College Announces Faculty and Staff Retirements
Campus News

Six Franklin College staff members will join three faculty members in retiring from the college at the end of June 2020. Combined, they represent more than 160 years of service to the institution. Franklin College thanks each for their service to students and colleagues.

Staff members retiring include:

Tom Armor, Senior Director of Development and Planned Giving, Office of Development and Alumni Engagement

Armor spent 10 years as a public school teacher in Franklin before transitioning to higher education at Franklin College in 1981. From 1981-89 he served as the director of career planning and placement while also serving as a lecturer in the department of education. From there, he moved into the role of director of planned giving for the college, a post he held until 1996 when he left Franklin College to pursue a position as a financial adviser. Fifteen years later, he retired from the investment business and returned to Franklin College in 2010 as the senior director of development and planned giving.

Armor says his favorite memories of the college will be the “relationships with students, faculty and staff colleagues, and with amazing supports of Franklin College. All of these relationships were individually developed and cultivated, and have been an important part of a very fulfilling life for me.” Armor also said he is most proud of witnessing tangible impact on individual students from the generous philanthropy of individuals. “I’m very proud of Franklin College’s history and its time-tested resiliency,” said Armor. “I was here for the campus fires, and I am here for the pandemic. The events are eerily similar, and my confidence in the future is unwavering.”

Armor is a resident of Greenwood.

Wendy (Shuler) Hagn, Director of Church Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Office of Admissions

As an out-of-state student in the mid-80s, Hagn made the most of her liberal arts college education. As a double major in journalism and Spanish, she edited the yearbook which earned a national award, she won the Modern Languages Dreps Trophy, and she was named Outstanding Greek Woman, Nina Mason Pulliam Outstanding Woman Journalist and a Top 10 Senior. In addition, she and a classmate were the first recipients of a travel award, allowing them the opportunity to visit 11 European countries. 

In May 1986, Hagn graduated from Franklin College, and one month later she returned to campus as a research associate for the office of development during the Franklin College Design the Future Campaign. This campaign was organized after the devastating fires on campus in the mid-1980s as an effort to not only replace buildings lost to fire, but to transform the college to better meet the needs of the students.

Although Hagn left the college to pursue other jobs, she returned to campus in October 2004 to serve as director of alumni relations, a post she held for four years. She was then promoted to director of church relations within the office of alumni and development. In 2012, she transitioned to the office of admissions where she continued in her role with church relations while also holding other responsibilities, including recruiting first-year students, assisting transfer-students and working with alumni volunteers in recruiting students.

Hagn has been instrumental in maintaining the college’s long-standing relationship with the American Baptist Church by representing the college at regional and national events, organizing group events on campus, such as the Statewide American Baptist youth conventions and the annual American Baptist Womens’ and Girls’ Summer Conferences. Hagn has also assisted the college by helping with baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies, serving on the Convocation Lecture Committee, advising Student Foundation and serving on several faculty and staff selection committees. She has also shown her support of the college financially through membership in the President’s Club giving society.   

Hagn is a resident of Franklin

Kelli Jones, Associate Registrar, Academic Records Office

Jones began her career at Franklin College in 2007. She has served in several different capacities, most recently as the associate registrar where she has been instrumental in assisting students with planning their academic paths.

In addition to her official duties, Jones has served as an LA 100 instructor and as a Launch Lab Advocate to first-year students at the college, helping to guide them as they adjusted to the requirements and demands of college life. She also dedicated time to serving as a team coordinator for Habitat for Humanity and as an advocate for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Twice, Jones has coordinated study-away trips – the first one to three European countries where students learned about the Holocaust, and most recently to Greece to study the past and present Olympics.

For her dedication to the college and its students, Jones has been nominated twice for the Woman of Distinction award and for the Academic Adviser of the Year award. She is also an avid supporter of the college athletic teams, earning recognition twice by the college’s volleyball team during Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night.

While leaving Franklin College is a difficult choice, Jones said she is “very much looking forward to spending time with her family, traveling and continuing to serve her community.”

Jones is a resident of Franklin.

Julie Leeth, Administrative Assistant, Office of the Provost and Dean of the College

After working for nearly 15 years in the retail industry in both Indiana and Ohio, Leeth transitioned to the field of education, working in many roles in the Franklin Community School Corporation for 10 years. She started out as a full-time substitute teacher, supporting all of the elementary schools as well as the middle and high schools. From there, she became a corporation technology services associate, followed by an English remediation instructor, and, finally moving to the disciplinary side of education by serving as the alternate to suspension coordinator. During this time, Leeth also pursued her advanced degree, graduating in 2009 from the University of Indianapolis with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and psychology.

In the fall of 2009, Leeth began her career at Franklin College where she has served the campus in numerous roles, including assistant to career services and professional development, executive secretary for the division of social sciences, and, most recently, as the lead administrative assistant to the provost and academic affairs office.

Leeth says that while retirement usually means reflection and rest, she is most looking forward to “change and the auspicious adventure it will bring.” Her favorite memories of working at the college surround commencement ceremonies, “where our students, their families, staff and administrators all join in to celebrate the many commitments and accomplishments of four years. The feelings generated from those memories are remarkable,” said Leeth.

While her time as an employee at Franklin College is ending, she will stay connected as a proud parent of an Franklin College student.

Leeth is a resident of Franklin.

Christina Lucas, Associate Director, Office of Financial Aid

After graduating from Franklin College in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, Lucas returned to the campus in 1995 to serve as an accountant. From there, she took on additional responsibilities and roles, including acting controller and assistant director of financial aid. She also served as acting director of financial aid on four separate occasions.

After serving at the college for 10 years, Lucas solidified her dedication to higher education by pursuing a master’s degree in student affairs administration, graduating from Indiana State University in 2007. The college recognized her dedication to further her education to better support the students and promoted her to associate director of financial aid.

Now, after nearly 25 years at the college, Lucas is moving on to new adventures, which includes devoting more time to her husband, Richard, her six children and her 10 grandchildren. She also looks forward to transitioning to a position where she can support persons who struggle with physical and mental disabilities, which is close to her heart.

Helping students will be what Lucas will miss most about her job at Franklin, such as the time she was able to help a student realize he could save on student loans by working hard to complete his degree in three years, rather than four … or the time she was able to encourage a student who was going through a personal crisis to fill out the FAFSA, so financial aid would be an option the following year. “Over my almost 25 years, I have many, many of these memories that I will cherish,” said Lucas, who also added she “would like to thank her Franklin College family for all the love, support and friendships throughout the years.”

Lucas is a resident of Shelbyville.

Vicki Mast, Technology Integration Facilitator, Information Technology Services

Mast joined the Franklin College staff in August 2000 as a temporary employee, and became a full-time staff member in December 2002.

Her duties evolved to include supporting the Lilly-funded LeaderQuest program, as well as providing technology and software support for campus. She was instrumental in providing expertise to faculty, staff and students on the use of the college’s learning management systems, as well as other education tools.

In addition to her duties in technology, Mast served as an adjunct instructor in the college’s education department for six years. She provided numerous workshops on the use of educational technology equipment and software to advance student learning. “The years I served as an adjunct was a wonderful experience getting to know so many education majors,” said Mast. “Helping our students master software as well as how to install and use equipment became an important part of the seniors’ final courses. Several alumni shared later that their knowledge of software and equipment helped them secure positions when other candidates did not have those skills.”

Mast has served on numerous committees, employee-search teams and grant-writing teams during her time at Franklin, as well as devoted time to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and PALNI (a network of private academic libraries in Indiana) teams to advance learning resources and collaboration on college campuses.

Mast has also volunteered her free time to lead lunch-time workouts, a component of the college’s Wellness Program, and a craft hour to offer a creative outlet for colleagues. She was also part of a Franklin College group who volunteered time to knit “Super Scarves” for the Super Bowl when it was held in Indianapolis in 2012. The scarves were worn by volunteers to help promote the event and make them more visible to spectators. In her retirement, Mast is looking forward to having more time to craft and cook. Mast is a resident of Greenwood.

Faculty members retiring include:

Ray Begovich, Professor of Public Relations

Begovich, Ed.D., professor of public relations, joined the Franklin College faculty in 1999. He holds an associate’s degree from Lake Michigan College, a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, and master’s and doctorate in education degrees from Ball State University. Prior to coming to Franklin, Begovich was the vice president of a public relations agency. He also worked in health care, higher education, economic development and tourism. Throughout his time teaching he continued to go back into the field during summer breaks and on weekends, including spending two summers working with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. 

“I often go back into the field to ‘practice what I teach,’” said Begovich, who cited the experiences as opportunities to keep in close contact with the practical aspects of the profession he loves, as well as to help him develop contacts he used to help secure internships and jobs for his students.

Begovich is a member of the American Journalism Historians Association and a member of the Public Relations Division and History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. While at Franklin, Begovich gained international distinction by discovering the first known film footage of President Franklin Roosevelt in his wheelchair. He used the opportunity to deliver strategic messaging about media portrayals of people with disabilities. In 2019, Begovich was honored by his peers at Franklin College with the Faculty Excellence in Scholarship Award, which recognizes a faculty member’s scholarly achievement at the college, as well as work outside of the college.

Begovich will be considered for emeritus status at the October Board of Trustees meeting. Begovich is a resident of Indianapolis.

Ralph Guentzel, Professor of History

Guentzel, Ph.D., joined the department of history as a member of the Franklin College faculty in 1999. During his 20 years at the college, he has served as the chair of the history department as well as the director of the Centre for Canadian Studies. At Franklin, Guentzel has taught global history, Canadian history and European history. His specialty has been modern and contemporary history, as well as exploring political ideologies. Guentzel has enjoyed sharing the history of developed countries with his students as a way to expose them to how other countries have found answers to crucial questions, such as, “How can we create an inclusive society?” and “How can we provide for social justice?” Guentzel said, “Students who have been exposed to these answers have become more aware of the world around them and grown as intellectuals and as citizens.”

A native of Kassel, Germany, Guentzel studied at Georgia-Augusta University in Goettingen, Germany, and the Free University in Berlin, Germany, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for advanced degrees, earning both a master’s degree and doctorate degree in history from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Prior to joining the faculty at Franklin College, he taught at Concordia and McGill Universities. He also spent the fall semester of 2009 teaching in Salzberg, Austria, as part of the Alderson-Broaddus College’s European Studies program. Guentzel is the author of four books, including his most recent, The Demigod’s City: A Short History of Kassel, which explored how the medieval Kassel became a thriving metropolis in the center of Germany and Europe. Kassel is famous for its baroque style castles, as well as being home to the Brothers Grimm, famous for their collection of fairy tales during the 1800s. Guentzel has published more than a dozen articles that have appeared in anthologies or scholarly journals in Canada, Germany, India, Russia and the United States.

By a vote of the board of trustees of Franklin College, Guentzel will receive emeritus status upon retirement.  

He is a resident of Indianapolis.

Hank Nuwer, Professor of Journalism

Nuwer, professor of journalism, joined the Franklin College faculty in 2002. He received his bachelor’s degree in English from Buffalo State College and his master’s degree in English from New Mexico Highlands University. Nuwer is a renowned expert on hazing, appearing on CNN, ABC News, ESPN, the “Today Show” and other national media to talk about the topic. He has also written 26 books, fiction and non-fiction, including Hazing: Destroying Young Lives, Wrongs of Passage, High School Hazing and Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, which was adapted as an NBC-TV movie called Moment of Truth: Broken Pledges. Nuwer has also authored more than 2,200 articles.

While at Franklin College, Nuwer earned the Faculty Excellence in Scholarship award in 2009 and in 2017. During his tenure, he strived to mentor students. “Having had many memorable experiences as a journalist over the years with access to many a scientist, athlete, thinker, and author, I try to give students the benefit of my own experiences they probably have not had. I want their classroom experience to be rigorous, but I also want them to know I care about what they think, and that I care about their values and development as people and journalists,” said Nuwer.

Nuwer was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the State University College of New York for his work on hazing; the school also awarded him an honorary doctorate. He also was elected to the Ball State University (BSU) Journalism Hall of Fame for his long career as an author and journalist. His manuscripts are part of the Hank Nuwer Hazing Collection in the BSU library. Nuwer is a founding board member of HazingPrevention.com. The organization named its top award in his honor. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

In his retirement, Nuwer will continue to lecture on hazing in society as a speaker for Greek University, as well as work on several books in progress, including Cyberbullying (Young Adult), Hazing in American Culture and Kurt Vonnegut: Time of Death. He also plans to spend time with his wife, Gosia, a native of Poland. He has two sons and three grandchildren.

By a vote of the board of trustees of Franklin College, Nuwer will receive emeritus status upon retirement. He is a resident of Union City.

For additional information, contact bferguson@FranklinCollege.edu.

POSTED Jun 25, 2020