Diane (Hall) Ritzdorf '72

For the past 34 years, Diane has taught and worked with students in forensics and debate. Throughout that time she has indeed touched the lives of many students. For the commitments she has made to this field, Diane has received the Sharon Wilch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado High School Activities Association. She served as chairperson of the Colorado District of the National Forensic League and also the Colorado Speech Activities Committee and as co-director of the Colorado State Speech Tournament. She has also received the 2001 Marcella E. Oberle Award for Outstanding Teaching in Grades K-12 from the National Communication Association and the Lena Bell Sloan Martin Award for Outstanding Speech Coach from the Colorado District of the National Forensic League. The principal at her last school, Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colorado, says “she has consistently extended herself beyond expectation,” and that her long-term leadership in the school’s speech/debate/forensics program “has created tremendous opportunities for our students to compete and win scholarships.”

Diane has served her community through Calvary Presbyterian Church, where, among other activities, she was involved as Chairperson of their Pastor Search Committee. She was a committee member and merit badge counselor for Boy Scout Troup 263, and for this work was awarded the Outstanding Scouter Award in 2000. Diane is also an active member of her local PEO, an organization that promotes educational opportunities for women. She has held all offices in her chapter, including a term as President from 2000 to 2002, and was recently elected to their state board. Diane has also continued to stay involved with NWU activities by helping plan her class’s 10 year reunion and with the Willard Sorority Centennial Celebration in 1989.

After graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan with a degree in English and Secondary Education, Diane earned an M.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Denver in 1977. She has been featured as a presenter at a variety of professional communication/speech educators’ meetings and conferences. Currently, Diane is retired from teaching language art and coaching forensics. She says her greatest reward from teaching was watching her students grow in skills and experience.