As Leonard Bunselmeyer celebrates the end of an era with his recent retirement from a 41-year career, 34 of which were at Barton Community College, he looks forward to spending time with his grandchildren and taking advantage of volunteer opportunities.
Free time might be something of a new concept to Bunselmeyer, as he has become accustomed to a fast-paced environment.
"The first thing I’m going to do is decompress," he said. "With a lot of programs in the health-care area, there were always things to do and things to react to."
Bunselmeyer’s hard work over the years has paid off and his legacy can be found on the BCC campus and across the state.
He played a critical role in founding the Medical Laboratory Technician program at BCC in the mid 1970s. He had been working at Central Kansas Medical Center as an MLT for seven years before he began helping Dr. Edward Jones implement the program in 1977. He served as the MLT program director from its beginning until 2009, when the responsibility was taken on by Cheryl Lippert.
The demand for the specialized coursework was borne from a statewide lack of MLT curriculum.
Training at the baccalaureate level has been around since the 1920s, but at the associate-degree level, the first programs started in 1969, he said. Kansas had only a one-year clinical laboratory assistant program in Wichita and a two-year program at another community college when BCC started its program.
Today, only two programs in Kansas, including BCC, educate MLT students. Students as far away as Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas have taken advantage of the online curriculum, which has been available for about seven years.
BCC graduates can be found working in labs in Russell, Ellsworth, Hoisington, St. Rose Ambulatory and Surgery Center, Great Bend Regional Hospital, Central Kansas Medical Park Ancillary Services, Ellinwood, Lyons, Stafford and Pratt.
"It’s interesting to look at how many areas where Barton graduates have climbed the ranks and are now managers of those labs," Bunselmeyer said. "We’ve definitely had an impact on the local area. I was recently with a grandson in the emergency room. The lab tech came to get the samples and that was one of my graduates. That brings it home when you see them working on your own family."