Retirees served BU for more than 500 years
BLOOMSBURG — Twenty-two Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania staff members and managers with a total of more than 500 years of service retired this summer under the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program.
The program, approved by the PASSHE Board of Governors as part of the workforce planning effort, was offered to employees who are at least 60 years old or have 35 years of service.
Retirees include Marlyse Heaps, BU’s “go-to” person in the provost’s office, with 35 years; Tom Lyons, director of financial aid, 34 years; Debra Cecco, clerk typist in admissions, 35 years; Linda Sowash, director of residence life, 32 years; Carol Arnold, administrative assistant in graduate studies and research, 32 years; Barbara Stiner, director of the budget office, 22 years; Robert Klinger, manager of Kehr Union, 20 years; and Virginia Rinkus, director of human resources and labor relations, 20 years; Georgia Ortman, clerk typist in the business office, 24 years; and Kathy Hunsinger, staffing assistant in human resources, 17 years.
Marlyse Heaps retired in June as executive assistant to the provost. She worked for 15 provosts, including current interim provost Ira Blake, and was recognized campus-wide as an institutional resource for academic matters.
BU’s Commission on the Status of Women named her Outstanding Woman of the Year during the Women’s History Month reception in March. Among her other career highlights, Heaps received BU’s STRIVE Award for her work on a CD used by campus employment search committees; STRIVE stands for Staff and Teams Recognized in their Valuable Efforts. She also served as a Continuous Improvement team leader for the Secretarial Workload Analysis Team. The team’s findings were presented at conferences in Atlanta and London.
Heaps earned a bachelor’s degree from BU in December 2003. In retirement, she is pursuing her passion for photography.
Richard Rugen, vice president for administration and finance called retiring financial aid director Tom Lyons “one of the real experts in financial aid.”
“During the financial crisis when student lending was affected, Tom was ahead of the curve in getting information to students regarding alternative lenders,” Rugen said.
Jean Downing, director of the volunteer office known as SOLVE, said one of Lyons’ major accomplishments was the creation of SOLVE. “He was able to take student employment to the next level with the off-campus work-study program,” she said. “He also founded Bloomsburg University’s Community Service Learning program in 1992 with federal allocations to help colleges and universities develop programs which integrated service to the community with classroom instruction.”
Debbie Cecco spent her entire 35-year career at BU in the admissions office where she processed applications for admission, generated acknowledgement letters to prospective students and updated transfer credit information into the data base. Her job transitioned over the years from simple data entry to a complex series of tasks supporting the overall recruitment effort at the university.
Said Chris Keller, director of admissions, “Her speed and proficiency was of critical importance in the Office of Admissions meeting its enrollment goals every year.”
Linda Sowash, director of residence life, retired just six months after her husband, Mike, the former manager of BU’s Kehr Union. First employed by BU as a graduate assistant, Linda Sowash previously served as assistant dean of students, as well as assistant director and associate director of residence life.
Tom Kresch, former director of residence halls and Sowash’s successor, called her career “eclectic,” with experience in the day-to-day responsibilities, like training young graduates, and the operational side, where she was involved in planning to meet future student needs, such as the construction of Montgomery Place, Mount Olympus and Jessica S. Kozloff apartments on BU’s upper campus.
“Her patience, vision and leadership brought us to where we are today,” Kresch said, referring to the popular housing options for students. “She felt strongly we should play a larger role in what we all knew students needed.”
Kresch said Sowash’s devotion to modernizing existing residence halls has kept BU’s room rates among the lowest in PASSHE.
Administrative assistant Carol Arnold believed in providing assistance to BU’s graduate students in one stop – the office of graduate studies. Her professional accomplishments include streamlining a number of processes in the graduate office to better serve students.
An avid Philadelphia Phillies fan, Arnold enjoyed the opportunity to meet her favorite mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, one-on-one during a campus visit and recalls placing a call from former Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa on hold … without immediately recognizing his name.
Barb Stiner came to BU as assistant director in the finance and administration office, was appointed interim budget director 10 years later and became budget director the following year. Stiner said the position of budget director provided opportunities she never imagined and allowed her to develop skills in areas including communication, leadership, management, technology and team building.
During her tenure at BU, Stiner was dedicated to continuously improving the budget process through service to the university community. Her service involved development of the planning and resource allocation process, training programs, committee involvement and reporting needs.
“What I have most enjoyed are the people that make BU, our sister universities and PASSHE who we are,” she said. “I will treasure these friendships.”
Retiring as manager of BU’s Kehr Union, Robert Klinger will be remembered for his willingness to step in where he was needed. The long-time director of University Safety and Police, Klinger stressed the importance of notifying students, faculty and staff of potential emergencies through Clery alerts and the on-campus emergency notification system.
Also during his tenure, campus police officers participated in mock disaster drills with neighboring police personnel and were first permitted to carry firearms.
Gini Rinkus’ 20 years of PASSHE service spans 14 years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the past six years at BU. In between, she worked in human resources at Albright College, Reading.
Rinkus most enjoyed the labor and employee relations responsibilities which required a high level of analysis, creativity and trustworthiness. “I like the toughest, most unpopular but most fulfilling part of human resources work where we can make the most strides for the university,” she said.
A career highlight centered on a positive outcome to a prolonged court battle during her tenure at IUP, but Rinkus said a favorite aspect of her position involved her day-to-day interactions with employees across BU’s campus. “It is important for HR people to get out and talk to the people who do the work,” she said. “Every single position is important.”
Georgia Ortman provided tireless service to BU students for 24 years. A dedicated employee, she communicated effectively with members of the campus community and was adept at answering questions and concerns related to the business office.
Ortman took a special interest in military students and always went above and beyond the call of duty to provide assistance. Her attention to the needs of students and parents has been an asset to the department and to the university.
During 15 years at BU, Kathy Hunsinger worked in residence life, the business office and human resources. She took pride in providing a high level of service to all employees and applicants who benefited from her pleasant demeanor and professional approach.
Hunsinger also showed that lifelong learning can be enjoyable, challenging and of great professional value, by completing the BU certificate in public administration and achieving certification as a professional in human resources.
Janet Fester came to work every day during her 15 years with BU with a dedication to perform her job to the best of her ability. Her supervisor Brian Sweetra said, “Her work ethic made her a tremendous asset to University Mail Services as well as to Bloomsburg University.”
Rose Andreas was a very valuable asset to BUPD for 24 years where, in addition to her clerical duties, she served as a dispatcher and student employee supervisor. Tom Phillips, director of university safety and police, said she is probably known to most as “the smiling person” who issued the faculty/staff parking hangtags.
Other staff members, their years of service and BU department at the time of their retirement are:
Joy Bedosky, 24, Alumni Affairs
Roland Gensel, 24, Storeroom
Anita Hakim, 25, President’s Office
Charles Harris, 25, Carpentry Shop
Roger Hartman, 15, Carpentry Shop
Charles Marks, 29, Paint Shop
A. Renee Matrishion, 35, Student Recreation Center
Georgia Ortman, 24, Business Office
Diana Pegg, 18, Facility Services
Lorraine Presley, 21, Political Science
Patricia Weinhofer, 23, Adult Advisement