WSC remembers Patricia Arneson

Hailey Walsh, Staff Writer

Wayne State College professor Patricia Marie Arneson was born on Sept. 2, 1949, to David and Marie Ewing and passed away on Feb. 25, 2023 at the age of 73.  

Arneson was a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, business educator, colleague and friend.  

“Having Pat as a colleague was awesome; she was a role model to many of us – smart, accomplished and polished,” business professor Pat Lutt said. “She cared for her students while holding them to professional standards. Having Pat as a friend was something I prized.” 

Arneson graduated from Wayne High School in 1967 before attending WSC and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She graduated from UNL in 1971 with a bachelor of science in education and began teaching at Lewis Central High School in Iowa.  

Arneson married Marion Arneson on July 5, 1975, earned her real estate license in 1976, and graduated with a masters of science in education from UNL in 1977. 

She then began her 46 year career as a business professor at WSC where she continued to spread her enthusiasm for education. 

“She was passionate about education and ran a great teacher ed program. Teaching was her passion and her life,” professor Gerard Ras said. 

While teaching at WSC, Arneson attended graduate school by commuting to Lincoln in the evenings. She received a doctorate in education from UNL in 1989.  

Arneson was awarded the Outstanding Collegiate Business Educator by the Nebraska State Business Education Association (NSBEA) in 1989, the regional Mountain Plains Business Education Association (M-PBEA) Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award in 2007 and the University Business Teacher of the Year Award by the National Business Education Association (NBEA) in 2013.  

The awards Arneson received demonstrate her teaching and student outreach capabilities.  

“She loved her students and was driven to help them achieve their goals,” instructor Kelly Legler said.  

While Arneson was sick in the hospital, she still found time to check in on her students’ education.  

“Arneson called almost every day to make sure we covered what we needed to cover in class,” professor Jeryl L. Nelson said. “She felt bad she wasn’t here.”  

The outreach Arneson demonstrated with her students extended into other areas of her life.  

“She knew EVERYONE and was always happy to connect people,” assistant professor Trish Kolterman said, “We will truly miss her.”  

Arneson served on the NBEA Board of Directors as a regional director for a term, the NBEA Convention Program Chair for numerous years and many NBEA committees.  

“Dr. Arneson shaped me as a business educator with everything from the 1990’s introduction to the Internet to making sure I had a haircut before an interview or competition,” DeLayne Havlovic, president of the NBEA, said in his Tribute and Reflection of Dr. Patricia Arneson.  

Arneson’s care for her students went beyond the classroom.  

“Dr. Arneson was a dedicated proponent of Wayne State College students in the classroom as much as she was an avid supporter of Wildcats athletes on the field and on the court,” Legler said.  

Arneson will be remembered for the affection she showed towards those around her.  

“You could always stop in and talk with Pat, and she sure would not miss your kid’s graduation party,” Ras said.  

WSC will always remember Dr. Patricia Arneson for her drive she encouraged others to share in, her care for everyone around her and most of all, her dedication to education.