Rest for the Retired:
Veteran Administrator to Step Down
July of 1976 the United States was celebrating its Bicentennial
and Ron Haffey was celebrating a new position as the administrative
associate at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching
Hospital. The 32 years that have passed since then have brought
about enormous change, including the construction of Clydesdale
Hall and the advent of computers. Haffey’s title, too,
has changed several times over the years. On June 13, he will
spend his last day on the job in his final role at the Veterinary
Medical Teaching Hospital, as its administrator. He is retiring
– sort of.
While many people view retirement as an
opportunity to pursue their pastimes full time, Haffey will
spend at least the first six months of his working. He has
signed a six-month contract to serve as the hospital administrator
for Great Lakes Veterinary Specialists, a Cleveland, Ohio
practice that comprises veterinarians who are board certified
in surgery, oncology, cardiology and internal medicine. There
is also a 24-hour emergency service.
“It’s much the same thing as
here, but in a different setting on a smaller scale,”
he said of the position.
Haffey has experience with smaller-scale
operations. He has witnessed first-hand the growth of the
VMTH from an original expansion that created a cluster of
clinics on the ground floor of the Veterinary Medical Building
in 1977 to the construction of the teaching hospital housed
in Clydesdale Hall in 1993.
“Back then there wasn’t the
level of specialization as there is today.” Haffey said.
“Practice was more general in nature. The things we’re
doing today, we wouldn’t have dreamed of then, such
as pacemakers and artificial hips. One of my greatest joys
was to work with (former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs)
Dr. Niemeyer and be a liaison between the contractor and the
university for the building of Clydesdale Hall.”
While true retirement may still be at least
six months away, he is already making plans for the joys that
will replace the gratification of a job well done.
Haffey, a canoeing enthusiast, purchased
a cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks and is in the process of
renovating it. “Something about being near water has
always relaxed me,” he said. He plans to fulfill that
love for water by rafting the top 10 whitewater rivers in
the North America – he already has six of them in the
bag – and he hopes to visit as many of the country’s
131 national parks as he can.
However, retirement won’t be reserved
strictly for recreation. Haffey plans to devote some time
in Christian mission work; he hopes to assist children in
Africa orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.
Facilitating care for orphans in Africa
would represent a return trip for Haffey. He spent 12 days
in South Africa on an AIDS mission trip last February. “I
met some remarkable people trying to make a difference,”
he said. Retirement could give him the chance to become a
part of that difference.
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