Retirees recognized for service to university


With the closing of another academic year, we say goodbye to not only our class of 2024 graduates, but also to a group of faculty and staff members of have given years of service to the university and its students.

Charles Cooke

Charles Cooke
Charles Cooke

Cooke, physics professor, has been a longstanding part of Lenoir-Rhyne University. He is a graduate of the school and has 60 years of experience as a faculty member. He contributed to several campus needs and program initiatives as a division chair, department chair, director of campus computing and director of institutional research.

Cooke was a recipient of the university's Raymond Morris Bost Distinguished Professor Award, given annually to honor an LR faculty member for outstanding teaching and mentorship. In addition, Cooke is a member of the LR Servus Universitas Society. He was inaugurated in 2016 as a notable way of honoring employees who have dedicated the better part of their lives to serve the mission of LR and make it a better place for those who come after them. To be a member of this society, a Lenoir-Rhyne employee must reach at least 25 years of continuous, full-time service. Of literally thousands of individuals who have been employed by the university, fewer than 150 have reached this milestone.

Marsha Fanning

Marsha Fanning
Marsha Fanning

Fanning was a Glenn R. Frye Professor of Biology, coordinator of the biology program and chair of the School of Natural Sciences. She joined the faculty in 1973. Fanning especially enjoyed teaching ecology and working with the students completing their senior research projects. She was a faculty advisor for several student organizations and worked with numerous campus committees.

Fanning received the Roediger Distinguished Service Professor Award, designated annually by the president to recognize distinguished service to the university, profession and community, and the Raymond Morris Bost Distinguished Professor Award, given annually to honor an LR faculty member for outstanding teaching and mentorship. Fanning was also inaugurated into the LR Servus Universitas Society in 2016.

Melody Laney

Melody Laney
Melody Laney

In her role as federal grant and work-study coordinator, Laney helped students with their federal grant applications and work-study applications.

In her more than 20 years at Lenoir-Rhyne, she has enjoyed working with students. When working with them, she tries to put herself in the student’s and parents’ shoes to help them understand the FAFSA and explain the financial aid process on a level that they and their parents can understand.

Burl McCuiston

Burl McCuiston
Burl McCuiston

McCuiston had been a librarian in the Carl A. Rudisill Library since 1975. 

In 2021 he was named collection development, instruction and reference librarian and assistant director. In addition, he served as the library liaison to the English, history, natural sciences, modern languages and political science programs and was the contact person for special collections and archives. 

McCuiston was inaugurated into the LR Servus Universitas Society in 2016.

Judy Moore

Judy Moore
Judy Moore

Moore was an associate professor of biology. She joined the LR full-time faculty in 2013. Moore previously was a lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Kimberly Oder

Kimberly Oder
Kimberly Oder

Oder was the coordinator of enrollment services. In her role, she also coordinated veterans’ education benefits. 

She is originally from Hickory, North Carolina and has enjoyed the happiness and energy from LR’s faculty, staff and students during her time at the university.

Bill Richter

William Richter
Bill Richter

Richter was a professor of communication with a wide variety of professional experience, including an extensive resume of voice-over work for commercials and training videos. 

Richter’s writing appears in the Encyclopedia of Television and The International Encyclopedia of Mass Communications. In addition, he authored and published the book Radio: A Complete Guide to the Industry and worked in radio as a media director for a program training Saudi customs agents in Arkansas. 

In 2002, Richter received the Raymond Morris Bost Distinguished Professor Award and was inaugurated into the LR Servus Universitas Society in 2016.

Paul Schiffel

Paul Schiffel
Paul Schiffel

Hired in April 2007, Schiffel became Lenoir-Rhyne's first-ever head coach for women's swimming and took over the men's program when it came on board three years later.

Schiffel has coached 10 All-Bluegrass Mountain Conference honorees and the program's first-ever NCAA Division II All-American in Chelsea Kyle in 2012 (women's 200-yard butterfly). 

In back-to-back seasons, Schiffel coached swimmers to All-American status in 2020 and 2021. Micah McRea became the first male All-American in program history in 2020 and followed that up in 2021. Lisa Boernigen was also named an All-American in 2021.

Schiffel currently serves as the owner and coach of the Catawba Valley Aquatics Club and had been the head coach of the men's and women's swimming teams at St. Stephens High School from its inception in 1992 and lasting 15 years. 

He also served as the head coach of the Hickory Seahorse Swim Team and coached a swimmer who later became a two-time NCAA Division II All-American. In the 1980s, Schiffel coached several swimmers who qualified for the Olympic Trials and United States Senior Nationals.

In May 2016, Schiffel was inducted into the prestigious Catawba County Sports Hall of Fame. A member of the East Carolina University men's swimming team, Schiffel earned MVP honors as a junior and served as an assistant coach for the Pirates from 1975 to 1978. 

He is a retired physical education teacher at St. Stephens Elementary School in Hickory.

Kathryn Tinkelenberg

Kathryn Tinkelenberg
Kathryn Tinkelenberg

Tinkelenberg was the interim Chair of the School of Nursing. She is a certified nurse educator and a registered nurse. She taught courses in the MSN program in the education and administrative concentrations as well as courses at all levels of the undergraduate nursing program, including an elective course offered every spring to prepare senior nursing students to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

She also taught a university liberal arts core course on pandemics and epidemics. In addition, Tinkelenberg has led study abroad courses to Spain and the United Kingdom. 

She currently chairs the undergraduate and graduate curriculum committees in the School of Nursing. Tinkelenberg has served the university in several capacities, including as a member of the LR COVID-19 task force and faculty assembly chair. 

Tom Turner

Tom Turner
Tom Turner

Turner, an associate professor in the College of Business and Economics, joined Lenoir-Rhyne in 2017. He served as the program coordinator for the marketing, professional sales and supply chain management programs. He taught courses in marketing principles, marketing research, sales management, integrated marketing communications, marketing strategy and supply chain management.

His research interests focus on innovative business models, the experience economy, agile supply chain practices and consumer behavior. He has published research in refereed journals such as "Leisure/Loisir," the "Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management" and the "Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal." 

He has delivered multiple peer-reviewed research presentations at conferences held by the American Marketing Association, International Textiles and Apparel Association, American Collegiate Retailing Association, Academy of Marketing and the Marketing Management Association.

Previously, Turner worked for more than 20 years in a variety of progressive leadership roles in industrial engineering, supply chain management, operations and sales and marketing with multiple Fortune 500 companies, including VF Corporation, First Horizon Bank, JC Penney Company and Masco Corporation.

Neil Underwood

Neil Underwood
Neil Underwood

Underwood was the director of the Spirit of LR marching band, served as conductor for the Lenoir-Rhyne wind symphony, wind ensemble and coached LR woodwind chamber ensembles. In addition, he taught music education courses specializing in instrumental music.

Prior to his tenure at LR, Underwood taught public school as a high school band director for a combined 32 years at East Lincoln and North Lincoln High Schools. During that time, his bands performed twice at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the North Carolina Music Educator’s Conferences and the National American School Band Director’s Association Conference. In addition, his marching bands were finalists at Bands of America Regionals and received a Division I in Grand Nationals competition and numerous state and regional awards.  

Underwood has previously been Lincoln County Teacher of the Year, President of the South-Central District Band Association, and President of the North Carolina Bandmaster’s Association. In addition, he holds memberships in several organizations and is active as a clinician and judge for bands throughout the southeast.

Underwood was inducted into the North Carolina Bandmaster’s Association’s Hall of Fame in 2021. 

Martha Wrike

Martha Wrike
Martha Wrike

Wrike served as the special events coordinator for the Bears Club within LR Athletics.

Norris Yoder

Norris Yoder
Norris Yoder

Yoder held the title of director for security services at Lenoir-Rhyne since 2005. In his role, Yoder directed and implemented security and safety policies on campus, which operates on a 24/7 basis. 

He also managed the work activities of campus police and patrol units and made sure officers comply with all applicable state or federal laws and regulations. Yoder also evaluated best practices and national trends related to campus safety and security impacting higher education. 

Yoder has also served on the board of directors for the North Carolina Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Tabitha Toney

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Two female students hold a poster with thank a donor written on it

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