Simpson University Honors Three Emeriti Society Inductees

For Immediate Release


REDDING, Calif.—Three longtime Simpson University professors were honored recently with induction into the Emeriti Society, which recognizes retirees who have made a significant contribution to the university.

Drs. Ron McGraw and Carol Wertz from the School of Education, and professor Larry Siemens from the Science and Math Department were recognized in a campus ceremony Dec. 15.

Dr. McGraw, assistant professor of education, taught education courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs at Simpson from 2004 to 2016. He brought School of Education programs to Siskiyou, Lassen and Modoc counties and helped develop Master of Arts and teacher credential programs that Simpson offered in Korea. He came to Simpson from Tanzania, where he served as the director of a school primarily serving the children of missionaries.

“When I think of Ron, I think of the ideas he came up with to do something great for Simpson,” Dr. Glee Brooks, former dean of the School of Education, wrote. “He has contacts all over the world and added Simpson to that cadre of educators. We know Ron as a man of character with a heart for students, full of hospitality, one who is devoted to his family, and a man with a deep love for God.”

Dr. Wertz, associate professor of education, served at Simpson from 1999 to 2017. In addition to teaching, she also served as director of Project Welcome and Project EXTRA, multimillion-dollar grants related to English language learning; partnered with the Redding Police Department and Redding School District; served as director of student teaching and teacher performance assessment; and chaired the university’s diversity committee. She presented at educational conferences, wrote numerous articles, and was also involved with Simpson’s programs in Korea.

“Carol’s teaching has brought breadth and depth to her classes, encompassing all grade levels and students from around the world,” Dr. Brooks wrote. “Her teaching hallmarks have been modeling strategies and techniques for her students, while living the joyous life of Christ before them.”

Professor Siemens taught at Simpson from 2007 to 2017. He was the university’s first chemistry professor. In addition to his teaching, he and the science faculty led field trips twice a year to places such as the coast, redwoods, Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and to the California Academy of Science. Professor Siemens is also an avid birder, logging over 100 species that visit campus.

“I consider Larry to be one of Simpson’s finest,” said Pam Van der Werff, who oversaw the department when Siemens was hired. “His ability to teach—not just present—but teach, difficult, challenging material was wonderful to behold.”

More than that, however, he was beloved by his students, she said.

“Our hope is that students learn the material, but what they really remember is how we conduct ourselves, how we live, how we face challenges, how we serve our Savior and his kingdom here and now—students pay attention to who we are in Christ,” Van der Werff said, referencing comments made by university President Robin Dummer. “Larry’s students learned more than just chemistry: They saw first-hand how a man of God lives.”

The inductees received gifts, and plaques with their names will be hung in the entryway of the Emeriti Dining Center. The invite-only Emeriti Society was started in 1995 as a way to honor retired employees who served Simpson for at least 10 years.




Photo by Eirena Ewert / Retired Simpson University professors Larry Siemens (chemistry) and Carol Wertz (education) were honored with induction into the Emeriti Society on Dec. 15, 2017. Not pictured: Education professor Ron McGraw, who was also inducted.


Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations
(530) 226-4737