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Oct. 4, 2012 Volume 34, No. 7

Emeriti faculty honored, given status certificates at summer event

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HONORING FACULTY From left, Nancy Molavi, associate teaching professor emerita of French, and husband Kaye talk with Flore Zepir, professor and chair of romance languages, and Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, prior to the start of the emeriti luncheon July 30 in Memorial Union. Nicholas Benner photo


Many retired faculty stay on part time

Twenty-four recently retired faculty members were honored July 30 in Memorial Union’s Alumni Faculty Lounge. Chancellor Brady J. Deaton and Provost Brian Foster presented status certificates for their decades of service.

Though some emeriti will break ties with the University of Missouri, many others continue as part-time faculty.

“You have helped us get to this point,” Deaton told them, “and I know how much you continue to help this university. Thank you for what you have done, and thank you for what you continue to do.”

Among faculty honored at the University of Missouri Emeriti Luncheon were William Bondeson, professor emeritus of philosophy; Nancy Molavi, associate    professor emerita of romance languages; Douglas Grouws, research professor emeritus of learning, teaching and curriculum; and William Miller, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering. 

During the presentation, Marian Minor, professor emerita of physical therapy, was honored for her cutting-edge research involving osteoarthritis patients.

Through the mid 1980s, most health professionals advised osteoarthritis patients to reduce activity to the affected joints. 

“Marian was one of the few people at that time to study what would happen if people with arthritis exercised,” Kyle Gibson, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the School of Health Professions, said during his remarks. 

Minor’s arthritis research asked new questions about the relationship between exercise and joint function. Traditionally, rest was prescribed for people with arthritic joints. The assumption was that exercise would add to joint damage and pain. But her studies showed that was not the case.

Today, health professionals commonly recommend conditioning exercises for people with osteoarthritis, the most common joint disorder that affects half of those 55 and older.

“It was fun to be a rebel in the world of arthritis research,” Minor, 69, said at the luncheon.

Since her 2010 retirement, Minor has remained active with the University of Missouri System wellness program and is director of  the 

Central Missouri Regional Arthritis Center, one of seven programs in Missouri with state and federal funding that helps arthritic patients. 

Donna Otto, teaching instructor emerita in the School of Nursing, retired May 31. Currently she’s a part-time clinical instructor for the MU online nursing program. Full retirement for Otto is like the horizon on a foggy sea — it’s out there somewhere, but indefinite.  “It’s so fun,” Otto, 62, said of her job. “It’s not like work. I love it because you know you are making a difference in people’s lives.”

Otto’s nursing students appreciate her dedication. In 2008, she received an Honor Tap from Mystical 7, a student-led secret honor society that follows university values (one of the seven was a nursing student). Last April, the fourth floor of Galena Residence Hall was named the Otto House. Students worked for two years with Residential Life and campus officials behind the scenes to make it happen.

At the emeriti luncheon, Otto said she would gladly offer career advice and instruction to the Galena nursing students. “But I don’t do laundry,” she joked.