Photo: Retired math instructor Connie Mays.
IRONTON, Ohio – Colleagues – both current and former – and family gathered Oct. 27 in the Vern G. Riffe Mains Rotunda to honor retiring Southern Campus faculty and staff.
Dean of Ohio University Southern Dr. Nicole Pennington said, “Our campus is so fortunate. These talented individuals dedicated a combined 115 years of service to the University,” Pennington said. “They’ve touched numerous lives during those years.”
Connie Mays earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in m ath from Marshall University. She began working with Ohio University in 1977 as an adjunct mathematics instructor, and during her time she continued teaching mathematics and also served as the director of the Equine Studies program when the program started at the Southern Campus.
At the reception, Mays described how a chance encounter led her to the classroom. “At the time, I was working for National Mine Service Company, and my husband and I were looking at a piece property we were thinking about buying, and I struck up a conversation with the owner. He asked, ‘have you ever thought about teaching?’ and 40 years later the rest is history.”
That property owner was Dr. Bill Dingus, Executive Director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation. In 1977, he was dean of Ohio University Southern.
Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree in Christian education from Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, Pam Porter returned home to Ironton. A few years later, she started working for Ohio University Southern— before there was a campus—when classes were held at Ironton High School in the evenings. Throughout her 37 years, she served as administrative coordinator for every Southern Campus Dean.
Addressing attendees at the reception, Porter said, “How do you sum up all of the people, events and memories of these 37 years? I would have to say that it’s been a tremendous and transformative journey.” She added, “It was a great honor to be here to watch this campus grow.”
In addition to her other duties, Porter was an integral part of the planning for ground-breaking and dedication for the four buildings now in Ironton in addition to graduate recognition ceremonies and many of the special events on campus.
Electronic Media Instructor David Surgalski earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s in telecommunications from Ohio University. Before joining the Southern Campus, Surgalski served as Vice President and General Manager of Cox Communications for a decade. He taught at Ohio University Southern for 18 years.
Carmie Stewart dedicated 30 years to serving students in the Southern Campus library.