Associate dean spent 23 years in dental hygiene program, 26 in CHS
By Alex Nemec, marketing communication specialist
After an illustrious 41-year career, College of Health Sciences Associate Dean Dr. Kim Halula has decided to enter retirement on July 15.
Halula walked onto campus in 1981 after being appointed as the senior clinic supervisor for the Department of Dental Hygiene. She was promoted to chair of the department in 1984 and in 2000 was named the associate dean of the College of Health Sciences — working in a dual role, serving both positions until the Department of Dental Hygiene closed in 2004.
College of Health Sciences Dean Dr. William Cullinan said Halula has selflessly served and made “incredible contributions” to the college.
“Among many other roles she enthusiastically stepped into during times of crisis, Kim has been a skilled, beloved teacher, trusted colleague, calm supporter, wise counselor, tireless advocate for the college and university, and a true friend,” Cullinan says. “In my own time at this university, I have never met an individual who so completely and beautifully embodies our mission, purpose and guiding values.”
During her tenure in health sciences, she served as the interim chair for both the Speech Pathology and Audiology and Physician Assistant Studies departments — while still fulfilling her duties as associate dean.
Four decades is a long time to stay at one job, but Halula says what kept her coming to work every day was knowing that no day was going to be the same.
“Given all the roles I served in over the years I was always learning something new,” Halula says. “I worked with a lot of people and whether it was students, faculty, staff or alumni, they all made sure I felt welcome in their field, but also ensured I understood their professional environment.”
One of her favorite memories at Marquette was when the dental hygiene program held its 90th anniversary celebration in 2013 and she had a heavy role in helping plan it.
“Martha Moore in University Advancement had helped me plan this wonderful celebration that brought back over 100 alumni across all eras,” Halula says. “We had some graduates from the ’40s all the way up to our final class in 2004 return to campus. Watching the joy of the alumni interact with one another was very special for me.”
As her career progressed, Halula says she was happy to be around students and help them as their adviser — even earning a prestigious moniker from a health sciences student.
“I had a pre-dental scholars student who sent me an email after he went on to dental school who called me the GOAT adviser and I didn’t know what that meant,” Halula says. “He wrote me back and clarified, saying I was the greatest of all time adviser. Instances like that, as well as the students, helped keep me young at heart and was the best part of working here.”
As she departs, Halula says she wants to impart some words of wisdom that helped her during her career for her colleagues.
“I forget where I read this, but it has really helped me over the years: ‘appreciation in any form, at any time, brightens anyone’s existence,’” Halula says. “We have to remember what sort of legacy we are leaving behind and we need to leave behind kindness and sincerity.”
Retirement brings a time of traveling and relaxing for Halula, she says. She plans to visit her friends and family more — including putting her recently purchased fishing license to use with her grandson.