About the Contributors

Notes on Contributors to Retiring Minds

Richard Beckham served as English Department chair at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for nine years and taught British Literature and Humanities courses for many more. In retirement he hones his skills as a photographer and travels widely and frequently. He has made numerous visits to the United Kingdom and was resident lecturer at University College of St. Martin’s in Lancaster in 1995.

Sue Bridwell Beckham, is a southerner by birth and northerner in translation. Her specialty is Southern Material Culture with emphasis on the Depression. She is the author of Southern Depression Post Office Murals: A Gentle Reconstruction (LSU Press), articles on the cultural implications of the Southern front porch, and Southern artists and art works. With degrees in English and American Studies, Sue taught writing courses, cultural studies of American cinema, best sellers and detective fiction in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Gene Bloedorn tries to tell a story as an artist by using carefully rendered images. It was his habit as an artist to write notes, descriptive sentences, in the margins of his drawings to help him understand what he was trying to say. One day, pencil in hand, he discovered that he was giving more time and more thought to the writing in the margins than to the drawing itself. Now he just writes instead of draws. He is retired from the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Jared Brown, was the Director of the School of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is the author of Zero Mostel: A Biography, The Fabulous Lunts (winner of the 1987 Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Book on Theatre), Theater in America During the Revolution, Alan J. Pakula: His Films and His Plays, and Moss Hart, A Prince of the Theater. He has also written numerous plays and essays and has directed approximately one hundred productions. In 1997, he was the recipient of the DuPont Award for Teaching Excellence. He and his wife Judy live in Bloomington, Illinois.

Judy Brown now spends her days as Executive Director of the Illinois Theatre Consortium, a production company overseeing three theatres. She served as director, writer and actor for the Illinois Voices Theatre, has performed in Illinois Wesleyan University’s summer theatre and with Heartland Theatre. She also tours her one-woman show regionally. In 2006 she was named a Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award winner by the Illinois Humanities Council for creatively using theater to interpret and present the history of Illinois.

Carol Dolphin, Communication Arts/Theater Department, University of Wisconsin Colleges, Waukesha campus spends her joyful retirement as a world traveler, community volunteer, and occasional actor.

James Eggert taught Economics for thirty-one years at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. His articles and essays have appeared in The Empty Vessel, The Progressive Populist, Religious Humanism, and The Washington Post. His books include What Is Economics?, Invitation to Economics, Investigating Microeconomics, Meadowlark Economics, Low-Cost Earth Shelters, Song of the Meadowlark, and The Wonder of the Tao. Eggert’s degrees are from Lawrence University and Michigan State University. He served two years in the Peace Corps (Kenya, 1964-66).

Richard Gardner spent his childhood helping build the family hobby farm in Orange County, California. He majored in Creative Writing at Stanford, attended the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, did his doctoral work at the University of California at Irvine, and taught in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout for thirty-seven years. He has published in all genres of creative writing as well as essays linking tourism and literature, on the use of stereotypes, and teaching. He served as assistant editor for Annals of Tourism Research, and self-publishes a monthly humorous newsletter Flea Bytes.

Margaret T. Gordon’s administrative career began at Northwestern University where she directed the Institute for Policy Research and taught at the Medill School of Journalism. In 1988 she joined the University of Washington as Dean of the Evans School of Public Affairs, a position she held for ten years. Subsequently, she taught and collaborated on research evaluating the impacts of the Gates Foundation’s gift of 50,000 computers to over 11,000 public libraries. She retired in June, 2004.

Liina Keerdoja is a trained librarian (MSLS, Columbia University, 1967) with a thirty-seven year career at the Library of Congress and the State Department. Before becoming a librarian she was a French major, German minor at Indiana University (BA, 1964; Phi Beta Kappa), and after that, a graduate student in Uralic Studies (MA, 1966). She also has a certificate in French‑English translation (Georgetown University, 1970) and has taught cataloging. A native Estonian (and WWII refugee), she has done some Estonian‑English, English‑Estonian translating. She enjoys the performing arts, and likes to read, travel, and tap dance.

David McCordick is the editor of Scottish Literature: An Anthology, vols. 1 & 2 published by Peter Lang, vol. 3 by the Scottish Cultural Press of Edinburgh, thanks in part to a grant from the Scottish Arts Council. McCordick also edited The Civil War Letters (1862-1865) of Private Kaufmann, Henry: The Harmony Boys Are All Well. Both a passionate theatergoer and playwright, McCordick’s plays have been staged at university and professional theaters. He is enjoying his retirement from the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout by traveling the world.

Robert Meier taught English at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, has degrees from Brown University and the University of Arizona, and is spending his retirement as a professional photographer. His work has appeared in two dozen solo and group exhibitions and is in several permanent collections in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He received a New Partnership Fund Grant for the creation of the exhibit “U B ME.” His photos have appeared in such magazines as Architecture Minnesota and The New Yorker.

Sheri Nero taught in the Social Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She has a B.A. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota. She retired in 2005 after twenty-seven years in the University of Wisconsin System. While at UW-Stout she was director of the Women’s Studies Program for five years and received the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1994. She resides in Menomonie, Wisconsin with her husband.

William O’Neill worked as a technical writer for about ten years before becoming an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He directed the Wisconsin in Scotland program, a study-abroad program for students of the western Wisconsin universities, for a year before retiring in 2001. He lives in Menomonie with his wife Jeanette. They have two grown children, a veterinarian daughter, Siobhan, and a film-maker son, Colin. O’Neill’s articles have appeared in Descant, Journal of Twentieth Century Literature, Etudes Irlandaise and The Progressive Populist.

Sudershan Perusek earned her Ph.D. at Kent State University, taught there and at Akron University and the College of Medicine in Rootstown, Ohio before joining the English Department, University of Wisconsin-Stout. Her publications include essays in the Cream City Review, The Center of the Web: Women and Solitude and The Family Track. She was editor of Kaleidoscope: Magazine of Literature, Art, and Disability from 1985-2001. Her retirement has given her time to put to use her talents in the kitchen by offering classes in cooking at the local Co-Op, and to coax her orchids to bloom.

Leland L. Nicholls served the Department of Hospitality and Tourism, University of Wisconsin-Stout as program director and department chair. He was also a director of the Wisconsin Institute for Service Excellence International, and was on the Board of External Examiners at Ngee Ann Polytechnic University in Singapore. He earned a doctorate from the University of Tennessee and completed post-doc programs at the Harvard School of Business, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Disney Institute, and the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center. He is a resource editor of The Journal of Hospitality Human Resources and has published in professional, academic and trade journals.

Mary E. Thompson, Ph.D., Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, came to the University of Wisconsin-Stout to be Assistant Dean of the School of Home Economics in 1975. She held both teaching and administrative positions until retiring in July 2004. She most enjoyed the challenge of facilitating the conversation between faculty, staff and administrators.

Erik Thurin taught in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. A native of Sweden, Thurin was a philologist by both inclination and education. He taught French, Latin and Greek in Sweden, then added to his considerable academic record there, a Ph.D. in American literature at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Emerson Priest of Pan, Whitman between Impressionism and Expressionism, The Humanization of Willa Cather, and The American Discovery of the Norse. He spent his retirement doing what he most loved: reading, writing, traveling, and learning a new language, biblical Hebrew.

Susan Schoenbauer Thurin taught English for thirty-five years at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She also was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, taught in a boys’ prep school in England and in universities in China and Sweden. Her publications include Victorian Travelers and the Opening of China, 1842-1907; Nineteenth-Century Travels, 1835-1910: The Far East; and numerous essays on Victorian novels and travel literature. Nowadays she is one of those busier-than-ever retirees.

Carolyn Wedin taught for thirty years in Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with year-long appointments in UW-System Administration; the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; the University of Lund, Sweden; and Fulbrights at the University of Silesia in Poland and the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Education. She has published scholarly works on women’s and African American literature and history, general audience radio commentaries, and other writing. She is married, with three grown children and five grandchildren.

Patricia Zontelli’s second collection of poetry, Red Cross Dog, was the winner of the Headland Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Review, Calyx, Connecticut Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Kansas Quarterly, Los Angeles Times, Spoon River Poetry Review and many UK journals. She was awarded a Bush Artist Fellowship, Wisconsin Arts Board grant and was a winner of the Lake Superior Regional Writers Competition and Loft Mentor Series. She taught in the Art Department, University of Wisconsin-Stout, and now divides her time between London, England and Menomonie, Wisconsin with her husband Charles Wimmer. She never refers to herself as retired.

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