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Retiring Radiography Program Director: 'Love What You Do'

June 6, 2023


Joe Ipsen, who serves as the Administrative Chair for Allied Health Programs at Blackhawk, supervises several Health Science programs and serves as Program Director and Instructor for Radiography, will retire on June 30.

When he looks back on his career, Joe said he feels grateful to have done something he loved.

Entering his second year at Western Technical College (then known as Western Wisconsin Technical Institute), Joe wasn’t sure Radiography was what he wanted to do. Then he was hired as a third-shift student technologist in the ER.

“When I started being involved in trauma imaging and came to the realization that the work I was doing had an impact on saving lives, I was hooked forever,” he said.

While working as a Radiographer at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Joe completed his bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management at Viterbo College. He took his first Radiography teaching job at Holy Family College in Philadelphia in 1990.

Joe returned to Wisconsin in 1992 to take over as Program Director at Beloit Memorial Hospital School of Radiologic Technology. He remained in that position until the program moved to Blackhawk in 1997.

In his 26 years at the College, Joe says that the biggest change was the transition from analog film to digital imaging, and a point of pride during his time at Blackhawk is his involvement in the design and building of the Health Sciences wing.

Joe will miss the people he’s had the pleasure to call his colleagues over the years as well as the radiography students that have passed through his classroom.

“Students have an amazing capacity to simultaneously keep you young and make you old,” he said. “I’ll miss that the most.”

As he reaches the end of his career, Joe says he realizes that life is short, and you shouldn’t spend your life doing something you don’t love. He said he feels strongly that there is a limit to how good a person can be at anything they don’t genuinely love.

Once retired, Joe also hopes to start playing golf again after undergoing recent back surgery. He also has an old car he wants to get back on the road, and he wants to start playing music again.

Joe and his wife are retiring on the same day and plan to do some traveling and volunteer at the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue. They also have a pair of 1-year-old Border Collie puppies that will keep them plenty busy.

Happy retirement, Joe!

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