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Tuesday, December 9, 2003

SU Bids Farewell to Seven Retirees at End of Fall Semester

SALISBURY, MD---Founders of a football team, a folklore archive and a symphony; the financial expert who helped see Salisbury University through three major budget crises and creatively finance most of the buildings on campus; a registrar who steadfastly advocates for students, making sure technology doesn’t replace personal concern; the campus’s “unofficial” historian who worked under six presidents and through four name changes; a dedicated librarian who brings both humor and expertise to research and has vastly improved reference holdings; and a nightshift supervisor in housekeeping who cares so much for his staff that he makes them dishes such as macaroni and cheese--all are retiring.  One has served the campus for some 40 years—more than half the life of the 78-year-old institution. Collectively they represent nearly 220 years of service.

They are: Terry Daenzer, reference librarian in Blackwell Library—15 years; Dr. Thomas Elliot, professor of music—19 years; Garland Savage of housekeeping—21 years; Dr. Polly Stewart, professor of English—30 years; Avery Saulsbury, registrar and associate vice president of academic services—30 years; Richard Pusey, vice president of administration and finance—30 years; Richard Yobst, associate vice president of Administration—34 years; and Sara M. Wilkins, program management specialist in the Registrar’s Office—40 years plus.

“Change is inevitable, yet all of us at Salisbury University will miss the staff and faculty who are retiring,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach.  “They have served many years and have contributed greatly to the growth and enhancement of our institution.  I wish each retiree good health and happiness in the years to come.”

Daenzer earned his Master of Public Health in biostatistics at the University of Michigan in 1968 and his Master of Library Science from Indiana University in 1987. Assistant head of reference, he has served as library liaison for several departments in the Perdue and Henson schools.  “Terry has kept us all going with his ability to make us laugh,” said Kathryn Kalmanson, head of reference.  “He did a wonderful job of bringing our business collection up to standards.  He brought much needed expertise in applied sciences and technology as well as the mathematical sciences.” 

 “He is invaluable, not only performing his duties superbly, but assuming additional responsibilities such as facilities manager,” said Dr. Alice Bahr, dean of libraries and instructional services. “He’s done such a great job he’s almost irreplaceable.”

Elliot made his mark on Salisbury a short time after he came to SU as chair of the Music Department. Working with members of the community and late University President Thomas E. Bellavance, Elliot became the founding director and conductor of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra in 1986. In the past two decades, he has shepherded its growth from 25 members to 63 today. During his tenure, the SSO has played venues as diverse as the beaches of Ocean City, the newly renovated Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover, DE, and Baltimore’s Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.  The orchestra has performed with such musicians as the Moody Blues, Anne Murray, Lorrie Morgan, Neil Sedaka and Gary Puckett. The Springfield, MA, native earned his Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and doctorate from Boston University. At SU, he also has served as director of the Jazz and Wind ensembles and founded and conducted the Youth and Collegiate Symphony Orchestra, an SSO affiliate.

Savage, a night shift supervisor, has overseen the cleaning of all campus buildings, but currently is responsible for Fulton Hall, and assisting in Caruthers Hall and Maggs PAC. According to his supervisor, Shirley Pinkett, he is extremely caring about his job and his staff, even fixing them meals.  He is famous in housekeeping for his macaroni and cheese, she said.  An avid plant lover, he is very active with St. Paul’s AME Church in Salisbury.  “Garland has been a credit to our department.  He will be missed,” said Pinkett.

Stewart, a native of Salt Lake City, UT, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. During her 30 years at SU, she served as acting vice president of academic affairs, acting chair of the English Department and chair of the Liberal Studies Program. She received SU’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 1994. In 1988 she was asked by Sylvia Bradley and Dr. Ray Thompson of the History Department to join what later became the Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture as a folklore specialist.  Last summer, she coordinated efforts to bring the Library of Congress’ National Folklife Field School to SU and the nearby community of Crisfield, marking the school’s first Maryland residency. Currently she is creating an archive of some 1,000 student ethnographic studies, the majority focused on Maryland folklore, for the Nabb Center, a farewell gift.

Stewart is also one of the original faculty advisors for the first support group for SU gay and lesbian students, and has been involved in faculty, staff and community organizations for gays and lesbians.

Saulsbury, an SU alumnus (’65), with his Master of Science from Morgan State University, became associate registrar in 1974, then registrar in 1982. As the University has grown he has overseen the Registrar’s Office’s movement from manual recording to computerization to Web-based record keeping. Despite the high-tech progression, Saulsbury has not neglected the “high touch” needs of those he serves.  According to longtime colleague Jerry Waldron, SU’s chief information officer, “Avery’s strength is working with parents and students, deans and chairs one-on-one. He has shepherded the enrollment management process, making sure the rights seats and classes were there for students,” a factor in the University’s high graduation rates. 

“I’m in it for the student,” said Saulsbury. 

Saulsbury also “loves the art of the deal,” said Waldron, not just for himself but also for others.  Saulsbury has helped University presidents and deans on down get the best buys in everything from cars and stereo equipment to stocks and real estate.

Pusey came to SU in 1973, first working as an accounts payable manager. Three years later, he was promoted to comptroller and continued to assume greater levels of responsibility.  In 1997 he was appointed vice president of administration and finance, overseeing some 500 university employees and an operating budget which had grown from $16 million in 1973 to $92 million today. During his career he helped guide the University through three major budget crises, during the 1980s and 1990s as well as now. Despite these cycles, the campus has expanded steadily with the addition of more than two dozen buildings including Maggs Physical Activities Center, Guerrieri University Center, Fulton Hall, the Commons and Henson Science Hall as well as five residence halls. Acreage has grown to include East Campus. He was instrumental in developing University Park, a major affiliated student housing complex.  At the most recent meeting of the SU Foundation, which he has helped nurture and guide, community and academic leaders gave him a standing ovation in gratitude. He is recognized throughout the University System of Maryland as well as Maryland government as one of the most knowledgeable and skilled financial leaders in state service. 

Yobst has been a pillar of the SU community since his first position as assistant dean of students in 1969. His involvement in the athletic program began that year as coach of the track and golf teams. He became dean of men in 1970, just two years before going down in Sea Gull history as the football team’s first head coach. Moving into administrative services, he has had a tremendous impact on the physical appearance of the campus, which has won accolades.  He retires as associate vice president of administration.  Both in and outside of the University, Yobst has been recognized for his volunteer efforts, which included organizing a student group to assist in repairing damaged homes in Louisiana through Habitat International following Hurricane Andrew in 1994. The Wicomico County Rotary Club presented Yobst with its Unsung Hero of the Year Award for his involvement. Under his leadership the student chapter of Habitat for Humanity became the first campus group in the country to finance and build a house in a year.  He is also a founding member of the Sea Gull Century, one of the most popular bike rides east of the Mississippi, and Wicomico County’s largest one-day tourism event.

Wilkins, in the words of her boss, Saulsbury, is the “unofficial historian of the University. She knows where students have gone after they graduate, where they’re employed and who they married.” She started working February 19, 1963 as a switchboard operator under President Wilbur Devilbiss at STC (State Teachers College at Salisbury). There were 500 students and 50 faculty.  They and the staff could all fit comfortably into Holloway Hall Auditorium. 

She eventually moved to the Registrar’s Office and worked under six presidents (not counting interims), four name changes and two registrars--Dorothy Powell and Saulsbury. Her co-workers describe her as a pillar of the office.  Waldron recalls her tracking down faculty on Christmas Eve to make sure they had grades in on time.  “Sara cares about deadlines.  She takes it personally to provide students that important transcript for a job or grad school or whatever need.” 

“I enjoyed meeting the students,” she said.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.


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