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Growing up near campus; impact of Westwood Garden Club

Congratulations on the University’s 40th anniversary! I've been hanging around this University for a long time. I grew up on Schutte Road from 1966 until 1985 with the neighboring campus, known then as ISUE, became much of my "stomping grounds".

I can recall when the university was nothing but the administration building and a few classrooms. Soon after, it grew to include a new University Center and connecting library.

"I remember walking behind my mother as she and her club members hewed out the hiking trails around Reflection Lake and then mulled over what to name the trails."
My first memories of being on campus were when my mother was president of the Westwood Garden Club. During the early ’70s, the club was responsible for the early development of what we now know as the Bent Twig Outdoor Education Center. I accompanied my mother to many of the club’s monthly meetings and activities that were held in the basement of the new library.

Bent Twig Trails was one of the club’s first projects. I remember walking behind my mother as she and her club members hewed out the hiking trails around Reflection Lake and then mulled over what to name the trails. I hiked these trails numerous times because every time we had company, it was the day's entertainment to walk over to ISUE and hike Bent Twig. We walked over to ISUE by Clark Lane. At that time it was just an access road that cut through the woods. It didn’t have a name for many years, but it was a path that led to lots of fun times. I traveled the access road a multitude of times with friends and family to explore, even picking wild blackberries and coasting the hills by bicycle. The only buildings on the road were the “Bob Griese” apartments that sat at the corner of Schutte Road. When those apartments were being built the contractors would throw the scrap wood, drywall, carpeting and wallpaper across to our side of Schutte Road. My brother, cousin and I would drag it down to the woods and build our own clubhouses out of the neat leftovers.

The Bluebird Trail was also another one of my mother’s projects as club president. I remember the excitement of the club members as each bluebird house went into place. I'm thrilled that the trail is still active and in use today.

The buildings that comprise the Outdoor Education Center were also a part of the club’s endeavors. I remember the long restoration project of the Westwood Lodge as I climbed around the rocks and cliffs to bide the time. When the lodge was done, I spent more time there for school outings and club meetings, etc. Next was the Grimes Haus. It was moved on campus from another location by tractor-trailer. We watched from the sidelines as the house precariously moved to its final resting place. Later, I volunteered for the garden club fundraisers at the house so it could take shape for public use. I vaguely recall the Herb Garden, Eicher Barn, and schoolhouse as more Westwood Garden Club projects. My mother became ill and passed away, and I was venturing out to make my own memories with ISUE.

My very first high-school job was on campus working for the catering service that was contracted to the university. Although I worked throughout campus catering parties in many of the buildings, the main kitchen and dining room were on the second floor of the University Center. It doesn't look anything like it used to but the memories come flooding back when I walk through the UC today. I also spent time catering parties at President Rice's home off Mel's Drive before the new president's home was built.

While working at ISUE, I met my future husband. He worked in what used to be known as the Mail Center, now Distribution Services, as a student worker. We came to the basketball games and many activities on campus. We dated for four years while I continued to work and later attend school here. He graduated in 1983. I was a student from 1983 until we married in 1985. My major was computer science. Then there were only a handful of computers on campus compared to what we have today. There was a main processor in the Technology Center that was still connected to ISU in Terre Haute. It was very slow and there was no Internet! After marriage, I was away from the University for several years, but decided to return to the workforce two years ago since our two children were almost raised. I took a position on campus with the Physical Plant. I have enjoyed getting to know the campus and familiar names and faces again. The growth has been astounding here and I have the pleasure of spending time in many of the buildings again and recall the fond memories of my childhood and young adult life.

Cindy Francis
Physical Plant
Custodial Worker


From playground to workplace
I have a long history with the west-side school known as USI (formerly ISUE). I grew up in a house two miles from campus. My brother and I, along with friends, used to ride our bicycles to ISUE and play pinball and tag. Later, I would find employment with ISUE food services. I felt the need to leave town when it came time for me to attend college, so I attended Murray State University. After completing my associate degree, I returned to Evansville. After working at SIGECO for six years, I took a position at USI in the Computer Center. I enrolled in college a second time. While working full-time and raising my children, I took one or two classes per term until I finished my Bachelor of Science degree in 1998. I have been working at USI since. As my children grow up, I hope they find their way back to USI.

This literally used to be my playground. I remember as a preteen riding my bicycle to ISUE to play foosball, pinball, and pool in the lower level of the University Center. I remember playing tag with my brother and friends (including Michelle Folz-Herrmann USI Purchasing employee) around the University Center. We’d chase one another on the UC balconies, elevators, and around the pyramid room. I remember when the physical education classes were taught in a “gym” that was in the current administration building (where Instructional Technology Services is currently located).

I attended West Terrace Elementary School and once we came to ISUE on a field trip. We walked the Bent Twig trail and identified various trees and plants.

"I enrolled in college a second time. While working full-time and raising my children, I took one or two classes per term until I finished my Bachelor of Science degree in 1998. I have been working at USI since. As my children grow up, I hope they find their way back to USI."
In my teen years I had a part time job with ISUE food services. I would work in the evenings when various organizations would use the dining hall for dinner meetings. I served coffee and pie and cleared away the dishes. I also remember that a lot of people would come to USI for Sunday dinner. Many families would come right after church to ISUE.

I attended a few summer classes at ISUE in 1982. I had Dr. [J. Eliseo] DaRosa for economics and Dr. [Edward] Marting for accounting.

I became a USI employee in December 1989. At this point in my life, I was married with two young sons. I took a position in the Computer Center and also enrolled in school. I figured if I took one class per term, I’d eventually get my bachelor’s degree. I did finish my degree in 1998. I have toyed with the idea of a master’s degree, but just haven’t taken that first step – yet.

My children both attended the USI Children’s Center preschool. They attended the school-aged summer programs, too. Having a day care at my place of employment was an awesome benefit that many Evansville employers did not offer. I hope someday soon my children will attend USI – and I can enjoy the benefit of the employee educational discount.

I am still an employee of the USI Computer Center. In my current position supporting the faculty/staff e-mail system; I get to work with all the employees on campus. I have worked with a lot of really nice people at USI and have enjoyed the opportunities that I have been given.

Carol Schmitt
Computer Center Programmer/Analyst


Spreading wings
I was barely 18 years old when I started my freshman year at USI. I came from a small town where I was known mostly for my involvement in sports, and I didn't have much confidence when it came to college. I was lucky enough to be hired as a student worker for the Office of Advancement during my freshman year, and I got the chance to know some of the wonderful staff at USI. Through the years I developed great relationships with my professors and became involved in student activities. I just graduated cum laude from USI and received the 2005 Academic Achievement in Public Relations Award. I am now a member of the USI staff, and I hope to have a long and prosperous career here. USI gave me the confidence to spread my wings and I'm excited about the possibilities the future holds for me.

Andrea Seib ’05, public relations and advertising
Senior Administrative Assistant
USI Foundation


Experience beyond the classroom
I have so many great memories of USI. I was lucky enough to get an education there, but the experience beyond that meant so much as well. During my time at USI, I took full advantage of all the wonderful things it offered. I experienced being a disc jockey and doing news for WSWI 820 AM radio. I was also a part of the “USI View” tv community. I have many fond memories of the advertising competition. We worked hard on it with Bob Jeffers [instructor in advertising] and went to Chicago to compete. I also had my social memories of Delta Zeta Sorority and hanging out with great new friends and attending all the formals. I will never forget being crowned 1994 Homecoming Queen for USI. I was lucky enough to find one of the great professors, Karen Bonnell, who would see something special in me that would help guide me into what I wanted to be. Professor Bonnell [communications] started a relationship with WEHT Channel 25 to come up with a kids show “Super Kid Power.” This allowed opportunities for television students at USI to get hands-on experience, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it by hosting Super Kid Power. At that point, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I don’t think I would have been given that kind of a challenge if I had attended any other college. With all of this said, I thank USI and the many professors who change our lives for the good.

Angela Cooper-Spicker ’95, communications
Tampa, Florida


Bobstock and other Accounting adventures
Several years ago while Bob Howell, now internal audit manager, was away at a conference, employees in and near the Accounting Department decorated his office.

Since the conference was the same week as the Woodstock reunion, we decorated his office in honor of the original Woodstock and named the celebration Bobstock.

"One day during the O.J. Simpson trial, co-workers recreated the crime scene in Jeff Sickman’s office while Jeff, assistant controller, was gone."
Employees hung a beaded curtain in his doorway, taped peace signs on the walls, and mounted a black light in his office. We also obtained pictures of Bob when he was younger and copied them. With markers, we drew Woodstock-appropriate hairstyles on Bob’s pictures. Then we hung the pictures in his office.

On the day Bob returned from the conference, his co-workers greeted him in tie-dyed shirts. Employees from offices throughout campus stopped by to witness Bobstock. The event went over so well that Bob kept the decorations up for a few days.

We’ve done a lot of stuff like that.

One day during the O.J. Simpson trial, co-workers recreated the crime scene in Jeff Sickman’s office while Jeff, assistant controller, was gone. We marked off the room with yellow caution tape and indicated where a body had been on the floor by tracing around a student worker. Co-workers got plastic gloves from Health Services and colored them with red markers to indicate blood and left them at the scene.

Another time, Linda Culver, cashier, fell asleep at the side cashier’s window during her lunch hour. Since it was near Halloween, her co-workers took down the fake cobwebs that decorated the cashier’s window and decorated Linda. As they got out Christmas lights and began to decorate her, Linda woke up and asked what was going on.

I pointed to the cobwebs and said, “You’ve been asleep a really long time.”

Later a radio station asked listeners to call in and tell the strangest thing they had decorated. I called in and told about decorating a co-worker. It just happened that Linda was listening to the same station at the same time.

The Accounting Department staff takes its adventures seriously. We keep a camera handy to take pictures of each escapade and are always on the lookout for new pranks to pull.

Melody Sponn
Accounts Payable Supervisor
Business Office


What’s in a name?
At least 20 years ago, Accounts Payable received an unforgettable invoice. It was addressed to Dr. ISUE.

The whole department laughed wondering if the sender would ever figure out that ISUE is not a person, much less a doctor.

Pam Wade
Accounting Associate
Department of Accounting


Changing values
About 20 years ago, every night after the secretaries left work and the lights were turned out, John Munger [now personnel director emeritus] checked each office to make sure the secretaries had covered their typewriters with the fitted, plastic covers.

That’s how different it used to be. Now we hardly have typewriters.

John wasn’t picky. He just wanted to make sure USI’s expensive equipment was cared for properly. Now time is more valuable than equipment. Machines can easily be replaced now. They had more worth then.

Courtney Klingelhoefer
Administrative Associate
Pott College of Science and Engineering


The custodial motorcycle
USI’s custodial vehicle used to be a motorcycle with “saddlebags”— hard plastic carriers hooked to the back of the motorcycle just like saddlebags.

Bill Simmons, former custodial services supervisor, delivered supplies, such as cleaners and paper towels, to custodians in the saddlebags. If Bill wasn’t using the motorcycle, other custodians could use it.

You always got funny looks when you were on it. That was normal. We didn’t have any golf carts of our own until Don Broshears, custodial services supervisor, came about five years ago. I think the golf carts are fantastic. I do not miss the motorcycle.

Karen Anderson
Lead Custodial Worker
Physical Plant


Many happy returns
Even the speediest and most accurate typists fear the typing test on job interviews. The worst possible scenarios dart through their minds as they wait to take the test. What if my fingers aren’t on home row and all I type is gibberish? What if I misspell the easiest word? What if they ask me to type a letter format I’ve never seen?

My fears came true when I applied for a job at USI. Human Resources personnel handed me a test and led me to a typewriter. I typed a few words before realizing the typewriter’s carriage return was missing. I knew it had to be on the typewriter somewhere, but I simply could not find it.

Finally, I turned to Jennifer Wilderman, a member of the Human Resources staff, and asked where the carriage return was. I turned red as Jennifer explained that the new electric typewriters don’t have carriage returns but a key labeled “return.”

I landed the job and soon discovered my learning was just beginning. I had never worked in an office and didn’t know what half of the equipment was. On my first day, I was asked to find the hole punch, but I didn’t know what to look for. I had never heard of a hole punch.

I learned a lot in my 16 years at USI.

Kaye Hobgood
Senior Bookstore Assistant (retired)


Sharing — the communal way
I was a new secretary in the Center for Communal Studies when Mary Hayden, veteran secretary in the Center for Communal Studies, and I were invited to eat lunch with a group of people who lived communally.

"I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first experience with intentional communalists."
I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first experience with intentional communalists. I was doing fine until someone reached over and ate some food off my plate. If it hadn’t been for Mary Hayden giving me a reassuring look, I don’t know what I would have done.

After the shock wore off, I realized that sharing, even the food off their plates, was normal for these people.

The experience was a good thing. It helped me to be more open-minded. When I first saw them, they reminded me of people I saw in the ‘60s, but by the time they left I was able to look past their appearances and see them as very intelligent people who lived together like a big happy family.

Although I enjoyed the experience, I still prefer eating the food on my own plate rather than my neighbor’s plate.

Kim Reddington
Administrative Assistant
Physical Education
Bower-Suhrheinrich College of Education and Human Services


Initiation by fire
On Friday, September 23, 1994, Bill Simmons retired from his position as custodial services supervisor. On Saturday, everyone celebrated with him at his retirement party. On Sunday evening, the Science Center tunnel caught on fire. On Monday morning, I was grandly welcomed to my new position as custodial services supervisor.

It wasn’t a rude introduction but a formidable challenge right off the bat.

Although Monday was my first official day as supervisor, I had worked with Bill for two months, learning about USI operations. I had no idea how much I would need that learning period for my first day.

Every surface on the third floor of the Science Center was covered with black soot. The first and second floors also suffered smoke damage. Every surface, every utensil, every desk drawer, and every geology specimen had to be wiped clean by hand.

I organized custodians and outside services, so that 50-75 individuals were working at a time around the clock to clean the building. By Tuesday morning, the first two floors were ready for class. The third floor could have been opened too, but we chose to close it for a week until ceiling tiles could be replaced.

Within three months, the Science Center was back to normal. Almost everything had been saved.

It was a major undertaking, and it was an eye-opener for what a group of dedicated people can do in a short amount of time.

Don Broshears
Custodial Services Supervisor
Physical Plant


Getting down to business
A stuffed parrot named Petey sat on a perch above head cashier Emilie Cutchin’s desk. One day Emilie’s co-workers kidnapped Petey for fun.

They left Emilie clues to Petey’s whereabouts daily. For example, one clue led her to the Physical Activities Center, and there she found another clue. The clues led her in circles for two weeks until her co-workers finally gave her a legitimate clue. Emilie found Petey hidden above a ceiling tile in her office.

Another typical Business Office prank involved Jerri Ann Maier, administrative secretary in the Business Office. Jerri was pregnant and left for another doctor visit. While she was away, her co-workers sat a blow-up doll in her chair. They put a wig on it to make it look like her, and they stuffed material under its clothing to make it look pregnant. When Jerri came back, her inflatable look-alike was in her chair to greet her.

Linda Edwards
Document Imaging Technician
Computer Center


Checking out — barely
During check-out time in Residence Life, some students check out more than their apartments. Some check out their sanity, too.

"The streaker rode in and out of crowds. He would disappear, only later to reappear."
One year on the Thursday of finals week, there was extra commotion as excited students prepared to leave for summer. While crowds of students packed their belongings, headed for one last party, or studied for finals, one student grabbed his hat and bicycle to go for a ride. He didn’t bother to take anything else such as clothing.

The streaker rode in and out of crowds. He would disappear, only later to reappear.

Everyone in housing saw him. As students saw him, they cheered.

The check-out streaker was never apprehended, but he’ll never be forgotten.

Doris Coon
Administrative Assistant
Residence Life Operations


Happy birthday, Steve Helfrich
When I was a secretary in Physical Plant, I knew my supervisor, Steve Helfrich, liked to keep his birthday quiet. I thought it should be celebrated, so without his knowing I sent a campus-wide e-mail, asking everyone to wish him a happy birthday.

Several people stopped him to wish him a happy birthday. Others called. More than 100 people sent e-mail, but the real bombardment came that evening at a basketball game. The bleachers were packed for what fans expected to be a close game during one of the team’s best years. Helfrich had reserved seats, but he couldn’t get to them for people stopping him to say, Happy Birthday!

Helfrich turned red, as he easily does. He simply could not figure out how so many people knew about his birthday.

The next day, Helfrich read the campus-wide e-mail and discovered who the culprit was. He told me to never do that again, and I just laughed at him. We always played jokes on each other over there.

Gigie Hyneman
Technology Support Assistant II
Instructional Technology Services


Little Miss Sunbeam
When I was 5 years old, my aunt entered me in the Little Miss Sunbeam contest. She bought me a blue and white checked dress and had my hair fixed by a beautician for the pictures. The result was a cute photo although not a contest winner.

"The pranks have lasted at least 16 years and are still going strong."
When my daughter was a student worker at USI, she happened to mention the contest to Michael Whipple, who is now assistant treasurer and business office director. Mike asked her to bring in the photo. When she did, Mike copied it and hung the copies throughout the Orr Center, even in the restrooms. On each copy was written, “Do you know this girl?” Later during a serious meeting, he displayed the picture on an overhead projector.

I also have received calls from bogus people claiming there is a Little Miss Sunbeam reunion and wanting to interview me. Others have slipped notes and jokes about the contest in check vouchers and other material to be delivered to me.

The pranks have lasted at least 16 years and are still going strong. I just hope to find Pam Hurley and Linda Cleek’s Little Miss Sunbeam pictures for a little revenge.

In 2002, at my 25-year employment recognition program, my co-workers in the Business Office secretly made enlarged copies of my Miss Sunbeam contest photo, colored them with blond hair and blue dress, and glued them to fans and posters which they produced for the audience. When I was at the podium, all I could see were pictures of myself at 5.

Carol Mann
Senior Accounting Supervisor
Business Office


Birthday surprise
I was fixing a problem on campus when a call on my radio asked me to return to Physical Plant.

When I arrived, co-workers had a wheelchair and oxygen mask waiting for me in celebration of my 50th birthday. They put me in the chair and strapped on the oxygen mask before wheeling me to a birthday cake.

Usually people try to keep their birthdays a secret around here, so they don’t get a prank pulled on them.

Larry Shelton
Senior Maintenance Mechanic
Physical Plant


A spin on Commencement
During Commencement a number of years ago, Physical Plant employees Ross Hettenbach, Jim Deweese, and I were waiting in the staging area to the side of the arena for the ceremony to end so tear-down work could begin.

While waiting, we found a pin-on pinwheel on the floor. Spying Maintenance Supervisor Jerry Bulger’s jacket, we pinned the pinwheel to it.

Before Jerry took a break outside, he put his jacket on without noticing the pinwheel. As he walked, the wind blew just enough to keep the pinwheel spinning.

Everyone watched and silently laughed until Joyce Assalone, former director of special events, complimented Jerry on the pinwheel. Jerry tried to act as though he knew it was there all along, but it was an embarrassing surprise for him.

Mike Kremer
Senior Maintenance Mechanic
Physical Plant


Theatre gone to the dogs
During the summer when USI’s off-campus theater programs are in full swing, strange things occur frequently in the theatre department.

During one summer season, an actress and artistic director each brought their dogs to rehearsals with them. Of course, pets aren’t allowed in buildings on campus, so this posed a minor problem.

Theatre department personnel chose to ignore the dogs and deal with the conflict in University policy only when they had to. Getting the current production up and running took precedence in our minds over a couple of well-behaved dogs.

"I think it shows that everyone on campus tries to work with you and not get you in trouble if you’re willing to work on your problems. "
That plan worked well until the pet owners decided to leave their dogs in the rehearsal studio one evening while they performed at New Harmony Theatre. That evening a security officer checked the rehearsal studio during his regular rounds. When he discovered two furry little creatures without acting talent in the studio, he reported it to his supervisor.

The next morning I got a call from Barry Hart in Security. He told me what the security guard had found and asked if I knew anything about the dogs.

“Dogs? There were dogs in the rehearsal studio? I don’t know anything about those two dogs,” I feigned.

Barry played along and simply advised me of the University policy concerning pets and suggested I pass the information along to anyone who might know about the dogs. He didn’t ask for names or get upset. He simply asked for the problem to be corrected.

I think it shows that everyone on campus tries to work with you and not get you in trouble if you’re willing to work on your problems.

Even so, Security probably keeps a closer eye on the theatre than it used to, just to make sure it hasn’t gone to the dogs.

Elizabeth Dingman
Former Coordinator of Public Relations/Marketing for theatre programs


A close call at Commencement
Preparing for Commencement is as nerve-racking for staff as it is for students. Although staff isn’t worried, as students are, about forgetting to complete a checkout form or missing a required course, staff is worried about having the stage right, the program error-free, and the ceremony running smoothly.

One year on the day before Commencement, I checked and rechecked my To-Do List before finally deciding everything was done. Then I called Jerry Bulger, maintenance supervisor in the Physical Plant, to tell him everything was ready to be transported to Roberts Stadium. I told Jerry I had moved all the needed items to the center of Advancement’s storage room and marked them for the trip to the stadium. I also posted a list of all items for transport, just in case there was a question. Jerry assured me he would have the items at Roberts Stadium waiting for me the next afternoon.

When I arrived at the stadium ready to make the final preparations for the ceremony, I spotted Jerry talking with some co-workers from the Physical Plant. I thought I would make sure everything was on schedule with him.

He noticed my approach and turned to me with a solemn face, “Phyllis, I picked up the stuff on the list, but I just realized the president’s podium wasn’t there.”

My heart thudded to a stop. I thought, “I really messed up this time!” Commencement was only a couple of hours away. Could we get everything done and still get the podium? It was unlikely, but the podium had to be at Commencement.

The president’s podium is a massive, oak podium reserved for few occasions. In between its rare appearances, it is carefully protected from scratches and dents in the back of the storage room, behind a partition, wrapped in a thick quilt. I had forgotten to move it out, tag it, and add it to Jerry’s list.

No standard podium would look grand enough for Commencement speakers to stand behind as they addressed the graduating class in front of thousands of family members and friends watching from the crowded stadium seats.

Just as panic had truly set in, Jerry informed me he had the podium all along. Even though it wasn’t on the list, he’d been through the Commencement routine enough to know that the president’s podium was a necessity.

Phyliss Oeth
Manager of Conference and Meeting Planning
Special Events


Ups and downs of summer camp
USI’s summer enrichment camps for grade-school and middle-school students provide creative and enriching experiences for young minds. One summer, they provided young minds their first encounter with law enforcement.

I was leading a summer enrichment camp that included activities to teach children about aerodynamics. The camp was taught in a room on the bridge between the University Center and Rice Library, making it easy to complete one of the teaching manual’s suggested activities.

For the activity, students were separated into two groups. One group stood on the bridge and dropped objects, such as a feather, off the bridge. The other group stood beneath the bridge and observed the rate at which the object fell. The exercise was to teach students that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects.

When the camp had nearly completed the project, security officers came and halted the program. The wide-eyed students equated the uniformed men with police officers. They couldn’t believe their summer camp had broken the law.

The security officers explained that the program was a danger to those walking nearby. It was being halted to prevent a serious accident.

Other teachers and I quickly explained that they were keeping a close eye on the students and making sure they didn’t drop anything on the heads of those passing by. We presented their best case in order to be allowed to finish the activity.

Security warily agreed but warned us not to plan the project next year. After all, it wouldn’t be good for camp students to go home and tell their parents that their teachers got in trouble with the police during class.

Kathy McGregor


The student who needed a mother
A student came into the Health Services Office to see the nurse. I explained that the nurse was out for the day but would be back tomorrow.

Instead of leaving like the other students, this student asked, “Are you a mom?”

When I said yes, he pulled up a chair and said, “You can probably help me then.”

He told me his problem and asked what advice he would give him if he were my son. I have four sons, so it was no problem helping him. He really just needed reassurance.

From time to time students came into Health Services needing reassurance. I told them up front that I wasn’t a nurse, just a mom. For many, that was just what they needed.

Karen Richardson ’01, business administration
Former Secretary
USI Health Services
Taylors, South Carolina


One more for Residence Life
Every year students show up at Residence Life during check-in with suitcases in their hands but no room reservations.

One year a student arrived in a taxi straight from the airport. He had flown to Southern Indiana all the way from Japan, planning to go to school and live at USI. In his preparation, he had forgotten to fill out a housing registration form.

Although surprise students can be counted on, they usually don’t come from as far away as Japan. Residence Life staff found the student a room.

Pat Jordan
Administrative Assistant
Residence Life Operations


Grand theft in the Dental Clinic
I took a quick glance at Mitchell Auditorium to make sure everything was in place for the Liberal Arts Honors Week ceremony. Of course, it wasn’t.

I had sent a work order to Physical Plant requesting 10 upholstered arm chairs be placed up front for the award presenters.

I called Don Broshears, custodial services supervisor, and asked him where the chairs were. Don assured me that he had sent a third-shift custodian to move 10 chairs into the room.

“Then where are the chairs?” I asked.

"The Dental Clinic receptionist began tapping frantically on the window separating her from the waiting room to get their attention. She wanted to know who was taking the chairs and why. Their chairs had already been stolen once that day."
Don called the third-shift custodian who said he and some other custodians moved the chairs into the auditorium.

Not knowing when the chairs had been removed from Mitchell Auditorium, who moved them, or why, Don decided to borrow the closest upholstered armchairs he could get — waiting room chairs in the Dental Clinic.

As Don and fellow custodians began moving the chairs, the Dental Clinic receptionist began tapping frantically on the window separating her from the waiting room to get their attention. She wanted to know who was taking the chairs and why. Their chairs had already been stolen once that day.

With the receptionist’s help, the whole story was pieced together. Custodians borrowed the Dental Clinic’s chairs without asking permission. When Dental Clinic employees came in the next morning, they reported the stolen chairs to Security. Security located the chairs in Mitchell Auditorium, returned them, and began an investigation to discover who moved them and how they got access to the Dental Clinic.

A problem still remained. The Dental Clinic needed the chairs. The Liberal Arts Honors Week program had been planned around those chairs. Someone had to bend. I improvised and reserved the front row of auditorium seats for the speakers while custodians quickly returned the chairs to the Dental Clinic.

All went well. The mystery was over. Later, I thought it would be a hoot to go in and steal their chairs again the next morning, but I didn’t.

Annie Krug
Former Director
Special Events


Third time’s the charm for Archives
I was eating lunch in the back room of Archives in 1996 when I heard dripping water. I followed the sound until I found the leak’s source in the ceiling. Almost immediately, a tile burst in the ceiling and water gushed down. I called upstairs to the main library for assistance, and soon all the library staff rallied together to move materials out of Archives and spread them out to dry.

I learned important lessons from that leak. We lost a lot of stuff. I learned to store pictures and the negatives in separate places.

Physical Plant determined the leak came from a steam generator in the ceiling that was supposed to keep the atmosphere in Archives constant for better preservation of materials.

Physical Plant fixed the leak, and everyone thought that would be the end of the story, but in January 2000 it leaked again. This time the leak started on Thursday night. By the time I came to work Friday morning, one-and-a-half inches of water covered the floor.

Again library staff rallied together to save what archives they could. This time it was such a mess that I had to go to a co-worker’s house at lunch to dry my clothes.

Two weeks later on a Friday night, the steam generator leaked again. This time, most of the archives were already removed from the room, but clean up still had to be done.

After the third leak, a new steam generator was purchased and installed in the hall instead of the ceiling. Archives also got new carpeting and shelving.

The problem finally was solved, but everyone learned a lot in the process, especially how good a team we are.

Gina Walker
Library Associate
Library Services


Rock Smith
Terry Hayden changed locks in Student Wellness and called to tell the staff they could pick up their new keys. The student worker who answered the phone took a message.

Shortly after the phone call, Ross Hettenbach walked through the area. The student worker noticed his Physical Plant uniform and asked for help. An international student still learning English, she had not completely understood the conversation. She explained that she needed help with keys and had talked to someone in Physical Plant about it, but that person had not been able to help her.

Ross asked who she talked to. She said his first name was Rock. Ross said there was no one in Physical Plant with that first name, so he asked her if she remembered his last name. She said it was Smith. Again he told her there was no one in Physical Plant with that last name. Ross tried to help her the best he could and went on his way.

Thinking about the conversation later, Ross realized she hadn’t talked to Rock Smith about her keys but the locksmith — Terry Hayden.

Now Terry Hayden is known as Rock Smith. He even has a rock and signs with the name posted on his locker.

Terry Hayden
Senior Maintenance Mechanic
Physical Plant

Ross Hettenbach
Lead Maintenance Mechanic
Physical Plan


Apartment-style Communications Department
Immediately after I was hired as a secretary in the Communications Department in 1993, the department temporarily moved from the Science Center to the Bigger Apartment Building in Residence Life. The Science Center had simply run out of room to hold everyone, so the Communications Department was the one to go.

There were two professors to each apartment. Each bedroom was an office, and the living room was like a lobby.

There were certain advantages. Each office came with its own bathroom. There was a stove that could be used to fix lunches. A kitchen table could be used to meet with guests, and the couches made nice waiting areas for students. Some of the women really got into it, even decorating their tables with place mats. Around pre-registration time, some professors stocked their refrigerators with soft drinks for their advisees.

"Immediately after I was hired as a secretary in the Communications Department in 1993, the department temporarily moved from the Science Center to the Bigger Apartment Building in Residence Life. "
We enjoyed it, but there were disadvantages. It was a bad winter with a lot of ice, and no one wanted to walk down the hill to the Copy Center. The University didn’t have courier services then.

Another disadvantage was the formality of apartment doors. Students were reluctant to come in without knocking, even after a “Come in” sign was posted outside. I’d have to get up and open the door for them even with the sign.

Once a pizza delivery man came to the office I shared with department chair Dal Herring. When I opened the door and explained he had the wrong room, the delivery man was surprised to have stumbled upon an office and embarrassed to have the wrong room.

The Communications Department didn’t stay in the apartments long, only through the 1993-94 school year. In fall 1994, the department moved to the lower level of the Orr Center where cubicles served as offices. In spring 1995, the department settled on the second floor of the Health Professions Center. Finally, in fall 1999 the Communications Department found a home in the Liberal Arts Center.

Carey Bogan Franks '93
Senior Administrative Associate
USI Business Affairs

Former Secretary Communications Department


A profound lesson from the ’70s
In the mid-’70s, I was attending a free outdoor concert on the front lawn across from the Physical Activities Center when I received a valuable lesson in life.

I and another hundred or so long-haired, liberal-minded, socially-conscious folk music lovers sat on the grassy hill watching and listening to one of the world’s best known singer-songwriter-political activists of the twentieth century. Standing before me was none other than the king of folk music — Pete Seeger. He was a founding member of the legendary Weavers folk ensemble. He intimately knew Woody Guthrie, the father of American folk music. He had entertained and pleaded for his beliefs with every U.S. president since the 1930s. He nearly single-handedly popularized the whole genre of folk music. And here he was standing an arm’s length away.

He was singing stories about right and wrong, joy and sadness, hope and happiness, and ultimately the American dream. Peace! Love! Joy! Follow your heart! Money is not the essence of happiness! He was teaching how to become better humans and world citizens.

After a full evening of musically righteous learning, I was eager to forego the shackles of monetary wealth and seek truth and justice for the betterment of all mankind. I was ready to volunteer, share, and care. No chasing the dollar. No marching to the rules of “the establishment.” No swallowing the company line. I was going to help change the world, and to heck with just becoming "another number" in our step-to-the-tune, consumer-oriented, and over-commercialized world.

After the last song was sung, the last anecdote offered, and the last lesson rendered, we all simultaneously headed to our own vehicles in the PAC parking lot. I opened the door to my rusting, not very trustworthy, six-cylinder, 1965 Rambler Ambassador with balding tires and a radiator that required additional water after every 30 minutes in motion.

Across the lot, I could see Pete heading to his own car. I was sure he would be driving something reflecting his common, everyman status. Maybe it would be the flagship of the 1960s hippie culture—a very used Volkswagen van with brightly painted flowers and scribblings of “make peace, not war” adorning the exterior surfaces, and fuzzy shag carpet covering every inch of the interior. I imagined him rambling across America with his banjo in hand, spreading his message from town to town, city to city, from sea to shining sea.

I got the most profound lesson of the evening when Pete opened the door and placed his banjo into the narrow space behind the bucket seats of his sleek, brand new, cherry red, two-door, convertible, high performance Ferrari with gleaming chrome mag wheels. The beautiful, young, long-legged, blonde sliding into the front seat beside Pete was clearly not his granddaughter. And it was then that I realized that I didn’t have to give up everything.

Michael D. Harbison
Art Director/Digital Designer
USI Printing Services


No smoking
Bookstore workers had many good times with David Deering [now bookstore manager emeritus], but one of the funniest was his program to quit smoking. Dave, a chain smoker when USI allowed smoking in campus buildings, purchased a computerized gadget to help him quit smoking. The gadget was a fancy timer designed to help a person quit smoking by allowing him to smoke only when the gadget beeped. At first the gadget would beep frequently, but gradually the beeps would become farther apart, until it did not beep at all.

The gadget was a good idea, except Dave couldn’t hear it beep, so I kept the gadget in my pocket and Dave’s cigarettes in a back room. Whenever the gadget beeped, I’d get him a cigarette. Bookstore customers often saw Dave following Diane around, asking if it was time for a cigarette yet.

Dave tried the program about five times, but he was never able to quit. He told me, “I can never be that good. My halo would set off smoke alarms around town.”

Diane Alvey
Assistant Manager
Bookstore Operations


Mr. Freeze
Roger Latham, former HVAC operator, and I had trouble fixing a chilled water line in the lower level of the Orr Center a few years ago.

We turned one valve off and thought the remaining valve was a check valve since no water was coming out. The remaining valve was actually a return valve, and only the clogged strainer was holding the water back. As soon as I loosened the strainer, chilled water gushed into the room. I jumped back and accidentally bumped the light switch, turning off the lights. When 43-degree water hits you, you get chilled a bit. We were chattering, “Tutturn, thatttt, light backkk onnn!”

I seem to have a knack for chilled water line accidents. Working in the Physical Activities Center, I accidentally broke a chilled water line that had to be shut off in the University Center.

Most HVAC operators have caught on by now and avoid working with me on chilled water lines.

Larry Wildeman
Lead HVAC Operator


The day the PAC staff went home
About 15 years ago, the first beautiful day of the year happened to be a Friday in February with sunshine and 70 degree weather. That morning, Rita Murphy, former Physical Activities Center employee, called me to report strong paint fumes in the building.

No employees or contractors were scheduled to paint in the PAC, so I checked the situation. I couldn’t smell even faint paint fumes in the building although numerous employees complained about it, and I couldn’t find the source of the problem.

I simply returned to my office, but PAC employees steadily called to complain about the odor. At 11:30 a.m., Rita called complaining that the paint fumes were unbearable. Knowing there was nothing I could do, I told Rita if PAC employees couldn’t stand the fumes, they could just go home.

Thirty minutes later when I went to work out in the gym, I found a “Closed” sign on the PAC door and all the doors locked. I used my key to get in and finally found the culprit. Ray Walker, former PAC building and equipment supervisor, had a couple of kids hand-painting a small sign for the PAC. The fumes were barely noticeable.

Two weeks after the incident, Allyn Testroat from Human Resources called me to ask about the mysterious time sheets from PAC employees. All PAC employees wrote “paid time off per Miles Mann” on their time sheets for that Friday. I explained that I simply gave them permission to leave. I hadn’t promised them paid time off.

They haven’t tried it in awhile, thank goodness, but there were a lot of people unhappy when they had to adjust time sheets.

Miles Mann
Assistant Director, Facility Operations
Physical Plant


Pep Band
I grew up on Schutte Road, so ISUE was a neighbor and friend before I attended classes there. My cousin and I used to walk to campus often and hike the trails or play tennis on the courts after they were built.  When I finally graduated from high school and became an ISUE student in 1974, I felt at home.

One specific memory I have is that not enough people attended the basketball games.  When I was a student from 1974 to 1977, the team didn't have a very big following.  Some of us decided that maybe we should start a Pep Club and come up with some school spirit for the team. We started having meetings and came up with the idea of a Pep Band to play at the games and help out the cheerleaders with music. We got volunteers to show up and play at the games. My boyfriend was in the Army, but he played the tuba in the band when he came into town on game weekends.  We had fun, and hopefully it made the team feel like we appreciated them.

I am the office manager at Kay Jewelers in Evansville's Eastland Mall. I graduated from ISUE on May 7, 1977, in the morning and got married at an evening ceremony that same day. Since my husband was in the Army, we traveled around with the military for several years before moving back to Evansville in 1994.

Becky Hadley
Evansville



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