Huter Retires after 50 Years of Teaching

Photo of LaVonne Huter

Huter, an assistant professor in Southeast’s Harrison College of Business, will retire June 30 after 50 years of teaching that encompasses elementary, secondary and college levels.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

May 9, 2007 – Education has changed a lot since 1957, and LaVonne Huter not only embraced those changes, she has taught her students over the last 50 years to embrace them as well.

Huter, an assistant professor in the Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems in Southeast’s Harrison College of Business, will retire June 30 after 50 years of teaching that encompasses elementary, secondary and college levels.

Over the span of her career, Huter has seen teaching tools change dramatically, from manual typewriters to electric typewriters to word processors and now computers. The teaching tools she learned in college quickly became obsolete due to advances in technology, like the sole electric typewriter shared by her entire college class.

“My first business teaching assignment involved teaching keyboarding on all manual typewriters,” Huter reminisced.

Today, Huter teaches exclusively with personal computers and other integrated technical devices, and she keeps up with the latest technological advances to incorporate into her teaching and pass along to her students.

 “As technology progressed, LaVonne kept up with it,” said Dr. Darlene Dunning, professor emerita of management and marketing and a former colleague of Huter’s in the Harrison College of Business. “When a new system came out, she would jump right in, learn it and adapt it to her class. She always gives 100 percent, and is very thorough and efficient.”

Huter demonstrated this commitment when she and a colleague became the first instructors on campus to implement the transition to IBM computers by developing an introductory computer class in the 1980s. The course, “Introduction to Microcomputer Applications,” is still taught today.

“I remember spending long hours daily during the summer learning to operate the new computers and software and developing the course,” Huter said.

Dr. Joseph Wen, chair of the Department of Accounting and Management Information, also credits Huter with developing a dual credit version of the course with regional high schools, describing her as a “highly innovative leader.”

Huter continues to lead the pack by offering her students the latest trends in technology, including teaching online courses for the last several years, according to Dunning.

“Her students always comment about how fast she returns e-mail and their work,” Dunning said. “She’s so enthusiastic, and she always goes the extra mile for her students, teaching them skills that will carry them throughout their entire career.”

“She is an outstanding teacher,” agrees Wen, citing her as an inspiration for female students especially. “She has been a role model for young women seeking an education, financial independence and professional achievement. Her leadership, professionalism, high standards, dignity and kindness have opened the door for many young women to achieve their goals,” Wen said.

Huter is respected by her colleagues as well, according to Dunning, who describes her as an “amazing person.”

“LaVonne is the most organized faculty member I have ever worked with,” said Dr. Alberta Dougan, professor emerita of history and a former colleague of Huter’s who taught with her at the former University High School.

“She is a wonderful mentor to new faculty,” Wen added. “She is a loyal friend and an unselfish contributor to those in need of help. Her smiling face and upbeat demeanor will be sorely missed in the halls of Dempster.”

Huter began her career teaching elementary school in Arnold and then Festus, Mo., before teaching business courses at Festus High School for six years. She then returned to Cape Girardeau to teach at her alma mater. Huter taught business classes at the University High School for 21 years until it closed. In 1986, she began teaching in Southeast’s Harrison College of Business. Huter also has served as the co-editor of the Southeast Business Review.