Gone Too Soon: A Tribute to Rex Karsten
Rex Karsten, MIS Professor, passed away surrounded by loved ones on December 11, 2017 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
"Rex was more than one of my favorite teachers. He was a mentor, a friend and one of my favorite people. The thing I remember most about him is, of course, his humor. It was his humor that drew me in. But it was his commitment to his craft and his devotion to his students that earned my respect. I’ll be forever grateful to him for teaching me, believing in me and instilling in me the confidence I would need to succeed," Kate Washut, partner and CEO of Far Reach said.
If Rex was here, he would tell us to stop. Kate's words would bring a sheepish blush. But we want to share a bit more about our beloved colleague and friend. The most important things to Rex were his family, including his dogs, his friends and his students. Rex had a thirst for life-long learning that drove him to explore the field of analytics early on. He infused his knowledge of Tableau® into the introductory MIS course and promoted business analytics in other core courses.
As a scholar, he was a sought-after co-author. He produced numerous scholarly publications, but was most proud of his work in the area of student computer self-efficacy. “Rex was not only a great co-author, but he was a mentor to me as I was adjusting to my new roles of scholar and professor,” says Amy Igou, assistant professor of accounting. “He helped guide me through a pedagogical project, and he was very quick to share credit.”
We can’t write a proper tribute to Rex without highlighting his fun-loving spirit and great sense of humor. On his The Pheasant Guy blog, he included a photo of an unfortunate mishap involving a wild turkey stuck in the front grill of a truck. The title of the post? "A tale of two Dakotas … and a 'grilled' turkey."
Dennis Schmidt, professor of accounting, knows all about Rex’s joie de vivre. “Rex was my best friend for 47 years. We did countless fun things together,” says Dennis. “What I like most about Rex was his keen sense of humor and his ability to tell a good story.”
Dean Leslie Wilson remembers fondly when she first met Rex at a conference in 1993. “I returned to UNI and told my colleagues that he would be a great addition to the team. And he proved that. Rex embodied the characteristics we value–intellectual curiosity, commitment to teaching excellence and caring for our students and colleagues,” says Wilson. “His great sense of humor was the cherry on top.”