Dennis McGreer & Susan Rodgers - 1963
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Oldies from Susan


Susan Rodgers
    Many of you who knew me in high school might have predicted what I’m doing now (teaching math) long before I figured it out. It seems like I arrived at most of what’s important in my life now by a rather circuitous route.

    After Hickman, I attended Washington University in St. Louis, graduating with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology. Shortly after that, I began a two-year tour in the Peace Corps, teaching English in a provincial high school in up-country Thailand. When I returned to the U.S., I entered graduate school in Sociology at the University of Chicago with the intention of obtaining a Ph.D. in order to teach at the college level. I completed all my coursework and passed all my exams, but never decided on a thesis topic I cared about enough, and left Chicago in 1975 with just an M.A.

    I had married after my first year in Chicago, and my husband began law school there in 1972, while I relegated my own studies to part-time. I worked for the next few years at the National Opinion Research Center, developing surveys and analyzing the results. Our first daughter, Sarah, was born while we were there, and our second, Debbie, was born in Reston, VA, where we moved in 1975 and stayed the entire time our daughters were growing up.

     While Debbie was little, I did some part-time data analysis for a small D.C. consulting firm engaged in educational research. Each year after that, I kept promising myself  “one more year” before I figured out what I wanted to do and got a “real” job. But instead, I found myself involved in a variety of volunteer activities at the girls’ schools and in religious and community groups, and, increasingly, in Girl Scouts, until my Girl Scout volunteer activities truly became a full-time commitment.

    Early on, I traded math tutoring for babysitting hours with a high-school student, and after that I began to think about teaching math. When Sarah had left for college and Debbie was nearly done with high school, I enrolled in nearby George Mason University, and got my M.Ed. and certification to teach secondary math. After I finished my student teaching, I worked as a substitute for a while.

    Meanwhile, I’d gotten divorced and, thanks to the first address list Charley compiled, had also gotten in contact again with Dennis McGreer, whom I hadn’t seen or heard from since shortly after we left Hickman. We corresponded for a while and re-met each other at the 30th reunion. In 1996, I took the big plunge and moved to Bloomington, IN., where Dennis had stayed after finishing school at I.U. We were married in July of 2000.

    Since I moved to Bloomington, I’ve been teaching math in the public schools here. I discovered I really like working with 7th & 8th-graders most, and was able to move to a new middle school, where I expect to be for at least the next 10 years – since I started teaching so late, there’s no way I can retire before age 65. I’ve also gotten involved with Girl Scouts again, this time serving on the Board of Directors.

    Sarah is a pediatrician who’s just finished her 3rd year of residency, and will be chief resident next year at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. Her spouse, Krista, is a radiologist. Debbie is in graduate school in Developmental Psych at the University of Michigan, and also plays in a swing band and teaches in an outdoor challenge program. My mother continued to live in Columbia for many years, but since she moved to southern California a few years ago, I haven’t had the excuse to make it back to Columbia regularly like I used to.


Dennis M. McGreer

Life has begun to come full circle.  After striving in younger years to "get away from home and see the world," I’ve ended up living in “a college town” very much like Columbia.  Having begun as a pianist, then wandered through a number of positions in the university, I now begin to think of going back to being a piano teacher as a retirement career.  Having enjoyed many of you as HHS friends, I look forward to seeing you again at the Fall reunion.

Special appreciation and thanks to Charley for his persistence at organizing reunions over the years and for having helped keep us all together.

When I left Columbia in 1963, I continued music study, attending the Eastman School of Music (Rochester NY) and went from there to Indiana University (IU).  I received Bachelor, Masters, and almost-Doctorate degrees, joined the IU faculty, and taught until 1987 as Professor of Piano and Assistant Dean.

My student years had been interrupted by military service during the Viet Nam years.  I attended the Defense Language Institute in California and then served as a Russian linguist with the Army Security Agency, living in Germany and traveling extensively in Europe.

I had a daughter, Laura, by my first marriage, who has since grown up to be a very fine violinist, playing in orchestras and teaching.  She met her husband, Paul, in her own high school days, and the stages of their education and career building have by now taken them to Houston  -- she continuing to teach and play violin and he working at M.D. Anderson as a genetics-cancer researcher.  They’ve started their own family, the second of our grandchildren having been born just this last December.

The Career Change:  by 1987 I had found myself doing more university administration and computing than music and -- based on previous projects with the central computing organization -- was offered a position to begin a second career in computing.  The timing was right for me; the university was going through a period of change in the automation of most of its administrative and academic functions; I became deeply involved in these efforts and have since ended up working more specifically with the rapid technological changes of the statewide academic libraries systems.  I hold joint appointments with the IU Libraries and with University Information Technology Systems where I manage people responsible for its systems and am involved in strategic-technology planning for its future directions.

Susan Rodgers and I, “best friends” from 8th grade had gone our own separate ways for nearly 30 years.  We re-met in the 1990’s and married in the summer of  2000.  We live in Bloomington, Indiana, where I continue with the university and she has successfully established herself in her own new career as a mathematics teacher.  We enjoy traveling (most recently to Spain, Wales, and the Caribbean), with time also taken up with visits to our now-expanding families of kids, spouses, and grandchildren.   We appreciate the activities that IU offers; its music school is among the best in the country offering full opera, concert and theater seasons; I continue music in my own way, volunteering in a nearby chorale-symphony organization and teaching piano occasionally; we garden, work on improving our house (for our old-age, since it looks like we’ll be here a long time); and we are owned by three very amusing, well-petted cats.

Wedding Picture July 2000

December 2002
Susan and Tiger Cub

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Susan Rodgers Schooler
 July, 2007
The last holiday letter I can find was dated January, 2006, and I’m not even sure I even finished printing it out and mailing it to people. So for many of you, this may be the first real letter from me in a couple years. I always imagine I’m going to have lots of time over the holidays, and then I never really do. So there’s LOTS of news.

Many things in our daily lives haven’t changed: I still teach math at JCMS, and Dennis is still manager of statewide library computing systems for IU. I continue on the board of the local Girl Scout council and as chair of the council’s personnel committee, and Dennis still sings with the Columbus Philharmonic twice a year. My most demanding and rewarding activity outside the classroom is probably my involvement with the National School Reform Faculty, specifically coaching and participating in a Critical Friends Group (CFG) at my school, and helping train others to do the same. CFG’s give teachers a powerful technique for working together to do professional development that really matters, by focusing on the things we each want to improve in our own practice with our students. Dennis has been doing website development for the synagogue, and now that he has the site whipped into shape, he’s bringing in a few other people to divide up the tasks of continuing the progress he started.

In May of last year, Sarah & Krista’s daughter, Parker Elizabeth McFarren, was born. Of course, I had to visit right away. Both Sarah & Krista continue working in their respective practices, and still seem to find time to spend for friends and traveling. Before she was one, Parker had already been to Canada & Hawaii! (Krista coached the U.S. Eagles team in the Women’s International Competition in Alberta.)

Our treat for the summer of 2006 was a trip to California. We visited Debbie for a few days in San Francisco and met her partner Dre, and also spent part of a week in Monterey, which was beautiful and relaxing. That fall, Debbie moved from San Francisco to Providence, R.I., for a 2nd post-doc. After a year there, she’s now in the process of moving back to northern California. She’s accepted a tenure-track position at the University of the Pacific in Stanton, CA. It sounds like the perfect blend of teaching and research for her interests. Her partner, Dre Nuñez, has already moved back to take a position counseling nearby.

Dennis’ father died in August of 2006, so Dennis had a few unscheduled fall trips, first for the funeral and then with his brother & sister to help their mother move in her move to Dallas. In a difficult time, it was great for them to be able to spend that time together. Dennis’ mother is now settled in a retirement center there, which is near Dennis’ sister and not too far from his brother in Houston.

Dennis’ daughter Laura and her husband Paul and kids moved to London last fall. Paul took a job with the Imperial College there, where he was hired to set up and manage his own  lab working on stem cell applications for liver cancer. Liya attended school there this year, and Eli will start in the fall. Laura recently played her first concert with the Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra.

So we’re all scattered hither and yon. We haven’t gotten to see Laura & Paul since they moved, but most of my siblings & kids got together as usual last December. This time it was in Washington, D.C., at Sarah & Krista’s. And I recently got to see Sarah, Debbie & Parker at my mother’s in the L.A. area. Parker charmed everyone with her easy smiles, and nearly took her first steps while here.
Some of you who are in touch with my mother will have heard this already: She and Dick Wilson, her partner, were in a serious car accident this May. Dick had a broken femur, and Mother had some cracked vertebrae – she was very lucky to have such quick attention and a capable surgeon, or she could’ve easily been rendered a quadriplegic. She was in a trauma center and then its associated rehab center for over a month, and has just recently come home. All my sibs and kids took turns being here with her through that process, and now I’m here with her in for the month, serving as chauffeur and personal assistant. She will still be wearing a neck brace until the end of August, and isn’t allowed to look down yet. But she’s regained most of the use of her arms and legs, so except for that and for getting tired, things are almost back to normal.

After several years of not doing any major traveling, Dennis & I took the plunge this year and went to Peru in mid-June with an OAT tour. It was wonderful, and I came back with a greatly increased respect for the ancient Incas as well as for Peru’s current inhabitants. The tour group was small – 12 of us plus the tour guide – so we really got to know each other well, and could do things people miss when they’re in large groups. I’d expected Machu Picchu to be the highlight of the trip, and it was truly wonderful; but there were too many other wonderful experiences to call it that. We enjoyed seeing both sides of Lima (the modern city and the shanty towns), discovering Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire, wandering local markets, feeding llamas, and of course sampling local food and drink.

I’ve given up promising to do better about correspondence – it doesn’t seem to be something I can count on myself to follow through on. But I will keep trying. And I’ve really appreciated all the cards and letters and emails from all of you, at holidays and throughout the year. I hope all is well with all of you, and look forward to hearing from you, whenever that happens.

Susan & Dennis

Some oldies from Susan

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