Cheers to 25 Years: A Reflection of Her Time at Winona State

If you have never had Professor Cindy Killion for any of your classes, then you have truly missed out. At the end of this school year, Professor Killion will be retiring and saying goodbye to Winona State.

 

HC: How long have you been a professor at Winona?

CK: I started in the fall of 1992, so I guess it’s been 25 years.

 

HC: Why did you decide to teach here? Was there something that drew you to the campus?

CK: Well, I actually came here to interview for the Public Information position that was open. When I returned to Oklahoma, I got a phone call from the Mass Communication Department inquiring as to whether I would consider applying for a position in the department, which I did after realizing there was an internal candidate for the PI position. I had actually applied previously to Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas for a teaching position. I had 15 years of experience as a working journalist and had just earned my Master’s degree while working full-time as an editor for a newspaper in Oklahoma, so I was looking for a teaching position but had applied only to one university. Having come from Oklahoma, I certainly was drawn to the area by its beauty, and I am reminded about how beautiful it is here every day as I drive up the river from La Crosse to Winona.

 

 

HC: What are you most looking forward to in retirement?

CK: Spending time with my spouse, Beth, and traveling a lot. We’re going to Africa for two months next fall. We wanted to be somewhere else when classes start – to interrupt that rhythm of life we’ve established as both of us are university professors – and we’ve got other travel plans for 2019. We’ll spend time this summer improving our golf games and just chillin'.

 

HC: What are you going to miss most about Winona State or teaching?

CK: I am going to miss the students and my colleagues. I am not going to miss the bureaucracy nor how slow things happen in academia. The students, every day, remind me why I’m here, and I learn so much from them – I’m going to miss their enthusiasm and curiosity. I’m going to miss those colleagues who have a commitment to the success of our students and want to help them make the most of their experience at WSU. I consider many of them friends.

 

 

HC: Do you think you will ever come back and visit WSU?

CK: Well, I don’t intend to leave the area so I most likely will come back and visit WSU. I’ve already expressed interest in being a docent for the future Laird-Norton project that will provide Winona with a beautiful venue for viewing art, and I hope to continue my involvement in campus issues relating to Native people.

 

HC: What has been one of your favorite memories/experiences while teaching here?

CK: I’ve got a lot of favorite memories/experiences but the one that readily comes to mind is when the community came together after 9/11. The campus – students, faculty, staff – came together in one place to memorialize those who lost their lives, which included a member of our family – the nephew of one of our faculty. I also am going to have fond memories of everyone with whom I’ve worked on so many different projects during my tenure here including the support of my faculty colleagues for a LGBT committee to address issues confronting LGBT students and faculty as well as those who supported my efforts to bring Native perspectives to campus. And I’ll always remember those moments when my students taught me something.

 

 

HC: Is there a hope you have for either the Mass Comm. Department or for the students in MCOM?

CK: I hope the Mass Comm. Department continues offering a journalism program. We need to continue encouraging those who want to be a journalist and provide them with a solid foundation of skill sets that can help them achieve their dreams and contribute to democracy.  It’s now more important than ever.

 

I think it is safe to say that Professor Killion will be missed in the Mass Comm. Department, and even though we won’t be seeing you around Phelps Hall anymore, we wish you safe travels and a fun, enjoyable retirement!