Roosevelt reminisces and recognizes
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 19:10
No doubt that for Roosevelt University faculty and staff, appreciation from peers and leaders is well received. The Human Resources Department did just that by honoring Roosevelt employees with the 2012 Milestone Service Awards Recognition Ceremony last Thursday.
The function acknowledged employees who have worked on the Roosevelt campuses for the last 10 to 35 years, each award representing a five-year interval. It was the 20th recognition ceremony, commemorating the combined 870 years amongst the 57 recipients.
“This is one of the chances we have to do what we usually do in private,” said Chuck Middleton, the university’s president and historian for more than 40 years, during his introductory speech.
Right before the ceremony, human resources generalist Clara Gong asked the recipients what they remember most about past days of working at Roosevelt.
“When I started I smoked at my desk,” chimed 15-year service recipient Walter O’Neill.
Other employees also had interesting recollections.
“I remember the food,” 10-year recipient Yvette Joseph said with a laugh. “The food was terrible!”
During the ceremony, a spirit of recollecting past events carried on when current events of the time were projected onstage before each group of recipients was introduced. Preceding the 25-year recipients, for example, the Chicago Bears’ landmark champion season was highlighted.
Middleton fondly recollected the reception held in honor of his induction in 2002.
“I’ll never forget that day,” he said. “It was very spontaneous and heartwarming and very personal. People were right there with me as opposed to being in the audience.”
It was noted that the aura of warm welcomes has not changed at Roosevelt, but technology was vastly different several decades ago.
“Manual typewriters and dial phones,” Bonnie Wedington exclaimed. “They’re coming back though.”
Wedington works for the dean’s office for the Chicago College of Performing Arts and has been an employee for 25 years.
She also was briefly the business manager for the university’s newspaper as well.
“That’s when the Torch didn’t have color photos,” she said, laughing.
Rita Brown, who has worked on Roosevelt’s campus for 30 years, remembers her registrar job as a tedious, yet fun experience. She remembers manually entering each students’ registration information.
History professor Lynn Weiner had plenty to remember after 12 years on campus, but her favorite memories are connected to teaching, not technology.
“My best memories are my students,” she said. “I’ve had students meet in my class and get married later.”
Upon deeper retrospection, she commented on Roosevelt as a whole.
“When we started in 1945, we were very rocky, financially…we’ve had cycles, all institutions do. And when you take a long view, you can have some faith that we’re going to come out of this really strong.”
She listed recent amenities added to the campus, proud that the school has had a leap of growth. Yet she attributes a good part of Roosevelt’s strength to the employees.
“We’ve got a very, very strong faculty that’s been built up, so we’ll be OK,” she said.
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