Music Professor Maxine Fawcett-Yeske Says Goodbye; Shares 11 Years of Memories

For 11 years, Maxine Fawcett-Yeske has taught Nebraska Wesleyan University students to appreciate music.

Some of those students were music majors who discovered a passion for the who, what, why, and when behind the music they performed. Some of her non-music majors developed a better understanding and appreciation for music as an art and mode of human expression. And some students even picked up an instrument that they hadn’t touched since fifth grade simply out of enjoyment and inspiration from their beloved professor.

The Nebraska Wesleyan campus community will celebrate Fawcett-Yeske’s contributions to the university and bid her farewell with a reception in her honor on Saturday, July 24. The reception will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Gildersleeve Lounge, located on the lower level of the Rogers Center for Fine Arts.

Fawcett-Yeske has accepted a new job as course director for the First Year Experience Program at the United States Air Force Academy. The program guides nearly 1,200 cadets who enter the academy each year with their academic preparation and training.

“At NWU I have been given the opportunity to grow, explore new ideas, and excel within an environment of support from across the campus community,” she said. “I will treasure the memories and the friendships I have made here.”

She will also join her husband, Bob, in Colorado. For 22 of the couple’s 26-year marriage they have lived apart.

“In accepting this position, the long distance part of my marriage will finally come to a close,” she said. “Bob and I have lived not just in separate locations, but usually in separate states and even different countries.”

Fawcett-Yeske came to Nebraska Wesleyan in 1999. She taught a variety of music courses for both music majors and non-music majors. She was responsible for establishing Wesleyan’s World Music Concert Series, which added to the campus’ diversity programming with music performances by artists from across the globe. For the past two years she has served as director of the Global Studies Program.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She is a past recipient of the university’s Prouty Teaching Award and was awarded faculty development funds and an Ameritas Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to Croatia and Montenegro last summer to conduct further research on Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, of whom she is writing a book and editing music manuscripts. In 2006, Fawcett-Yeske was named Nebraska’s CASE Carnegie Professor of the Year.

Eleven years at Nebraska Wesleyan have amounted to numerous highlights, she said, including:

  • Traveling with the University Choir to Germany, Austria and Hungary. “To walk on the streets of Salzburg where we knew Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had walked — to rehearsals, to performances — really brought home the reading and listening we had done for class.”
  • Student/Faculty Collaborative Research. Fawcett-Yeske collaborated with 2010 graduate Jenna Palensky and researched the World Song Project in Ireland. “The firsthand knowledge we gained from the experience of interacting with the musicians from the Project and the children at Presentation Primary School in Limerick, Ireland, was indeed life-changing for both of us.”
  • Greater accessibility on campus for persons with disabilities. Fawcett-Yeske served on the steering committee, which guided the internal audit of facilities and services. “A number of impressive strides have been made since that time that have made our campus more welcoming.”

But the greatest highlight, she said, was teaching.

“Being involved with NWU students in the spirited inquiry of learning has been my greatest joy during my time at Wesleyan,” said Fawcett-Yeske.

“I am extremely proud of the level of excellence my music students have achieved in conducting original research and writing about research,” she continued. “I have set the standards very high for them and they have risen to the occasion. I believe I have prepared the students for success far beyond my classroom.”

And it doesn’t take long to find a student who agrees.

“You have meant so much to me as an instructor and friend,” senior Stephanie Pollock wrote in a recent email to Fawcett-Yeske. “During my difficult times you listened to and encouraged me and even shed a tear while I struggled to get back on my feet, and now I am stronger and heading in the right direction.

“You have a genuine passion for music and for people like I have never seen before,” Pollock continued. “You delicately balance professionalism and personal attention to students and colleagues alike.”

Great indeed!

I have the pleasure of currently working with Maxine at the Air Force Academy, and Oh what a pleasure it is! She is a asset to our Institution. She is a phenomenal women/colleague/ and now good friend. I can't imagine this place without her! Sonia

Sharing time with you and outstanding music students

Maxine,

I appreciatef your willingness to invite me from time to time for the Senior recitals/performances of music majors and to sit on their Senior Projects examination committees. I knew that would be an educational and enjoyable experience with you, ever since I took a small seminar with you on Music Theory during a Fall conference one year. You are a talented and gifted teacher and you will certainly leave difficult shoes to fill behind you.

Of course, I think married people often prefer to live together at least in the same state, even if living in the same city is not possible. i certainly prefer to live with Jeri.

Frankly, I never understood Janet Rasmussen's choice to depart for serveral years from her husband in order to serve as Provost at NWU and later as a women's college President with an entire continent then separatling her from her husband at least for a while after her move. But such is the plight the two-academic faculty couple, particularly in economically, difficult times.

I wish you all the best and appreciate all that you have brought to the NWU faculty, both within the Music Department and far beyond it in other faculty positions.

Best to you and yours. You will certainly be missed!

David B Peabody,
(Joined by Jeri Brandt who may have her own comments to make about your spendid tenure at NWU at some later date.)

DBP

Thank you!

Thank you for all you've done, Dr. F-Y. I look forward to staying in touch with you. I wish you all the best, and may the good Lord bless you on your new adventure in life!

Will Be Missed!

Even though I never had a class with Dr. Fawcett-Yeske, I always appreciated her kindness and the joy she brought to her students. One of the few regrets from my time at NWU is not fitting time with her into my schedule! Best wishes.

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Maxine Fawcett-Yeske concluded her career at NWU after 11 years.
A highlight for Fawcett-Yeske was collaborating with a NWU student on a research project in Ireland.