June 8, 2006

Retiree Profile: Hal Merz

When did you start at Columbus State?

I started in 1988 and have slightly less than 18 years here.

My first job at Columbus State was as a marketing and curriculum development representative for the Business and Industry Training Division. Then in 1994, Deborah Coleman and I set up the college's first Grants Office. Also, for several years I’ve been an adjunct faculty member and trainer teaching workshops and a credit course on grants.

I have been the grants officer for 12 years with more than $18 million in funding developed from over 40 different public and private sector grant funding sources.

What is your fondest memory of Columbus State?

My fondest memory is being able to see that grants we helped to write made a difference for the college and in peoples' lives. Take, for example, the $1.75 million Title III grant that advanced the college's Strategic Enrollment Management, and the TRIO grants, which help at-risk high school students to prepare for college and assist current Columbus State students who are at risk for academic difficulties.

What will you miss most?

I will probably miss most the people at Columbus State in the different administrative support, business office and human resources areas, because as an entrepreneur I'll have to wear all of those hats myself. Many of the people at Columbus State in these positions are wonderful people, which we don't realize and appreciate because we may be calling them to get quick help with problems.

What will you do with your spare time in retirement?

I am establishing a consulting company, Paraclete Funding Resources, which will assist nonprofit organizations with funding and planning issues. Some of the work may be with higher education, but my special love is community-based social service organizations, especially the faith-based organizations. I’m a current board member or volunteer for several of these organizations in Ohio and Texas.

My wife and I would like do some traveling, such as spending part of the winter in a warmer climate.

Any funny anecdotes, stories or thoughts you’d like to share about your time at Columbus State?

One of the funniest incidents was the "Great Sandwich Caper." Someone was stealing lunches from the refrigerator in the B&I Department, which at that time was on the first floor of Eibling Hall. Ben Lees of Public Safety proceeded with a detailed interrogation of B&I Representative Bernie Nye, with questions like "Now tell me again, how thick was the slice of cheese on that baloney sandwich you had? Was the bread whole wheat or white? Approximately how many ounces of meat did the sandwich contain?" We all knew that Ben was doing part of this on purpose to irritate Bernie, who disliked dealing with procedural detail on anything!

Active Living/Healthy Eating Every Day classes available for summer

Active Living Every Day and Healthy Eating Every Day classes are being taught this summer, and all Columbus State employees are encouraged to sign up.

Active Living Every Day is designed to help the sedentary adult become and stay physically active. This is an opportunity to change your health for the better without difficult exercise, uncomfortable situations, or busy gyms. Active Living course numbers are:

  • Active Living Every Day I - SFMT 299A

  • Active Living Every Day II - SFMT 299B

Healthy Eating Every Day is designed to help you make healthy and wise decisions about your nutrition. The course helps you incorporate simple methods to improve your health without strict diets, drastic reductions in calories, or expensive supplements. Healthy Eating course numbers are:

  • Healthy Eating Every Day I - SFMT 299C

  • Healthy Eating Every Day II - SFMT 299D

For more information about Active Living Every Day or Healthy Eating Every Day call Don Laubenthal at ext. 3627 or Dr. David Litt at ext. 3681.

Welcome Team seeks Volunteers

Each quarter the Welcome Team is committed to student success and exists to support and coordinate the efforts of campus to welcome students back. This quarter’s efforts will take place Monday, June 26 in the center courtyard and Tuesday, June 27 in Madison Hall.

Welcome Team is a great time to join other faculty, staff and students in navigating the Web, sharing class schedules, printing parking passes, directing students to classrooms, troubleshooting issues, popping popcorn, and welcoming our students back to Columbus State.

If you’d like to help out, contact Barbara Allen at ballen03@cscc.edu or ext. 5526 with the times and days you are able to work.


Employees raise $2,800 for Race for the Cure

The CSEA reports that over 22 Columbus State employees and their family members walked or ran during the Komen Race for the Cure on May 20. Everyone who participated had an enjoyable experience on that Saturday morning, as the race route was lined with several bands and people cheering for race participants.

More than 40 people donated to the cause, raising $2,800 for breast cancer research and awareness. Special thanks goes to Beth Barnett, who raised $1,100 in pledges.

If you are interested in helping organize the event for next spring, please email Kevin James at kjames1@cscc.edu.


Columbus State employees participating in the Race for the Cure are, from left, back row: Frankie Hale, Kris Ramsey, Lisa Cerrato, Libby McGlone, Judy Anderson, Sandra Denton, Lisa Schneider, Kevin James, Bob Stein, Lisa Gordon, Beth Barnett, Rita Bova, Deb Bertsch, Kip Knott, and Michael Walsdorf. Participants, from left, front row, include: Steve Abbott, Nancy Kephart, and Jonathan Baker.


Input sought on downtown streetcars

The Downtown Streetcar Working Group is studying the overall feasibility of streetcars including their economic development potential, ridership, construction and operation costs, and funding. Will Kopp, VP for Institutional Advancement represents Columbus State on the working group.

The public is invited to an open house for an update on the working group’s activities and to share ideas and opinions about streetcars for Downtown Columbus. The open house will be held Wednesday, July 12 from 6-8 p.m. in the School Employees Retirement System Building, 300 East Broad Street, first floor. There will be free parking in the attached garage off Grant Avenue to the north.

To attend, please R.S.V.P. to the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation at 614-645-5003 or plbaker@cmhmetro.net by July 5.

If you are unable to attend but would like to offer a suggestion, send an e-mail to streetcars@downtowncolumbus.com.