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Ken Hartke

Retired: State and local government Director of Planning and Research

History with a Political Science Minor

Graduated in 1970

Explain your career path

Retired after 35 years in state government (social services and corrections) and local city planning. MPA at Missouri University. Volunteer researcher at the state archives for several years. Currently Vice President of the New Mexico Architectural Foundation (Albuquerque, NM)

What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?

History. Political Science minor. I was always interested in history and government but had wide interests and almost a minor in several fields including Spanish which serves me in a limited way today in New Mexico.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

I transferred from a community college with an Associates Degree. Family members attended SEMO previously. It was relatively close and affordable and had a good reputation.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

After almost fifty years, I still remember a few history professors. All are retired or gone now. (Ketchum, Coleman, Ramsey, Suggs...)

Share your best college memory.

At my age now? Mostly the people. The 5.4 earthquake in November, 1968 was memorable.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

Meeting and working with people from different backgrounds was a new experience. I enjoyed small town living and have lived in a small town almost ever since.

Describe Southeast in three words.

Quality, affordable, caring

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Meeting the challenges of public service in a variety of positions under constantly changing political environments and leadership.

How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?

With the NM Architectural Foundation, I'm engaged in various aspects of historical preservation which is an outgrowth of my interest in history and SEMO history education.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

An advanced career in government service requires excellent communication, writing, and problem solving skills. A good liberal arts education plus some specialization will get a person started. Political Science will help. A Masters in Public Administration might be required or preferred.

What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?

The job market was difficult in 1970 -- probably more difficult today. The job you are training yourself for probably won't exist as you expect it to, or not at all by the time you are ready. Being flexible and mobile will help you find your way.


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