They told stories of water towers painted like soup cans, smoke bombs placed atop buildings, and tomes of epic battles for independence as well as providing sage advice to campus newcomers.
More than 25 members of a unique and prestigious club at UCCS, faculty and staff employed for more than 25 years and their guests, shared memories, stories and advice during a Wednesday gathering at the home of Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak.
“I know everyone in this room,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “That’s a good feeling to know that I am surrounded by the people who have made this university what it is and who will help us make it even better.”
Shockley-Zalabak thanked those in attendance for their perseverance, loyalty and leadership in good times and in the trying times the university now faces.
“We can get through this,” Shockley-Zalabak said, repeating a phrase often used in recent months. “I know we can and you know we can because you’ve been through things that are far more difficult.”
Shockley-Zalabak encouraged those gathered to remember the past and to share it with a video crew from Media Services. One by one, faculty and staff told their stories to the camera and offered advice. Plans are to preserve the stories for the University Archives and for use in new faculty and staff orientations.
“Remember the roaming holiday parties and the roasts you used to make?” Steve Ellis, interim associate vice chancellor, Student Success reminded Paul Ballantyne, professor, Economics.
Ballantyne quickly recounted his low-temperature cooking methods and the smells that emanated from his Cragmor Manor (now Cragmor Hall) office, one that was equipped with an oven as well as a bathtub thanks to its previous use as a nursing home.
“The police came one time because someone thought they smelled smoke,” Ballantyne said. “They did – but it was just me cooking.”
Jim Null, professor, Political Science, told stories of toe-to-toe battles with CU administrators, concluding that university politics was good training for a seat on the Colorado Springs City Council. He also recounted luring a campus chancellor from his office on the premise of a Dwire Hall fire, a ruse that appeared realistic when a chemistry faculty member set off a smoke bomb.
But while reminiscing about hijinks and holiday parties brought smiles and laughter, recognition as campus elders with a duty to impart wisdom was also present.
“If you do your best for yourself, you thus will do your best for the campus,” Alex Soifer, professor, mathematics offered as advice to new faculty.
Those who attended Wednesday event included:
- Gene Abrams, professor,Mathematics
- Peg Bacon, provost
- Paul Ballantyne, professor, Economics
- Jim Burkhart, professor,Physics
- Bob Camley, professor,Physics
- Mike Ciletti, professor, Engineering
- Jim Daly, professor, Mathematics
- Bob Durham, associate professor, Psychology
- Jim Eberhart, professor,Chemistry
- Steve Ellis, interim associate vice chancellor, Student Success
- Barbara Gaddis, director, Student Retention and First Year Experience
- Marek Grabowski, associate professor,Physics
- Kathy Griffith, senior projects specialist, Chancellor’s Office
- Sandy Ingersoll, resource management
- T.S. Kalkur, professor, Engineering
- Randy Kouba, senior policy advisor, Chancellor’s Office
- Christina Martinez, senior instructor, Kraemer Family Library
- Kirk Moore, director, Web Services
- Janet Myers, senior instructor, History
- Harriet Napierkowski, senior instructor, Leadership, Research and Foundations
- Tom Napierkowski, professor, English
- Jim Null, professor, Political Science
- Dorothea Olkowski, professor, Philosophy
- Murray Ross, artistic director, Theatreworks
- Al Schoffstall, professor, Chemistry
- Pam Shockley-Zalabak, professor, Communication, Chancellor
- Charlie Shub, professor, Engineering
- Alex Soifer, professor, Interdepartmental Studies
- Susan Szpyrka, associate vice chancellor, Administration and Finance
- Jim Tidwell, associate director, Admissions Services
- Richard Weiner, associate professor, Engineering
- Kirkland Wilcox, associate professor, Business
- Jerry Wilson, executive director, Information Technology
- Tom Zwirlein, professor, Business