By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Marsha Yeagley started teaching when she was 10 years old.
Well, not really, but that’s what she likes to tell people.
“That way I don’t sound quite as old as I really am,” she said with a smile.
In reality, the senior lecturer has spent an impressive 48 years in the University of Nebraska at Kearney College of Business and Technology, not including her time as an undergraduate student.
A Lyons native, Yeagley attended UNK from 1969-73, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After a brief stint in Chicago, where she worked for United Airlines, Yeagley returned to Kearney and never left.
“I’ve loved it,” she said of her career in education. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Yeagley started her first job at UNK in January 1974, when she was still a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in education/marketing. As assistant director of the Center for Small Business, she assisted business owners across central Nebraska through workshops and other outreach activities.
A full-time faculty member since 1978, Yeagley has worn a lot of different hats over the years. She’s served as an assistant department chair, associate dean and marketing and communications coordinator in the College of Business and Technology and was an event coordinator for the Alumni Association and Foundation.
“When different opportunities arose, I was there to take advantage of them, and I’m grateful that I was given opportunities to do a lot of different things,” said Yeagley, a senior lecturer since 2000.
The one constant throughout her time at UNK has been teaching.
“I have absolutely loved working with the students,” she said. “That has been my passion.”
“What I think is the most gratifying is to look at graduates – and, of course, I’ve experienced a lot of them – and see where they are today. It’s wonderful to talk to people who have been your students and see how successful they are and what they’re doing.”
Yeagley has taught a variety of classes at UNK, from introduction to business and principles of marketing to retail management and professional selling. She also led the professional sales certification program, which has seen significant growth since it was created a few years ago.
Because sales positions exist in nearly every industry, that program benefits people both inside and outside the College of Business and Technology. This includes high school graduates ready to start their first full-time job, college students seeking a four-year degree and working professionals hoping to advance in their careers.
“These certification programs are really important for students to take a look at because it will make them more marketable,” Yeagley said.
In addition to her academic work, Yeagley provides consulting and conducts focus groups for nonprofits, including an ongoing rural public transportation project with the Nebraska Safety Center.
“It’s really important to practice marketing so you can take that back into the classroom when you’re teaching it,” she said.
That work will continue, even though she retired from full-time teaching following the spring semester.
“I’m not done working,” she said. “I’ll never be done working. I’d go crazy.”
The transition does allow her to spend more time with her three adult children and focus more attention on her yoga business, MYOGA. Yeagley has a studio at her home and she teaches classes at the Kearney Family YMCA and the CHI Health Wellness Center. This case, she’ll begin working with people in the hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation area, using yoga to improve heart health.
Not bad for someone who turns 71 this summer, depending on how you do the math.