Who knew?

The amazing things you can learn about the Puget Sound people you've been working with for decades, if you only ask

Each year, just before second-semester classes begin, the university gives itself an afternoon off to say thanks to the 450-or-so staff members who keep UPS people warm and fed, and who labor day and night at unseen jobs like accounting specialist, locksmith, mail clerk, and enough other jobs to run a small town, which of course the campus is. Everyone gets together for a nice lunch—provided by an off-campus caterer so for once the folks in dining services don’t have to cook—and faculty volunteers wander among the tables serving juice and coffee. On the afternoon’s agenda is special recognition for staffers who are celebrating anniversaries of their employment—5 years, 10 years, and so on; 55 of them in 2006. This part is always fun because, prior to the luncheon, the anniversary staff members were asked to fill out a questionnaire asking things about their life—at work and at home—that co-workers might not know, and the often-surprising facts are then printed in the event program. Here’s what we learned about the employees (three of them alumni!) who celebrated 30 years at the university:

John Finney ’67, associate dean and university registrar
What he does at UPS most people didn’t know about: John is the guy who decides to close school when the snow gets deep. He’s also faculty marshal for Commencement. John plans to retire this year, so in May, 40 years to the day after his own graduation from UPS, he will lead the procession into Baker Stadium one last time.

Additional amazing fact: John is into trains, both model and full-sized. He built the Northern Pacific East Auburn passenger shelter and umbrella shed for the Washington State History Museum’s huge and mesmerizing model railroad exhibit.

Nancy Piercy ’76, acquisitions specialist, Collins Memorial Library
What she does at UPS most people didn’t know about: Nancy orders books, music, DVDs, and videos for the library. Ah, the power. For this she has a regular supplier, but when she needs something really fast she clicks her way to Amazon.com or calls up the Barnes and Noble in Lakewood.

Additional amazing fact: While a student at Puget Sound, Nancy spent a summer in Mountain Village, Alaska, canning salmon. Unrelated to fish, she says her motto is: “Give me more than two of anything and I’ll start a collection.” She collects toys, Swatch watches, glass art, pigs (representations of them, not real ones), rocks (especially agates), tennis shoes, Beatles magazines, and a whole lotta other stuff, including, what else, books.

Beverly Smith ’81, employment consultant, Human Resources
What she does at UPS most people didn’t know about: Bev had a hand in hiring almost every person who was at the luncheon that day.

Additional amazing fact: She and Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Career and Employment Services Rosa Beth Gibson are descended from the same Irishman, one John Dawley, 10 times removed. So much for avoiding nepotism in the workplace.

Roger Williams, director of clinical education, School of Physical Therapy
What he does at UPS most people didn’t know about:
Roger is one of the founding members of the university’s physical therapy program. We knew that, of course. What we didn’t realize is he’s directed the on-site physical therapy clinic since 1976.

Additional amazing fact: Roger was a Navy corpsman in Vietnam with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Division. He plans to return to Vietnam for a visit when he retires.

— Sarah Stall