She was recognized during a College of Arts & Sciences gathering on Aug. 13, as well as at a reception by her department later in the afternoon. “In recognition of 50 years of dedicated service to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the College of Arts & Sciences 1963-2013,” her plaque reads.
“I was completely surprised,” she said recently. The beautiful philodendron she received rests on her desk. It read, “You’re the best!”
Her connection to the university goes back further than 50 years. She is a proud member of the Woman’s College Class of ‘61. After graduating in chemistry, she worked at the Vick Chemical facility on Milton Street. When she was offered a position in the campus’ Chemistry Department in 1963, the college was becoming “UNCG.”
There are many constants in the department: Excellent teaching. Supportive people. Bright students. And she has seen lots of change: The growing emphasis decade after decade on impactful research – among the faculty and the students. And increasingly stellar-quality facilities and equipment.
As laboratory and stockroom manager, she orders and oversees supplies for the teaching labs. “I’ve known so many students – they’ve kept me young,” she said.
The years have passed quickly, she said. Outside her workspace on the fourth floor of Sullivan Science, a display case holds historic artifacts from the Chemistry & Biochemistry program’s time on the third floor of Petty Building. She pointed out items. “This wash bottle was Ms. Schaefer’s,” she explained, pointing to an item containing water. Florence Schaefer, who joined the Chemistry Department in 1922 and succeeded Mary Petty as department head, hired her in 1963.
Dr. Patricia Reggio, department head the last nine years, recently explained how they’d kept the departmental reception a secret from her. “She was very surprised when she exited the elevator,” she said. A large crowd was on hand. “Dean Tim Johnston. All of the Chemistry faculty and staff. Retired faculty came back for the event. We also had graduate students and post-docs attending as well.”
A recognition of 50 years. And more.
Walk through the fourth floor of Sullivan Science Building to see the historic UNCG Chemistry display and to see the display of group Chemistry & Biochemistry Department photos in “As Time Goes By.”
By Mike Harris