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K-State Today

May 12, 2016



Sue Zschoche retirement celebration at 4 p.m. today

By Shelly Reves-Klinkner

Join the history department for a celebration of Sue Zschoche's retirement from 4-6 p.m. May 12 at the K-State Alumni Center's Tointon Great Room.

Zschoche joined the history department in 1984, after earning her doctorate in American studies at the University of Kansas. She brought to her service at Kansas State University a central commitment to the discipline of history and sharing its insights for the good of students, faculty colleagues and the larger community, even as she opened doors for the department's cooperation with other units on campus through her own preparation in American studies.

Zschoche's ability to speak insightfully in questions of women's history and gender issues, as well as to the larger context of cultural history, has always been coupled with a rare talent for fostering students' self-exploration and self-expression. Her insight into 20th century American society and culture also enabled her to cast light on major social problems such as violence toward women and to offer solutions through understanding, self-awareness and social transformation.

The confidence of her colleagues showed in the endorsement she enjoyed to become chair of the history department in 2002, and the cooperation she won from them ensured the reinforcement and growth of the unit even in times of fiscal uncertainty in the profession as a whole.

Zschoche led the staffing of the department's part in the interdisciplinary master's and doctoral programs in security studies. Throughout her tenure as department chair, Zschoche ensured the continuity of the department's own graduate degrees in history, working to strengthen these while opening the new interdisciplinary ventures. Increasingly, departmental research drew generous support from donors, as did innovative internship and teaching programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

It was under Zschoche’s leadership that the history department first established a relationship with K-State alumnus and donor Mark Chapman. The collaboration with Chapman ultimately inspired the creation of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, which is now thriving as a repository for the preservation of rural history and offers significant and diverse opportunities for undergraduate research.

Her accomplishments include other practical accomplishments such as the strengthening of the department's endowed accounts, ensuring the permanent enhancement of the department's teaching, research and service efforts. The greatest of her accomplishments come from her commitment to individual and group understanding and empowerment.