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Dr. Mickelson’s retirement is bittersweet for business department

Dr. Pam Mickelson

by Maggie Ganley–The Business Department will be wishing long time faculty member, Pam Mickelson, a sad farewell this December.

Pam will be retiring at the end of this semester, leaving behind 30+ years of teaching, loving colleagues, and admiring student in her wake.

In the mid 1980s, Pam and her husband had a big decision to make: where to move next. They knew they were ready to leave Kansas City behind and saw two options before them. They either wanted to move closer to Pam’s family, in Arkansas, or her husband’s family, in Sioux City.

They knew that securing employment in Iowa would probably be easiest, so Pam started scouring teaching positions in Sioux City. The ink on her Doctorate had just dried and she was ready to look into teaching and leave the aviation industry behind.

She hadn’t taught since grad school and wasn’t sure if she wanted a full time position while teaching, but she wanted to test the waters.

When people talked to her about colleges she could teach at in Sioux City, Morningside College kept coming back at the top of the list.

“Morningside was highly recommended by several different people, which I thought was a good sign,” Pam said.

She heard good things about Briar Cliff and WIT here and there, but Morningside prevailed.

When Pam applied to Morningside, a full-time position wasn’t available. Instead she was told one of the business professors was going on sabbatical soon and was offered a position as a part time adjunct.

She accepted and started in the fall of 1985.

Since then Pam has taught a slew of courses, from accounting, to management, and advertising. She has even held the position of head of the business department and founded the Creative Edge Advertising Club and Entrepreneurship Group.

Students, alumni, and atmosphere are what has kept her at Morningside over the years.

“The students here are so eager to learn,” she says. Going on to talk about how proud she is of the students who commit to learning, growing, and becoming the best they can be.

She’s especially proud of her students that have been in Advertising Club and Entrepreneurship Group over the years.

“Particularly in these groups, I usually have some of the best students on campus—most active, high GPA—their peers revere them as strong students, they’re probably leaders in organizations, and they’re used to doing high A work,” Pam said.

She also loves how loyal Morningside alumni are. Alumni are the ones who recommended Morningside to her in the first place, and she can see how connected these grads are to the college.

Even though her love for the Morningside is as prevalent as ever, Pam has known for a few years now that she wants to retire, and this semester seemed like the right one.

She didn’t feel like waiting until May was the right fit. “My husband says I like to do things differently, so I guess I did,” she said with a laugh.

After teaching here for so many years, it’s no surprise that Pam’s absence will feel like a hole in the department, to colleagues and students alike.

For Dr. Marilyn Eastman, it will mean losing her partner in the marketing field.

Marilyn started at Morningside four years ago, but has known Pam since 1996. She has always admired Pam and the work that she has done. She’s especially impressed by the feats Pam has been able to accomplish since being here, such as establishing the advertising major and founding the Creative Edge Ad Club.

Marilyn views Pam as her “wise, experienced colleague who has seen everything and done everything.” She will miss her feedback and advice in the marketing department and believes she’s “a hole that will be truly irreplaceable.”

Dr. Anne Power, current head of the Business Department, will miss Pam’s welcoming personality and Southern charm. She sees Pam as a maternal figure to the business department, always making sure everybody’s taken care of, whether that be students or fellow faculty members.

“I just can’t say enough good things about her. She’s a great friend, and excellent colleague, and she will be so sorely missed here,” Anne said.

The students Pam will leave behind stand behind this sentiment.

For Jaclyn Arens, it will mean losing her mentor. Jaclyn, a senior majoring in advertising and mass communication, has known Pam since her freshman year here.

Jaclyn met Pam through Entrepreneurship Group (E-Group). Pam has mentored Jaclyn not only through her academics, but has helped her as an E-Group officer as well. She has been amazed by Pam’s dedication to her students over the years.

“Throughout my four years at Morningside, Pam has just been a huge support. I can always go to her for advice and she always cares about her students,” Jaclyn said.

Niccole Wolken, who also majors in advertising, echoes Jaclyn’s sentiment.

Pam has helped push Niccole beyond what she knew she was capable of and has even helped her apply for the Fulbright Scholarship by writing her a letter of recommendation, a recommendation that almost moved her to tears.

Current students aren’t the only ones who have good things to say about Pam.

“One of the things that I think is just incredible is that students will come back – colleagues, adults – that have had Pam 20 to 30 years ago and rave about the influence she had in their lives and their careers,” Marilyn said.

Even though many are sad to see her go, they are happy for her in her retirement.

“I’m super sad she’s leaving, but I’m really excited she gets to travel and do all of the things she wants to do,” Niccole said.

When thinking back at her time in Sioux City over the last 33 years, Pam started to get choked up. She said her family has been a key reason for her to stay for all of these years, through all of the ups and downs they have been there. Pam said she looks forward to being able to spend more times with her family in her retirement.