Nedry retiring, remembered fondly

Nedry in his office.

Patrick Nedry may be retiring, but it seems unlikely he’s going to slow down.

After 24 years at MCCC, the professor of Business is now bowing out and retiring. Nedry was instrumental in creating several programs on-campus and is spoken of highly by his colleagues in the business division. He also won Outstanding Faculty of the Year at Honors Night on April 18.

Outstanding Faculty of the Year

His colleagues in the Business Division have nothing but praise for him.

“I have known Dr. Nedry for almost 20 years and I have always been amazed by his energy,” David Reiman, professor of Business, writes in an e-mail. “It seems as though he never sleeps, and he crams 30 hours of activity into every 24-hour day.

“He also reads everything! I don’t think any email, set of meeting minutes, scholarly or news article related to business, leadership, investing, politics, or a host of other topics ever passes by without Dr. Nedry’s careful reading.”

“Pat was possibly the second person I met when I arrived to campus 23 years ago,” says Paul Knollman, Dean of the Business Division. “He had only been here approximately a year, and the gentleman who hired me, which was in the Corporate Community Services office, he arranged for us a visit to the Woodhaven Ford Motor Company factory.

“Dr. Nedry, myself, and John – the fellow who hired me – went up there and paid them a visit. We had a chance to get to know each other after only a week or so of working here at the college. So I’ve probably known him as long as anyone here.”

Another of Nedry’s colleagues, professor of Business and Economics Wendy Wysocki, also values his additions to the college.

“I have seen him work tirelessly to support and encourage students,” she writes. “Dr. Nedry spearheaded our current Business Scholar Recognition Program and is always looking for ways to support and reward students’ accomplishments.”

Nedry explains why the BSRP was set up.

“We wanted to recognize some of our students who sometimes struggle in silence and don’t know if anyone’s paying any attention to them until they’re all done and they have a GPA to look at,” he says. “So we created what we call the Business Management Scholars to recognize some students before they finish.

“GPA is involved, business curriculum coursework that they’ve completed and how well they’ve done, and some of their leadership and writing skills they’ve demonstrated in class. So the business profs get together and pick them.”

The awards are given on Honors Night. This year’s recipients were Mackenzie Coulter, Anne Donnelly, Jered Emery, Ashley Grant, Shyan Risden, Rachael Sortor, and Tina Stout.

Nedry also notes that these winners are occasionally invited to workshops and other enrichment programs. He points to a picture on a shelf above his desk of a group of former students at EMU.

“For maybe over half of them, that was the first time they’d been to a university campus,” he says. “It kind of opens their eyes, like, ‘Hey, there is something else after we get doen with this!’ And so that has been quite successful. We’re all pretty proud of that, I think.”

Nedry has worked both at MCCC and Jackson Community College, the latter between 1975 and 1980. It was there that a student told him of a job as director of training and development for a company, where he stayed for some time… then he was moved.

“I was an involuntary Buckeye for about four years!” he says. “They relocated 50 of us from Jackson down to Maumee. During that kind of transition period, I said, ‘well, what would I like to do?’”

After learning of a job opening at MCCC, he came here in 1994.

“I traveled a lot, and I wanted to go back to school to work on a doctorate, but I couldn’t do that while traveling 75 percent of the time,” he says. “So I came here and, after a few years, started my doctorate at Eastern and finished it.”

After ten years as the dean of the Industrial Technology Division, Nedry took the option to become a member of faculty.

“I did not want to be one in the same division I’d been a supervisor,” he says.

 So, Nedry joined the Business Division, teaching mostly business management or related courses. The 72-year-old also assisted in developing the Entrepreneurship Capstone course.

Born in Edmore, Michigan, in 1946, alongside his twin brother, Nedry’s parents had one older child, another boy. The family owned and operated a dirt farm.

“I was a leading-edge baby boomer,” he says, “though my father was not in the service.”

Nedry’s father, however, eventually went into shift work at a manufacturing plant. On the farm, the women worked right alongside the men, and Nedry’s mother, himself, and his brothers kept the farm going in the meantime.

“I went to a real small school. Class D agricultural school,” he says. “Got a great education, I think; prepared us well. I was pretty active in music and band. I had a competitive scholarship to go to Central to study music.”

Nedry played clarinet and saxophone.

However, he eventually decided he didn’t want to do that and switched schools to Western Michigan University and got married.

“I took an exit and went off in another direction, as many college students do!” he says.

His brother went to school with the scholarship funds instead.

“I maintain I got him through the first couple of years of school,” Nedry says.

Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

“There was the little matter of the war going on,” he says.

The war he’s referring to is, of course, the Vietnam War. He clarifies that he wasn’t “in country,” as they called it, meaning that he stayed Stateside.

“I spent 1,096 days at Fort Knox, Kentucky,” Nedry says. “I never moved more than a half-mile from where I stepped off the bus!”

The entire time he was in the Army, Nedry explains, he was in training schools. These included a mechanics’ school, an administrative school, and a cooks’ school.

“The most interesting duty was in cooks’ school,” he says. “Although I didn’t do any cooking!”

Nedry was a court-martial clerk for the school.

“If you’re familiar with ‘M.A.S.H.,’ I was kind of a Radar O’Reilly person. The cooks’ school had lots of disciplinary matters to contend with,” he says. “So, consequently, that generated a lot of court-martial or other disciplinary kinds of things.

“I could type, and that was all done on an old-fashioned typewriter at the time, so I ended up doing that as I moved around the various training companies.”

After his stint in the army, Nedry returned to school at Western, where he studied business education.

“I have never not worked in all the time I’ve gone to school,” he says. “I’ve always worked full-time and usually gone to school full-time, except for my doctorate, which I did part-time.

“I hit the regional universities: Central, Western, Eastern, and I visited Northern.”

Nedry explains that he spent 24 years in industry, usually associated with manufacturing. He’s also had about 29 years in education, most of it at community colleges.

As he leaves, Nedry wants to press the importance of what it means to be a community college.

“This is a community college,” he says. “The legislation that established community colleges called them ‘comprehensive community colleges.’ That means it serves two broad audiences in addition to the community.

“From a student perspective, it serves transfer students and occupational students. Not one in favor of the other. And those percentages bump up and down a little bit, but from time to time there gets to be an overemphasis on one or the other. It’s important that we do not lose the focus of what we are here for.”

He says it’s important to serve those two broad audiences and work toward a greater good of an educated citizenry.

His colleagues wish him well as he goes.

“He has been a wonderful colleague and friend and I wish him the best in all his future endeavors in his well-deserved retirement,” writes Wysocki.

“Pat is one of the most dedicated college faculty members I have had the chance to work with,” says Knollman. “He is always, always interested in what’s going on around the college. That’s one of his strongest features.”

He goes on to state that he feels the college is losing a bit of passion, for good and bad, with Nedry’s retirement.

“Many faculty have long and active careers and transition into retirement,” Reiman writes. “Dr. Nedry has had his foot hard on the gas his entire career, hurtling at breakneck speed all the way to retirement. I am confident he will continue with that same energy and enthusiasm and have a retirement full of activity and adventure.”