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A farewell to 2011 retirees

One for the memory books (left to right): Retirees Pat Ode, Maria Ladrón de Guevara, Tom Thieman, Jo Ann Holonbek and Theresa McPartlin, with Senior VP Colleen Hegranes.
One for the memory books (left to right): Retirees Pat Ode, Maria Ladrón de Guevara, Tom Thieman, Jo Ann Holonbek and Theresa McPartlin, with Senior VP Colleen Hegranes.
Photo by Maria Ignacio '12

St. Catherine University held its annual retirement reception on Tuesday. University President Andrea Lee, IHM, thanked the six honorees “for believing in St. Kate’s, and in our mission to develop transformational leaders.”

The May 10 event recognized Jo Ann Holonbek; Margery Smith, CSJ; Maria Ladrón de Guevara; Theresa McPartlin; Pat Ode and Dr. Tom Thieman.

Each of the four professors — Holonbek, McPartlin, Ode and Thieman — will be granted Faculty Emeritus status at the May 22 Commencement ceremony.

Brief bios:

Jo Ann Holonbek, associate professor of theater

Holonbek has been at St. Kate’s nearly four decades. In addition to directing more than 50 stage productions, she developed the “Introduction to the Theater” course and has taught almost every theater courses at the University. Over the past two years, Holonbek has been instrumental in shaping the theater curriculum for the new Music and Theater Department. Recently, she directed the delightful 1,2, Buckle My Shoe, a children’s show that combined song, rhyme, puppetry and improvisation, at various local schools, libraries and St. Kate's Frey Theater.

Margery Smith, CSJ, Professor Emeritus of English and University archivist

After graduating from St. Kate's in 1949, Sister Margery taught high school and earned a master's degree in English from Marquette University and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. She later traveled to Cambridge, England, on a Fulbright scholarship. She returned to her alma mater as a professor, teaching in the English Department for 40 years, before moving to the archives and graduate library program. Read more about her in SCAN June 2009.

Maria Ladrón de Guevara, custodian

Maria has been part of St. Kate’s Custodial Services for nearly a dozen years. She has worked in key areas of Derham Hall and the facilities building, but spent most of her time in Whitby, Stanton and Crandall residence halls. On Sundays, she co-hosted the radio show “Encuentro” on KFAI that focused on Latin American folk and traditional music and arts. “I will be attached to St. Kate's always with my mind and my heart,” says Ladrón de Guevara, who grew up in Mexico and became an American citizen a few years ago.

Theresa McPartlin, assistant professor of social work

McPartlin, who graduated from St. Kate’s in 1969, was among the School of Social Work’s first adjunct professors. She taught in that position for 19 years, before became a fulltime professor in 2002. Four years later, she was named director of the Bachelor of Social Work Field Education program. Under her leadership, the School of Social Work introduced new and effective processes to track a baccalaureate student’s progress and concerns while on field placement. “[St. Kate’s] is where I started, and so it’s fitting that this is where I end my professional career,” she says.

Pat Ode, dietetics program director and assistant professor of family, consumer and nutritional sciences

Ode joined St. Kate’s nearly 35 years ago and has served as Director of the Dietetics Program since 1996 — a nationally regarded program that has existed at St. Kate’s since 1935. In this role, she has guided many students through the competitive, national dietetics internship application process. St. Kate’s internship placement rates for dietetic students are well above the national average — and the University has a 100 percent passing rate for registered dietitians. Ode is also responsible for the program’s successful accreditation in 2004 and 2009. Read more about her at St. Kate’s News.

Dr. Tom Thieman, professor of psychology

In his 35 years at St. Kate’s, Thieman has taught nearly 6,500 students across 233 scheduled classes and 73 internships, research experiences or independent studies. He earned the Faculty Teaching Award in 1981 and 1987, and both the Alumnae Association Teaching Excellence Award and the Minnesota Psychological Association’s prestigious D. Mink Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2003. Thieman has served as psychology department chair, sociology department chair and interim associate academic dean. He has also served on every elected faculty committee at St. Kate’s, as well as faculty and administrative staff search committees.

May 11, 2011 by Pauline Oo

See also: Faculty, Leadership, Students