Casper retires after 35 years

Kristine Gill

Current faculty senate chair, economics professor celebrates departure, but says she will remain active with the university

Cheryl Casper, economics professor and faculty senate chair, left, laughs with French professor Maryann DeJulio, right. Casper has been a professor for 35 years and is retiring. Stephanie Dever | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m going to be around.”

Cheryl Casper might be retiring after 35 years at the university, but she isn’t leaving. At least that was the idea that echoed yesterday as she chatted with dozens of colleagues who came to wish her well at her retirement reception.

“I’ve been in school all my life,” Casper said as she addressed the crowd. “It’s hard for me to imagine the pace of my life without being around an academic year.”

While she plans to keep busy at the university, Casper said she is looking forward to retirement.

“I’m looking forward to freedom of flexibility; just relaxing and not being stressed about things,” she said.

“I’ll be around campus in various capacities. I hope I’m not hanging on and wearing out my welcome.”

Casper, the current faculty senate chair, came to the university in 1973 as an assistant economics professor. She was the first woman to become a full professor in the College of Business.

Since then she’s held administrative and faculty positions including acting dean of the College of Business, president of the faculty council and associate provost. While she will not teach at the university after this semester, she is staying with the AAUP as chief negotiator should contract negotiations take place this summer.

“She has served in all these capacities exceedingly well even though they seem contradictory,” said James Louis, retired history professor, adding that Casper advocated both the administration and faculty in various roles at Kent State.

Casper said she will also attend a few meetings during the summer with the national AAUP council. She was recently elected secretary for the Portage County Animal Protective League board and will continue to work there.

“In contrast to that soft side, there is a quiet, intense and powerful side,” emeritus Terry Kuhn said. “There is a competence that manifests itself in a steel resolve.”

“I cannot conceive of Cheryl Casper sitting in a rocking chair in retirement,” said Kuhn, adding he would always remember Casper for her clear thinking and strong belief in principle and policy.

George Stevens, dean of the College of Business Administration, said Casper gave 110 percent effort in each of her positions.

“I don’t care what role she’s played in,” he said. “She’s really going to do one hell of a job.”

Kathryn Wilson, interim chair of the economics department, agreed.

“Don’t take her on because she’s one hell of an advocate,” Wilson said.

In addition to continued involvement in the university community, Casper said she hopes to travel. She said her husband, Gene Wenninger, wants to visit Ireland and she plans to visit her children who live in Manhattan, Boston and Los Angeles as well.

“That gives us an excuse for travel too,” she said.

“We’re going to miss you,” Walter Pechenuk, a lecturer in the Computer Science Department, told Casper toward the end of the ceremony.

“Well I’m not going anywhere actually,” she replied.

Contact academic affairs reporter Kristine Gill at [email protected].