Newman to host retirement ceremony for staff

By: Austin Schwartz, Staff Writer

Newman will say goodbye this weekend to three longtime faculty and staff members who have been with the university for decades.

On Sunday, Dr. Larry Heck, Dr. Jane Weilert and Dr. Joan Melzer will be celebrated at a retirement celebration. The reception is open to faculty and staff.

Heck retired in July of 2020 after 46 years at Newman. He has since maintained his presence on campus as the Newman advisor for Pi Gamma Mu, a national honor society for the social sciences. Heck said he hasn’t found retirement to be all that exciting.

“I miss teaching and being in the classroom so much. A part of my life that has meant so much to me is over,” Heck said.

His favorite class was Introduction to Sociology, he said, and he liked to be able to introduce students to the discipline and explore a plethora of topics.

Heck has not yet found the time to enjoy himself but is taking care of some house work that has been put off for a long time, he said.

“One of the things I‘ve been doing is to work on some of those deferred maintenance projects at home. And there‘s many of them. So I‘ve stayed very busy,” Heck said. , The way I tried to fulfill my obligations, I would typically put in very long days here. And so other things in my life maybe got set aside.”

Melzer will retire once the fall semester is over. She has taught in the nursing department for 29 years.

“It’s a privilege to get to work with students and help them grow... I even try to keep in contact with some,” she said. “I had got an email from one in Germany out of the blue the other day. It keeps me grounded and lets me know I’m doing a good job,”

She has been an active nurse for nearly 50 years and plans to keep working in retirement at Via Christi.

“I have weekend shifts there and teach childbirth courses... I think it’s important to continue to practice while you teach,” she said. “Best to have a nurse tell you how to nurse, and like I said, it keeps me grounded.”

Melzer is a registered nurse for Ascension Clinic-Immediate Care and also works as a  childbirth educator through Ascension.

With her new free time found in retirement, Melzer said that she and her husband have moved into a retirement community offering many activities and a social community to interact with. “I’ve already started going to card nights, and we have been getting to know other couples from Texas and Colorado who have come here for their kids and grandkids.”

Weilert also taught in the nursing department for 34 years. Since 2014 she has served as the Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health. Weilert originally came to Newman in 1981 and took a brief hiatus to teach at the University of South Carolina for four years from 2006-2010.

The retirement celebration will be from 2-4 pm in the Sister Tarcisia Roths ASC Alumni center on the second floor of the Dugan Library.

PHOTO: File Photo