I feel so fortunate and very lucky that I can share my love for Indiana University with my family.
Many members of my family, including me, attended and worked at IU Bloomington. My mother-in-law Jo Durr, my sister-in-law Marilyn Kisters, and her husband Dick all had great careers at IU, and all have retired from the university. I even have a nephew, Ricky Peterson, who currently works for IU. My husband Larry, our daughter Jennifer, and her husband Steve Goodrich all graduated from IU. We have attended IU basketball and football games, not just in Bloomington, but all over the country for many years. In the 70’s and 80’s my entire wardrobe was red ... perhaps a slight exaggeration but close to factual. I have always loved IU and IUPUI.
In August of 1973 my family moved from Bloomington to Indianapolis. I had been working for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs just for a few months. Dean Charles Bonser knew I wanted to find a job in Indianapolis, and he told me that the Dean of the Faculties Office was looking for help. So I scheduled an interview with John C. Buhner, the first IUPUI Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties, and his assistant, Shirley Nusbaum. Funny thing is, I don’t remember being asked about my skills, but I do remember Shirley and me pouring through the telephone book looking for day care centers for my little girl. I started my job the day that Chancellor Maynard Hine was leaving his position as chancellor and Glenn W. Irwin, Jr. was taking over as the second chancellor at IUPUI.
Our office then was located in a small building at the north end of Lansing Street where it meets Michigan Street. There is a small parking lot there now. The building had been at one time “Curley’s Cleaners.” There wasn’t even room there for a desk for me. I set up shop using the corner of Shirley’s desk. We weren’t in that space for very long — thank goodness. Dr. Buhner’s staff along with other administrative offices moved to the ground floor of the Union Building. It was kind of fun being in that building; we had easy access to the cafeteria and a wonderful little bakery — probably not so good on the waistline.
Dr. Buhner was my first boss at IUPUI, and I always said I was the luckiest person on campus because I had the best boss at the university. He was, without question, one of the kindest men I have ever known, and I feel blessed and honored to have had the chance to work with him and to get to know him.
We kept in touch over the years and on several occasions, Dr. Buhner would say to me, “Oh please, call me Jack.” I’ve known him since 1973, and after all these years, I could never call him by anything other than Dr. Buhner. I had so much respect for this man and to call him by any other name just wasn’t right for me.
Dr. Buhner was an inspirational man of grace and abundant knowledge. I am a better person for having known and learned from him. Dr. Buhner passed away on January 10, 2017, at the age of 96.
I was 23 years old when I met Shirley Nusbaum. She was Dr. Buhner’s assistant and was later appointed as Assistant Dean of the Faculties. I was young, green, very inexperienced and had lots to learn. I could not have asked for a better teacher and role model. I am sure that many of the skills I learned in my position in that office have carried with me and helped me to be the person that I am today. Shirley and I have remained very close, and I consider her to be one of my dearest friends.
IUPUI has provided the opportunity for me to grow as a professional ... I am a stronger and more-focused person because of my IUPUI experience.Linda Durr, Office of Planning and Institutional Improvement Staff
I don’t recall how long we were in the Union Building — maybe one or two years at the most, but our next stop was the Administration Building more often referred to as the AO Building. We often heard stories that there were plans to move the administrative offices to a new building which would also be home to a hotel and conference center. But unfortunately the only administrative office to be moved was the President’s Office. So I remained in the AO Building until the summer of 2015 when we moved into the new administration building — University Hall.
In 1985, I had the crazy idea that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom to my then 15-year-old daughter. After 18 months my husband said to me, “Don’t you think you should consider going back to work?” I was only away from IUPUI for about 18 months. I really couldn’t imagine working anywhere else but IUPUI, so I called my friend Shirley, and she happened to know someone who was looking for help. I returned to IUPUI taking a part-time position working for the Associate Dean of the Faculties Carol Nathan and her assistant, Kim Manlove. I was always grateful that they valued my contributions and made me feel like an integral part of their team.
It was the summer of 1992 when I was asked if I would be interested in applying for a full-time position. IUPUI had hired a new Vice Chancellor for Planning and Institutional Improvement, Trudy W. Banta. I remember Dean Plater stopping by my desk one day after I had been selected for the position, and he said with a mischievous smile, “Do you have any idea what you are getting into?” I must admit I was worried that I might be making a mistake and that I might have taken on more than I could handle. I must have done OK — I worked for Trudy for the next 24 years until her retirement, and I am still here!
And when I say that I am still here, I am busier and more challenged than ever because my new boss, Stephen Hundley, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor for Planning and Institutional Improvement, is an absolute dynamo and produces more work than you can imagine. He is also a lot of fun and cares deeply about his staff.
I have worked for IUPUI for nearly 45 years (this includes 6 years as part-time). As I have stated above, I have worked for and with some amazing people. But I do want to mention my current co-workers. In July 1992, it was Trudy, Karen Black, and me. Karen retired on January 31, 2018, so Karen and I worked together for 26 years. I always told her she was my personal counselor especially on financial matters. We also talked a lot about our families, our friends, and the Cubs. I already miss those conversations. On a day-to-day basis, Shirley Yorger and I keep each other sane and have each other’s backs. She is an amazing co-worker, and more important, a good friend. Michele Trent and I go back to 1990. She is consistently the sweetest and most fun loving person I know and a close friend. And last but not least, Angie Bergman keeps our office financially honest and responsible. She is one of the hardest workers I know and a true friend. They have nurtured, challenged, motivated, and befriended me in so many ways. I have tried to give back by being the best employee and friend I could possibly be. After all these years, I am still proud and honored to be working with such wonderful people.
IUPUI has been led by truly amazing chancellors, and I am proud to say that I have worked under the leadership of four of them--Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., Gerald L. Bepko, Charles R. Bantz, and now Nasser H. Paydar.
An event I will never forget:
In June of 2016 I was asked to make a presentation at Trudy Banta’s retirement event. I am not a polished or practiced public speaker. My initial thought was “This is scary, and I really should not be sharing the stage with so many distinguished speakers.” But Trudy wanted me to speak as I knew her day-to-day achievements and workload better than anyone. I knew I had to accept this assignment and do my best. Even though I was nervous when Stephen Hundley, the MC and now my boss, introduced me to the crowd of what seemed like 20,000 Trudy admirers (ok ... 200 + admirers), a sense of calm came over me. I focused my eyes on Trudy and her family, and I knew I would be OK. I delivered, believe it or not, a heartwarming, passionate, sometimes humorous, and above all, fitting tribute to the amazing Dr. Trudy Banta. Trudy was pleased, her family was pleased, and even my husband said, “You were terrific — great job.” I will always be thankful that I had this opportunity to share my admiration and love for Trudy. Without a doubt, she has been my greatest teacher and role model.
How has IUPUI changed me?
IUPUI has provided the opportunity for me to grow as a professional ... in other words to “fulfill my promise.” IUPUI’s “fulfilling the promise” campaign certainly applies to students but can also apply to faculty and staff. Fulfillment is difficult to define and achieve, but once you find fulfillment in your life you become a happy, confident and a forward-thinking employee, friend, and family member. In effect, this is what IUPUI promised me some 45 years ago ... the possibility of “fulfilling the promise” through challenging and very important work assignments. I am a stronger and more-focused person because of my IUPUI experience. Thanks to all of my mentors at IUPUI.
Story courtesy of:
Office of Planning and Institutional Improvement Staff