In Memoriam: Kay Haley

Photo Credit: Kay Haley at her retirement party
by Amanda Lager Thu, 07/20/2017 - 11:25

Catherine (Kay) Haley, 80, Gretna, died July 2, 2017. Born in Tulsa, OK, Kay lived for several years and attended secondary school in California. She received her Associates degree from the Lincoln School of Commerce, and began her career after raising five children.

Kay was hired by the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 1994 as a Word Processing Specialist. She was promoted in 1998 to graduate secretary until her retirement in 2013.

Among her duties, Kay assisted the graduate student and admissions committees. She also completed special projects for the Department, such as assisting Professor Emeritus Sitaram Jaswal to organize the Forty-Fourth Annual Midwest Solid State Conference held in Lincoln on October 18-19, 1996.

Faculty remember her for her "wry sense of humor about the physicists with which she worked."

Kay was recognized for her excellent service to the university in October 2001 with the College of Arts and Sciences Applause Award, given for innovation, outstanding performance, and service beyond the call of duty.

Her nominees said, "Kay’s major responsibility is to process all the paperwork related to both new and present graduate students. ... Actually a more honest statement would be that she does all the ‘real’ work.
"We have about 60 graduate students and admit 10-12 new students every year. She processes tons of documents required for the admission process. Once they are here, she keeps track and processes documents required by the Graduate College at various stages of their standing in the program. She also has to make sure that everything is in order so that the students get paid as RAs and TAs throughout the year. Thus she is the workhorse of the Graduate Committee and goes out of her way to do it all with a smile. ... Finally, the heavy load of Graduate Committee work does not stop some colleagues from piling on her other work, which she does gladly. ... While a number of faculty form the admissions committee, Kay Haley IS the committee."

Staff members also recall that Kay had a generous heart and frequently volunteered in the community. Her many outreach activities included being a devoted blood donor during her time with the Department. Nothing would stop Kay from giving back, even low iron levels, which the staff remember she would remedy by eating specific foods days before she went to donate.

A full obituary for Kay can be found on the Roeder Mortuaries website.