Laura J. Hertel grew up in Merrimac, Wisconsin, in Sauk County, northwest of Madison. Her father was the local Postmaster. The population of Merrimac is about 400 citizens. Her dedication to education led her to major in elementary education. She met her husband Jim in Stevens Point; after their marriage they moved to Columbia when Jim was accepted into the MU PhD program in Psychology. Laura began her career at MU on September 10, 1990, as Senior Secretary in the Psychology Department working in Student Services. She transferred to the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Dean’s Office of Academic Programs in 1991, and then to the School of Natural Resources on March 20, 1992.
Laura has become the cornerstone of the Academic Programs Office in the School of Natural Resources. She is always willing to listen and to be there for students and faculty. Her compassion for others, coupled with her knowledge of various curricula and her ability to work with faculty, has earned her the trust, respect and admiration of all whom she assists. Students, parents, faculty members and administrators alike, realize her value and abilities in being able to address their needs and concerns. Laura is the definition of a true mentor. She spends countless hours working with students and faculty to make certain the undergraduate program operates as smoothly as possible. She goes to great lengths to ensure all questions are answered, while ensuring students have the quality education they deserve. As a professional educator, when teaching the College Success Seminar, she strives to instill in students the acceptance of responsibility and accompanying confidence in their own abilities. Laura is known and highly respected across campus for her strong student orientation; she serves as counselor, friend and mentor to all. Her interest in students is obvious from the time and energy she puts into making their time at MU the best experience possible. She is always there for students with special needs. Her devotion to the students is obvious in her efforts to guide them in accomplishing their academic and life goals. She works diligently to instill a professionalism that is immeasurable in the workplace and to society as a whole. Laura is understanding and compassionate; she possesses a firm grasp of university regulations and procedures and uncanny organizational skills. Laura is an inspiration to everyone and has the ability to assist students, faculty and staff in a way each feels fortunate to work with her and to be part of the unique experience of influencing our future leaders.
Please join us in honoring Laura for her dedication to the School of Natural Resources and its students by donating to the scholarship in her honor.