As Hastings College prepares to start its 130th year of classes, the campus community welcomes new administrators and faculty. Dr. Rob Babcock, Professor of History and current Chair of the Faculty Senate, is enthusiastic about the upcoming year.
“The new faculty I’ve met bring energy and new expertise to the college while retaining that Hastings commitment to an education centered on the needs of our students,” said Dr. Babcock, who is starting his twentieth year at HC.
He continued: “The new administrators are similarly committed. Faculty representatives have already had several productive meetings with [Faculty] Dean [Gary] Johnson and President [Dennis] Trotter, meetings in which we’ve talked candidly but optimistically about the challenges facing higher education generally and Hastings College in particular. It really does feel like we’re laying the groundwork for the next impressive chapter in Hastings College’s story.”
As Dr. Babcock and his colleagues return to the classroom, they will greet 1,069 students from Nebraska, Colorado and several other states and countries. Official enrollment figures will not be available until October.
Not only has Hastings College provided educational opportunities for Nebraskans throughout its history, it has also provided employment opportunities in the state. Indeed, three of the new administrators and faculty members grew up in Nebraska and have returned to the state after working elsewhere, including Jerry Schmutte, Athletic Director; Matt Buttermore, Head Volleyball Coach; and Carrie Hofstetter, Head Women’s Basketball Coach. Mark Hiemenz, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, is married to a Nebraska native and has in-laws living in the state while Jamie Read, Assistant Professor of Accounting, has many family members who have attended Hastings College and live in Hastings.
“I am absolutely thrilled to return home to Nebraska, and especially Hastings College,” said Hofstetter. “I feel an overwhelming sense of pride to call both my home. Having just spent several years in a neighboring state, I realize there is something extremely special and unique about living and working in Nebraska. The people who comprise the community both here at Hastings College and throughout the state of Nebraska are some of the best in the country.”
Even for those without Nebraska ties, the community is a natural fit for establishing roots.
“My wife, Emily, and I have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome we’ve received in Hastings,” said Dr. Gary C. Johnson, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “As we’ve purchased a house, enrolled our children in Hastings Public Schools, and begun to immerse ourselves in the community, we have felt very comfortable. We are grateful for this reception and look forward to calling Hastings and Hastings College our homes.”