Ginger Kazmierczak Retires

Nursing faculty dedicated 20 years to Central

The nursing program at Central Methodist University had to bid farewell to one of its own at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, with the retirement of veteran faculty member Ginger Kazmierczak.

Kazmierczak closed out a well-traveled career and life with 20 years at the University that came about more by good fortune than by design. In fact, she was well into her nursing career before the thought of teaching even crossed her mind.

With a husband in the Army, the central Illinois native was accustomed to moving around and was used to, in her words, "looking for things to do" after each relocation. Kazmierczak obtained her registered nurse training in Illinois, her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in California, and her Master of Science degree in nursing in Missouri.

By the late 1980s, her husband was stationed in Lawton, Okla. and Kazmierczak took a job teaching in the practical nursing program at a vocational-technical school there after seeing a help wanted ad in the local newspaper. Before that opportunity, the thought of teaching "didn't cross my mind," she said.

Four years later the Kazmierczak family, which includes three children (and now several grandchildren), found themselves moving to Columbia, Mo. Her husband had just retired from the Army and went to work at Boone Hospital. For Ginger, it was time to find a new job; the Oklahoma experience had confirmed one thing, though.

"I really wanted to teach," she said.

"My husband talked to some people at Boone Hospital, and one of them mentioned Central," Kazmierczak recalled. She contacted then-Central Methodist College, and spent a year teaching part time before joining Central full time.

Two decades have brought many changes to both CMU and to its nursing program. When Kazmierczak began, nursing at Central was a two-year program; today, CMU offers both the Bachelor's and the Master's degrees in nursing, with programming literally across the state.

"I got to be a part of that switch, and I feel some ownership for it," she said proudly.

"It's a demanding major," Kazmierczak reflected. "Our students have to pass our own rigorous courses and a national exam to be licensed. We have to meet a lot of external accreditation requirements, both state and national.

"This (program) requires a real investment by the student," she continued. "For some, it's the first time they've had to work this hard. Many students have never gotten a "C" before. They have to decide if they really want it."

After making her own substantial investment in Central Methodist, Kazmierczak now gets to look forward to travel, spending time with children and grandchildren. She won't miss the deadlines, nor putting together course syllabi for the next semester.

"I've been proud to say I teach at Central," Kazmierczak said. "We have a great reputation, and I've enjoyed it very much."


Originally posted May 17, 2013


Posted July 16, 2013