Hackendahl, Mitchell leave fond memories at SAHP

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | September 06, 2013

Image with caption: Connie Mitchell was surrounded by students and former students, including Jessica Fehringer, left, and Katie Paladino, right, radiology technologists at The Nebraska Medical Center.

Connie Mitchell was surrounded by students and former students, including Jessica Fehringer, left, and Katie Paladino, right, radiology technologists at The Nebraska Medical Center.

Jim Temme recalls sharing an office with Connie Mitchell, who retired last month after 13 years as radiography program director and 42 years at UNMC.

How small was that office?

"It was as big as half that table," Temme said, gesturing.

It was a closet, really.

"She scooted forward, and then I got in. "We were literally very close." How close?

"I helped introduce her to country-western dancing," said Temme, associate director and Charles R. O'Malley Chair of Radiation Science Technology Education in the School of Allied Health Professions.

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Gail Hackendahl was congratulated by Kyle Meyer, Ph.D., senior associate dean of the School of Allied Health Professions.

The stories flowed recently, as the SAHP said goodbye to Mitchell and to Gail Hackendahl, who is retiring from the physical therapy education program after 26 years at UNMC.

Pat Hageman, Ph.D., Karen Linder Professor for Women's Health in the SAHP, and former chair of PT, said Hackendahl actually originally started working at UNMC in 1970, in the pathology lab, when Hackendahl was still in high school.

Hackendahl then worked in the physical plant and in the dean's office in the College of Medicine, before "we snatched her in 1992."

Hackendahl made students feel better on bad days and made administrators' mistakes disappear. But she might be best known, Dr. Hageman said, for "this little twinkle in her eye."

They were both early risers, Dr. Hageman said, and shared many an early morning chat. In retirement, "She said I can still call her to chat," Dr. Hageman said, "but not at 7 a.m."

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Mary Haven
September 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

I am so pleased for both of you. You have worked diligently and faithfully for UNMC and the School for many years. I am so proud to have worked with both of you. Happy, happy retirement. You have both earned it and I know you will enjoy it.

Sue Jeanneret
September 06, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Best of luck in your retirement Gail! It has been great knowing you through our kids. Hope to see you around Ralston sometime.

nicole hackendahl
September 06, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Happy Retirement Aunt Gail!! I hope to follow in your footsteps, retiring from this great institution some day down the road! You put in the hard work, now enjoy your free time!

Linda Johnson
September 06, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Best Wishes on your retirement !!!!! I will always have the found memories of all the softball road trips we had with our daughters and how much fun our group had.

Brenda Jeter
September 06, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Gail gratulations! Go and have a great retirement whatever you do or don't do!