Omaha – Karen Ressegieu is currently the administrative technician with the UNO CPACS Dean’s Office. Since joining the staff of the, then, Omaha University in 1964, she has held many different positions, working with eight deans, three vice-chancellors and six directors.
During her 53 years of service, her job title has changed but her primary motivation behind her work has always been to help students.
On the surface, that took the form of completing paperwork accurately and on time. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Karen’s work often helped students with the financial side of academic pursuit. She helped one CPACS Dean find new scholarship money. She raised thousands of dollars for scholarships for women’s athletics, to give women some of the opportunities she never had. One of her proudest innovations was convincing Graduate Studies to expand the pay for graduate assistants by one month, covering work for two weeks of work in August and two weeks of work in May. This assured these students received pay within two weeks of the beginning of the semester instead of having to wait six weeks until the end of September.
Some of Karen’s fondest memories are about students, especially student workers, and helping them succeed. In conversations with them, she stresses the importance of studying, but tempers this with advice on how to have a life-school-work balance. As she puts it, “I often became Mom to these students.”
Just as important as what Karen accomplished, is how she accomplished it: with a strong sense of duty. She advises her students to be ethical. Her advice to her successor is to do the job his or her own way, but to remember you are representing the college and to keep an eye on details because the Dean’s Office should reflect both warmth and accuracy.
Karen’s sense of duty is reflected in some not-so-obvious actions. She is a Certified Administrative Professional, and a 43-year member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals whose core values include integrity demonstrated by honesty, accountability, and ethical behavior. And, most subtly, Karen is very careful in how she plans her time away from the office. She says there are times when she would like to be doing the fun thing, to take a vacation in August or May, but she doesn’t because there are important tasks—tasks important to students beginning a new semester and tasks important to the operation of the university—that need to be completed at those specific times of the year.
Karen is retiring on October 5. Thousands of students, faculty and staff members have benefited from Karen’s work at UNO. When asked how she would like to be remembered, Karen replied, “I did my best and gave it my all. I want to be remembered for my ethical and responsible behavior toward my career at UNO, for getting the job done and for helping others.”
The community is invited to a Retirement Reception celebrating Karen’s 53 years of service to UNO, on Sept. 21, 3-5 P.M., at the Thompson Alumni Center. View Invitation.
Or visit Karen while she is still around to hear about her retirement plans of playing more piano, learning how to make yeast breads, gardening and enjoying her home, and, of course, traveling, including getting passports and taking trips to see the autumn foliage, finally.
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