President to Retire, Farewell Dr. Schallenkamp

President Schallenkamp announced her retirement last October

President Dr. Kay Schallenkamp announced last October that she will retire at the end of the 2014 Spring semester. After eight years of being a leader at BHSU, Dr. Schallenkamp said she plans to spend more time with family and focus on her health.

Before becoming the first woman president at BHSU, Dr. Schallenkamp was president at Emporia State University in Kansas for nine years. Her experience at ESU allowed her to ‘hit the ground running’ with what she wanted to accomplish with her time as president at BHSU.

“The community was very welcoming, the move was easy. Great faculty, staff, students, a wonderful administrative team and so the transition — as I recall 8 years later — was very easy,” Dr. Schallenkamp said. “It’s a good job, I don’t regret the 17 years that I will have been president. I’ve had great experiences, I’ve met wonderful people, I’ve travelled and I have done things that a first generation farm kid from eastern South Dakota never dreamt of.”

For many students, staff, and faculty at BHSU, she will be missed for the impact she has had on people’s lives and for the things she has accomplished.

“She will be missed on a personal level by all the employees because she has been perceptive about needs and about accomplishments, and quick to reinforce what faculty and administrators were accomplishing,” said Dr. Pat Simpson, Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. “Dr. Schallenkamp has had exceptional vision to inspire new graduate programs, and to inspire us at Black Hills State to seek recognition for the wonderful things we were already doing. She’s really emphasized that in our mission we don’t just deliver quality education, but we’ll be recognized as the innovative quality institution that we are.”

Dr. Schallenkamp said one of her favorite parts of the job was that she got the chance to work with students.

“Many (students) are first generation, many come from small rural backgrounds, and I think Black Hills State makes a difference in their lives – creates dreams and vision for what they can do in their lives. Seeing how the university impacts students will always be a favorite memory,” Dr. Schallenkamp said. “The favorite memories mostly revolve around watching students come to campus and then watching the maturation that occurs over the next few years and then seeing them graduate and go into the work force. That’s always a highlight, the success of the students,” she said.

The chance to improve student organization and engagement on campus was a big part of the job for Dr. Schallenkamp.

“Working with President Schallenkamp has been awesome. She is very supportive and very committed to student engagement here and to seeing clubs and student organizations become stronger. From my very first day here she came up to me and she told me she knew I was going to do great things, and if I ever need anything to come to her. She has been that kind of president,” said Erica Whitiker, Student Engagement and Programing Coordinator. “I am sad to see her go, but I understand. She has done some amazing service for quite a number of years, but I am also excited for new beginnings.”

Dr. Schallenkamp was also proud of the physical improvements to the university as well. When she arrived in 2006, the walkway between Meier Hall, Woodburn Hall, and the Young Center used to be loading docks for trucks. The side entrance of Woodburn Hall used to be the central location for the garbage bins. Since then the loading docks have been moved to the other side of the student union and the Flickema Gardens have been added to the outside of Woodburn Hall.

“The Flickema Gardens was another major initiative, if you saw before and after pictures it’s just amazing,” Dr. Schallenkamp said.

She also initiated the expansion of David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union to include the Hive dining center, Club Buzz, the BHSU BUZZ radio station, the counseling center, and other various improvements.

“The students living in the residence halls, by and large, said they went to the student union twice to buy their books,” Schallenkamp said about a survey that they took of the students before the expansion of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket student union.

Dr. Tim Steckline, a speech professor at BHSU since 1992, said that Schallenkamp has done a great job to improve the physical appearance of the campus.

“She has paid attention to our physical presentation of our campus, and I think that’s a good thing that she has made us look better,” Dr. Steckline said. “When I first came here, Woodburn hall had nothing around it — not a tree, not a bush, not a flower – I was shocked that I hadn’t really seen a campus like this.”

The Student Success Center, along with the other offices, got moved to the first floor of Woodburn. Dr. David Wolff, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said that the improvements to the campus make it a better learning environment for the students.

“You improve the physical plant to make the facility more useable to our students now, to improve education, to help improve the product we are delivering — the educational product — and hopefully its done that, but while you are doing that you help recruit and you help retention, and you help the entire overall experience at an institution like this,” Dr. Wolff said.

In 2010, Dr. Schallenkamp and Jhett Albers, Director of Athletics, made the push to move BHSU athletics from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II. There have also been major renovations to the athletic facilities, the football field’s official turf and the new scoreboard.

“With the athletics, and the university as a whole, what Dr. Schallenkamp has done has had a vision and a mission to move us forward athletically to Division II and all of that intent to transition to become a successful Division II school,” Albers said. “Outside of athletics, just her vision and mission to continue to expand and provide opportunities for students and programs — graduate programs – and just being progressive and following through with the things that she has started has just been tremendous.”

Along with the past physical improvements to the school, Dr. Schallenkamp has set in motion several projects for the university in the future. The Alumni Center will be finished in the summer of 2014, the building of the new Crow Peak Residence Hall has plans to be finished by 2015 and there are plans for a major remodel of the Jonas Science building. Another project that she and others have been working on is to have an underground campus at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead.

“She secured the money – the donation – that’s making possible the Sanford Science Education Center, and that is not only about remodeling a portion of Jonas to become that center, but it’s also about the innovative instruction that’s going to occur as a result of having the Sanford donation and the center,” Simpson said.

Dr. Schallenkamp said one of her favorite parts of being president was the chance to be at graduation day.

“Graduation day is my favorite day,” she said. “I think I’ve been to over 100 graduations, and yet – this is not an exaggeration – when that music starts and the students come walking in I still get goose bumps.”

The students, staff and faculty would like to say farewell to Dr. Schallenkamp and wish her all the best. As her career in higher education comes to an end, she has some words of advice for students just starting out in the working world.

“When you’re my age and you’re retiring, never put yourself in a position to say I wish I had — I wish I had done something differently, I wish I had did something that I didn’t do. Take advantage of the opportunities, enjoy life — you only go around once — so enjoy it, make it the very best that you possibly can. Hopefully when you’re retiring you can look back and say I made a difference. By being alive I made a difference in the life of someone, no regrets.”