Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

May 14, 2014

Educators retire from WKU-Glasgow

GLASGOW —  Western Kentucky University Glasgow staff, students and colleagues said goodbye Wednesday to two faculty members — Dr. Loretta Murrey and Linda Fitzpatrick. Both are retiring from full-time teaching at the end of the semester.

Murrey, an associate professor of English, began teaching at WKU-Glasgow in the mid-1980s, long before there was a campus on Hilltopper Way. She was the first full-time faculty member assigned to WKU-Glasgow and originated the writing center.

On Wednesday, she reflected a bit on what it’s been like to teach at WKU-Glasgow.

“I’ve had a lot of fun times in the classroom. One of probably the best things about being a teacher is you have a lot of autonomy; you have a lot of control over what you want to do in the classroom,” she said. “I’m assuming in many jobs you don’t have a lot of control over what you do.”

A few years back she changed up her freshman composition class so students wrote about food. She also made changes in an English literature class so students were studying Kentucky authors.

The one thing she likes best about teaching, she said, is “... seeing students achieving their dreams; working toward their dreams and then achieving them.”

As for career accomplishments, among those Murrey listed is the “Broomsedge Chronicles,” oral histories compiled by her students and sold in the university’s bookstore. Another is the oral history she did of state poet laureate Joy Bale Boone’s life.

She is also proud of the weekly Daily Times’ column her father, Eugene Martin, dictates to her about his life.

Fitzpatrick, a math instructor, began teaching at WKU-Glasgow in 2001 at the Liberty Street campus. She was one of three instructors who established a math lab at the campus.

If she had to choose what she likes best about teaching, Fitzpatrick said, it would be “seeing the change in students from the beginning to the end; from the time you start with them and you see their development into say like a teacher.”

One of the things she likes about being at WKU-Glasgow is the environment. WKU-Glasgow is a “small friendly place where everybody cares about the students,” she said.

A reception honoring Murrey and Fitzpatrick took place Wednesday, during which colleagues, students and family members were given an opportunity to speak.

Leigh Ann Wells, a fellow faculty member, made note of the location of Murrey’s early classes.

“She began teaching when classes were scheduled all over town,” Wells said. “Some of her classes were in banks and some were upstairs in the library.”

Wells, as well as others, talked about her love for oral history and said she sees Murrey continuing to collect stories after retiring.

Jennifer Handley, a colleague of Fitzpatrick’s, said she has witnessed Fitzpatrick’s compassion, dedication and genuine love for her career and students, especially her tutors.

“I suspect and I know her influences will be felt long after she departs to bigger and better things,” Handley said.  

Fitzpatrick is a positive mentor who praises student effort and accomplishment and encourages them to be better than they ever thought they possibly could be, Handley said.  

Trevor Merideth, one of Fitzpatrick’s students, said she is “... always willing to offer advice and motivate me to strive to be the best that I can.”

At the conclusion of the reception, Murrey and Fitzpatrick were presented with gifts.

Both will return in the fall to teach on a part-time basis.

 

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