You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.

Neufelds Honored by Lander University for Years of Service

Judi & Chuck Neufeld being recognized
Dr. Judith Neufeld and Dr. Charles Neufeld were honored for their years of service at Lander University during the choral director’s final concert at the school April 14.  The Neufeld’s will retire May 1. Pictured with the couple are Dr. Sarah Hunt-Barron, dean of the College of Education (center) and Dr. Lucas McMillan, interim dean for the College of Arts and Humanities (right). Photo by Larry L. Padgett.

Dr. Charles Neufeld marked the culmination of his remarkable 44-year career as a director of choral ensembles worldwide with a joint performance by the Lander University Singers and Old Main Singers on April 14 at the Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. This event also signified his retirement from Lander University.

Before the final selection of the concert, Dr. Charles Neufeld and his wife, Dr. Judith Neufeld, who is also retiring from Lander, were recognized for their dedication to Lander University.

In presenting Dr. Judith Neufeld a plaque, Dr. Sarah Hunt-Barron, dean of the College of Education, said, “It is truly an honor today to recognize Dr. Judi Neufeld and celebrate her retirement. For twenty-two years, twelve of those years as dean, she has served Lander students, faculty, and staff, leading with grace, and generously sharing her wisdom with her colleagues . . . It has been an honor to work with Dr. Judi Neufeld.”

Dr. Lucas McMillan, interim dean for the College of Arts and Humanities, thanked Dr. Charles Neufeld for his contributions to Lander as he presented the choral director with a plaque also. “As it is with Judi, we thank Chuck for his service to Lander University, for his impact on countless students, for making our community a better place, and for his service to the State of South Carolina,” Dr. McMillan said.

A reception was held to honor the couple following the concert in the Johnson Commons of the Abney Cultural Center, where students, faculty, family, and friends wished them well.


Dr. Charles Neufeld

In addition to serving as choral conductor and teacher at Lander University, Dr. Neufeld has also led musical productions of the Greenwood Community Theatre and served as artistic director and conductor of the Laurens County Chorale for 14 years. He has performed in 43 of the 50 United States and in 12 European countries, in venues such as Piccolo Spoleto Music Festival and the Moscow State Conservatory, the Augusta Symphony, the Aiken Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony and the Boston Pops.

Further, he has performed in professional choirs such as the Phoenix Bach Choir, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Taylor Festival Choir, and the Cecilia Ensemble. He has served as choral director in eight churches and given many solo oratorio performances.

Dr. Neufeld holds a bachelor's degree in music and sociology from Tabor College, Hillsboro, KS, a master's degree in conducting, church music, and trombone performance from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral music from Arizona State University.

Dr. Neufeld said he has “been privileged to work with many good singers over the years. I know I will miss the students.”

Reflecting on his love of music, the long-time conductor and educator remarked, “Of all the group activities we can pursue on earth, making music in an ensemble is one of the most unique experiences. We cannot participate without being changed in some way. So, the fact that we can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make us more beautiful human beings.”


Dr. Judith Neufeld

During her 22 years at Lander University Dr. Neufeld held multiple positions, including professor of education, chair of the Department of Teacher Education, and dean of the College of Education. She has taught 30 different courses in Lander University’s undergraduate education programs, the Honors College, graduate education programs, and the Master of Teaching (MAT) program.

While at Lander University, the former dean has been involved in many programs, including the early stages of Lander University’s Teaching Fellows program. She has served on a variety of University committees including the Lander Foundation Board and, most recently, as chair of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee. She has been a proud member of the Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma since 2006, serving as vice president and president of the chapter.

Dr. Neufeld holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and music education from Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas, and completed a Master of Education degree in elementary education with an emphasis in reading at Texas Christian University, Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1988.  In 1999, Dr. Neufeld received a Doctor of Philosophy in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

When she is not involved in educational pursuits, Neufeld enjoys cooking, traveling, and reading books. Active in church, she has taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and worked with children’s choirs in several churches.

“Working at Lander University has been a wonderful experience,” the retiring educator expressed. “I have had the privilege of working closely with so many outstanding faculty and staff members. Our alumni are accomplishing marvelous things in their classrooms and spheres of influence, and I appreciate and am proud of all that they are doing. But the best part has been spending time with college students. College students have such a wonderful energy and excitement about life. It has been a blessing to have been a part of that vibrancy and vitality on a daily basis.”


Future Plans

The Neufelds have a lot of plans for retirement. “We plan to travel a lot,” Dr. Judi said. “We are going on a three-week exploration of the Northwestern US with some friends and family members and taking a trip to England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to celebrate our 40th anniversary.”

More trips are planned for next year including a ‘sister’s trip’ to New Orleans. They also plan on spending more time with their twin daughters, other family, and friends and look forward to being involved in the community.

On a lighter note, Dr. Judi Neufeld said she particularly looks forward to never having to grade another assignment.


Passing The Baton

Dr. Lucas McMillan, interim dean for the College of Arts and Humanities recently announced that in Fall 2024, Dr. Keith Jameson will join Lander University as director of Choral Activities.  Jameson will lead Lander University’s two choral ensembles—University Singers and Old Main Singers—and will be involved in various recruitment and outreach activities.

An alumnus of the renowned Eastman School of Music, Dr. Jameson has performed professionally with The Metropolitan Opera of New York, as well as with many opera and philharmonic orchestras throughout the United States.