Oxford, Wuhan University in the PRC, and East Tennessee State. He also was able to visit the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science—the think tank at ground zero in his discipline—twice as a fellow, and several times as a resident visitor. In the end, he became adjunct in Pittsburgh’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science and adjunct in the Department of Philosophy, Concordia University, Montreal.
He spent twelve years as Executive Secretary, running the Philosophy of Science Association; ten years as an associate editor at Metascience, and was a founding member and serves on the Steering Committee of HOPOS, the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, with its own journal (U. Chicago Press). He had been awarded the title of Emeritus and will be a James C. Olson Professor.
Louis Potts (History) reports that since his arrival at UMKC he discovered a venue – public history- that seemed appropriate for him and the institution although it was not positively sanctioned by the traditional triad of teaching/research/service. He soon thereafter got a grant from the NEH to finance a series of radio programs on KCUR_FM (in Sam Scott’s days) on growing up in Kansas City. Chancellor James Olson received phone calls questioning why he was at the Jackson County Jail or Wayne Miner Housing Project or Kelly’s Bar or Center High School. But Olson fended off the critics. In addition to being part of starting the McKinzie Symposium, Lou also brought a number of prominent historians to the area, most especially Bob Kelley, Stephen Ambrose, and David McCullough to pack Pierson Hall. His interest in regional history came to center on the Watkins Mill State Historic Site where he collaborated with Linna Place and teaching a History of Bridges with the late George Hauck. At the former he did mundane things like whitewash fences, build chicken coops and worm sheep plus producing the orientation video for the Visitors Center. At the latter, they concluded the summer course with a Corps of Engineers’ barge trip on the Missouri. Currently, he is part of a History team funded by the U.S. Department of Education to improve the teaching of social studies/American History in metropolitan schools. He has been awarded emeritus status and will be a James C Olson Professor.
Peter Groner (Chemistry) began his career at UMKC in 1994 in a non-tenure-track position in the Department of Chemistry. His retirement from his position as Lecturer and Director of Laboratories is effective September1, 2011. He has agreed to come back at least for the next spring semester to teach two courses, and may do so in the near future depending on demand and other factors. This arrangement will give him more time to visit with his family (including grandchildren) in the US and in Switzerland as well as let him continue some unfunded research in collaboration with professional colleagues within the U.S. and in Europe.
Richard Murphy (Physics) got his doctorate in Physics (with a minor in mathematics) at the University of Minnesota in 1968 and was a Post-Doctoral physicist at the IBM Research Lab in San Jose, CA until 1970. He taught Physics at Memorial University at St. John’s, Newfoundland from 1970-74 and joined the UMKC faculty in 1974 as Associate Professor. He was promoted to Professor in 1978. Dick has taught most of the courses in the physics curriculum, as well as several in the PACE Program. He has served as principal graduate advisor and Chair of Physics as well as Director of the UMKC Honors Program. He has also spent many summers doing research at Army, Navy and Air Force laboratories involving his several specialties, the unifying theme of which has been large scale scientific computation. His research has led to many publications and to key committee assignments for the University. He has been awarded Emeritus status and is a James C. Olson Professor.