Tribute to the teachers of Jorgensen Hall

Although many professors have made significant contributions to learning in Jorgensen Hall, here are 10 who served the longest, touching the lives of countless students over the years.

Earl Leonhardt, Ph.D.

Sound logic and reasoning were attributes that closely aligned Earl Leonhardt to his love of mathematics and teaching math to hundreds of students. Dr. Leonhardt knew he wanted to teach math from the time he graduated from Union in 1950—so much that he was hired upon graduation. He taught part-time for the next year while he completed a master of education degree. After teaching high school math for one year in Fairbury, Neb., he was hired to teach full-time in Union’s math department from fall 1952 until his retirement in March 1987. Well known for his unique sense of humor and for serving as one of the mar- shals who led the faculty down the aisle at graduation time, Dr. Leonhardt was at Union for 37 years.

Edwin Ogden, Ph.D.

Having the distinction of being the first chair of the mathematics de- partment at Union College in 1938, Ed Ogden began his illustrious career as a math teacher in 1926 after graduating from Union in 1922. His class gave a gift of clock works for the clock in the clock tower so it would actually function and, in 1972 his class spearheaded a fund drive to build the new clock tower at their 50-year reunion. Dr. Ogden and Sam Reinholtz, a plant services employee, constructed the six and a half-foot stainless steel globe that is welded at the 50-foot level of the clock tower. He also served as academic dean from 1946-1958. A conference room located next to the president’s office was named the Ogden Room in appreciation for Dr. Ogden’s many years of service to Union College.

Walter Page, Ph.D.

Devotion to Union College kept Walter Page in Lincoln for many years following his career as a biology teacher at Union. Beginning the summer following his graduation from Union until he retired in 1980, Dr. Page brought biology to life for scores of students. After his retirement he continued to volunteer time in the division as well as devote more time to his love of photography. He especially enjoyed copying and restoring old photographs. Earning a Master of Science degree only three years after he began teaching, he completed a doctoral degree in zoology in 1962.

Guy Jorgensen, Ph.D.

When Guy Jorgensen came to Union College to teach chemistry in 1925, he was the only member of the chemistry staff. Chemistry was housed at the south end of the College Building basement and, as this department grew, Jorgensen grew with it, earning master’s and doctoral degrees. Dr. Jorgensen was well known for his chemical mastery and held an unequaled record among SDA colleges for training pre-medical chemistry majors. For many years the acceptance rate into medical school was higher than other Adventist colleges. A new science building was built in 1947 and was later named for Dr. Jorgensen for his 30+ years of service. As an avocation, he played the piano and often played duets with Dr. H.G. Reinmuth, professor of modern languages.

Keith Riese, M.S.E.E

Ask any student who has taken statistics (or any other clas) from Keith Riese what kind of teacher he is and they will generally reply that he’s one of the best. Known around campus as someone who truly cares about teaching, Keith has taught pre-engineering and math at Union since 1981. He enjoys researching sequential machine and ocular movements in his spare time when he’s not playing the organ at College View church or managing public address systems on campus.

Larry Ray, Ph.D.

When Larry Ray first came to Union in 1983 he taught in the Divi- sion of Business and Computer Science. Not wanting that to be his only contribution to Union, he became chair of the division in 1991. From there he served as academic dean for two years before assuming his current role teaching mathematics. In September 1990 he was awarded the Zapara Award for Excellence in Teaching, a prestigious national award given to Adventist teachers. Upon winning the award, many stu- dents remarked, “It’s clear he WANTS to help each student learn and he cares about the students.”

Charles “Chuck” Freidline, Ph.D.

Known across campus as a singing chemist, Chuck Freidline retired from full-time teaching in 2012, after spending 29 years at Union. Always a chemist at heart, he helped myriad students remember oxidation-reduction reactions through song, specifically the song “Leo the Lion.” He is an avid researcher and has encouraged many students to study environmental research through the years. He earned recognition as a winner of the Zapara Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990. Freidline taught kindergarten Sabbath School for many years, bringing his chemistry expertise to the young children as well.

Neil Rowland, Ph.D.

A son of missionary parents, Neil Rowland’s academic career was interrupted by World War II and, after his discharge from the Army, he graduated from Union College in 1947. After teaching high school for a short time, he returned to Lincoln to complete a master’s degree in ecology and began teaching biology at Union in 1952. His Ph.D. was earned in plant physiology in 1961 and he became a full professor through 1966 when he served as academic dean until 1975. An overseas call took his family to the Philippines until 1983, when they returned to Lincoln. In his retirement, he volunteered in various capacities on the college campus.

Gilbert McMillen, Ph.D.

Just eight years after earning a baccalaureate degree in biology from Union College, Gilbert McMillen came back to Union to teach in 1967, teaching until his untimely death in 1991. In 1981 he helped establish and was the curator for Union’s statewide arboretum site, the Joshua Turner Arboretum. One of his last contributions to Union’s campus was the acquisition and planting of a tree that was a direct descendant of Isaac Newton’s apple tree. The dedication service for this tree took place eight days after his death. Dr. Charles Freidline wrote a song in his honor that was sung at the service.

David Show, Ph.D.

For 24 years David Show taught astronomy, origins and physics at Union after teaching math and science at Gitwe College in Rwanda. Always a favorite professor, he was granted the Zapara Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1989. He served on the strategic planning committee and was well known for his intelligence, knowledge and humility. In his spare time, he enjoyed golf and tennis, always coming up with a new golf club to try. He succumbed to brain cancer in December 2002.

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