The Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees accepted the retirement of Dr. Richard Cohoon, the longest-serving faculty member in the history of the university, during its meeting on Thursday.
With 52 years on the faculty, Cohoon has been a part of the Arkansas Tech community for more than half of the 103-year history of the institution.
“I have enjoyed my association with Tech’s students, faculty colleagues and senior administrative personnel,” wrote Cohoon in his letter of retirement. “Each day I was energized by the person-to-person interactions and challenges in our efforts to provide the best educational experience to those young people who wisely chose to come to Tech.”
Cohoon has been a member of the Arkansas Tech faculty since 1960. The only other person to ever serve on the Tech faculty for 50 or more years is David Krueger, who retired at the rank of associate professor of history after teaching at the university from 1960-2010.
Cohoon earned his baccalaureate degree from Oklahoma City University in 1954. He added a Master of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1959. One year later he arrived at Arkansas Tech to begin what became a 52-year career at the institution.
When Cohoon joined what was then known as the Division of Science and Mathematics at Arkansas Tech in 1960 his colleagues included Truman McEver, who served as chairman of the division and is the namesake for the science building on campus; and John Tucker, who was a renowned chemistry instructor in addition to his exploits in the world of athletics that earned him the moniker “The Original Wonder Boy.”
Tucker held the record for longest tenure on the Tech faculty (47 years from 1925-72) until Cohoon and Krueger surpassed him.
Along the way Cohoon earned a doctorate in education from Oklahoma State University, served as dean of what is now known as the College of Natural and Health Sciences for 23 years and earned the title of distinguished professor of geology.
Cohoon has served under the administration of four university presidents --- Dr. Joseph W. Hull, Dr. George L.B. Pratt, Dr. Kenneth Kersh and Dr. Robert C. Brown. He has seen enrollment at Arkansas Tech grow from 1,360 students in fall 1960 to 10,464 students in fall 2011, an increase of 670 percent.
“Your years of distinguished service to our students, Arkansas Tech and your profession have truly been exceptional,” wrote Dr. John W. Watson, vice president for academic affairs, in his letter accepting Cohoon’s retirement. “This legacy will continue to have an impact for years to come. You deserve our heartfelt thanks and utmost admiration.”
Even though Cohoon’s days as an active member of the faculty will end with his retirement on May 12, his familiar face will continue to be seen on the Arkansas Tech campus during the 2012-13 academic year.
Cohoon will use that time to complete work on his “Geologic Road Guide to Scenic Route 7.” The first draft of the project is currently under review. Final field checking, supplemental article writing and final editing will begin in June.