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Updated 11:45 PM January 7, 2005




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University honors employees for decades of service

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Service Awards: 30 years of service>
Service Awards: 20 years of service>
Service Awards: 10 years of service>

Many employees were recognized this year for serving the University for several decades, including one employee who reached the half-century mark.

The University's development and growth have depended upon the contributions made by staff members. It is said that the success of an organization can be measured in part by the effectiveness of the personnel who choose to remain and grow with it.

Short biographies of some of the 50-, 45- and 40-year employees follow, along with a list of 30- and 20-year service awardees. A list of 10-year employees can be found at

50 years of service

Reta Teachout, administrative associate I, Civil and Environmental Engineering

At age 18, fresh out of a year at Cleary College, Reta Teachout was hired to assist in room scheduling, time-schedule preparation and registration for the College of Engineering. And for the past 50 years, she has "done it all" when it comes to secretarial and administrative work.

"Undergraduate secretary, graduate secretary, 'unofficial office manager,' assistant to the department chair—I've been just about everything through the years," Teachout says. "Now my responsibilities are human resources and graduate secretarial work. With that focus, I enjoy work more now than ever."

Teachout has experienced many changes during her career: a move from West Engineering to GG Brown, going from a manual typewriter to e-mail, seeing students become faculty and then retire. Through it all, she's had fun learning new things and meeting new people.

Teachout lives on her family's farm in Gregory. She enjoys spending time with her brothers, sisters, and 21 nieces and nephews, as well as "visits" from deer and other wild animals. Despite living with Parkinson's disease, Teachout plans to work as long as possible and "just go along as I go along."

40 years of service

Fred M. Adams, animal technician, Lab Animal Medicine Unit

It may seem surprising that Fred M. Adams has no pets at home. But after working with them all day as an animal technician at the Lab Animal Medicine Unit, he needs a break from caring for four-legged friends.

"I'm not really an animal person when I'm off work," Adams says with a laugh.

While he's at work, though, Adams says he and colleagues do an excellent job of caring for animals. "The labs are very professional, and we treat them really well," he says.

Adams began 40 years ago with a job in the brain research unit, then a position in drug research at Pharmacology. In his current job, he oversees the animals' health and writes medical reports for veterinarians. He has worked there for 15 years.

The longtime Ann Arbor resident plans to retire soon. He then will live in Jamaica for six months, then return to the area and continue to travel.

Jack Briggs, retired, electronics technician, Kresge Hearing Research Institute

When Jack Briggs began at the University, he worked with weather rockets in
U-M's space program. During his 40 years, he has held only that job and the one from which he recently retired: an electronics technician at Kresge, which is part of the Medical School's Department of Otolaryngology.

In the Kresge job, he built and serviced equipment for researchers, including electronic scopes and other materials for those studying auditory physiology. "I worked with a good bunch of people and enjoyed my time at U-M," he says.

Many changes in technology occurred during his four decades, he says, "from the vacuum tubes to the integrated circuits." A constant refrain in his work was the goal of keeping up with the new technology, he says.

In retirement, the Manchester resident enjoys traveling.

Elaine Burkhardt, clinical nurse I, Chelsea Family Practice Center

A 1964 graduate of the School of Nursing, Elaine Burkhardt remembers when the University Hospital had only eight intensive care beds. Today there are more than 160. Her first job was as a staff nurse on a Med/Surg floor of the original hospital, razed in 1986 to build the present Health System complex.

In 40 years of working at the University, Burkhardt has held avariety of jobs—from staff nurse to head nurse to surgery coordinator, in medicine, surgery, rehabilitation, obstetrics, kidney transplantation and family practice.

She now works closely with Dr. Jose Soriano, a general surgeon at the Chelsea Family Practice Center.

"One of the nice things about working for the University," she says, "is the ability to change jobs, move on, and do and try different things and still be able to keep your seniority and benefits. But the absolute best thing has been working with patients and their families and being able to help them get better and move on with their lives."

Karen Dickinson, relationship manager, ITCS

Karen Dickinson always has been fascinated by how people work together to accomplish tasks, especially when it comes to information technology.

She began her U-M career as a statistical clerk in the Population Studies Center, where she first encountered computers, beginning with card sorters.

In her current role as relationship manager for Information Technology Central Services, Dickinson promotes collaboration on campus-wide initiatives and acts as liaison to nine academic units. She also works with the Commission for Women, helping staff women take charge of their workplace satisfaction.

With two children to visit in Chicago and one in the Ann Arbor area (along with two grandchildren), Dickinson's life is busy outside of work. She looks forward to working at U-M for the next five years, and then finding intriguing challenges to take her into retirement.

Paulette Dozier, office manager, Surgical Transcription

Paulette Dozier was still in high school when she began her long run as a University employee. She worked at the kitchen in the Old Main Hospital, setting up trays of food based on what the patients had ordered.

From there, she moved to Medical Information, Human Genetics,Finance, admitting at Mott Hospital and admitting at University Hospital.

Now she is office manager for Surgical Pathology Transcription. She and her staff members prepare biopsy and autopsy reports, obtain signed death certificates, maintain slides and blocks, and handle all patient inquiries concerning surgical reports.

"It's been very rewarding," she says of her 40 years at U-M. "I've learned a lot about different cultures, and I've had a lot of good people teaching and mentoring me. I couldn't have gotten this kind of a variety of experience anywhere else."

She also has gotten to know many people through her varied jobs, and she often stops in the hall to talk with them. "I have a friend who said, 'I won't walk down the hall with you anymore because we'll never get where we're going,'" she says with a laugh.

Karen L. Dymond, office manager, ITCS

In 40 years of working in computing environments, Karen L. Dymond says she has seen incredible transformations, from the shift from data stored on reams of keypunched cards and mainframe computers bigger than some people's houses to wireless Internet access and palm-sized pocket computers.

Dymond came to the University in 1964 as a keypunch operator responsible for data entry and billing at University Hospital. She later joined the staff at the Computing Center (now Information Technology Central Services) and has stayed there for 30 years—transitioning from keypunch operator to supervisor to manager of office operations.

She credits mathematics professor and emeritus director of the Computing Center Robert C.F. Bartels as having been a significant mentor to her, personally and professionally. "He had the ability to be in touch with everyone and was a very accessible and reachable person who always made time for other people," she says.

An avid football fan and doll collector, Dymond says she plans to work until she's 65, after which she hopes to stay active and spend part of each year in Golf Shores, Ala., in the condo she and her husband own.

Karen Erridge, accountant, Financial Services, U-M-Dearborn

Born in Ann Arbor, Karen Erridge graduated from Ann Arbor High School. Her first job at the University was in Sponsored Research Accounting, after which she held positions in Accounting and Payroll. In 1974, she transferred to the Dearborn campus Accounting Office, then located in the basement of the Henry Ford Estate, next to the mansion's in-house bowling alley.

In 1977 she helped open the Dearborn Student Accounting Office, where she served as office manager until 2001, when she transferred to the Financial Services Office. In August 2004 she was awarded a Long Term Achievement Award by the Chancellor's Staff Recognition Committee.

"One of the best things about working at a smaller campus," Erridge says, "is that you know most of your coworkers. I have met so many people during my 40 years here. Some have become like family and I know we will remain friends forever."

Erridge plans to retire Dec. 31 and looks forward to traveling and finding fun places to visit, including, she hopes, a bar in Indiana that serves 10-pound hamburgers.

Cora A. Horgrow, nursing assistant, Women's Birth Center

Cora Horgrow was born in Memphis, Tenn. She and her husband came to Ann Arbor in 1961. After working six months as a temporary employee, Horgrow's "permanent employment" began Nov. 4, 1964, at 8 North of the Old Hospital. She earned $1.56 an hour.

In the 1970s, Horgrow transferred to the main recovery room. In 1990, at the suggestion of fellow 40-year employee Elaine Berghardt, she moved to her current position in the Women's Birth Center.

"I love my job because it's so rewarding to see the expression of a mom and dad when they see their baby come into the world," Horgrow says. "And the people I work with are a blessing. In 2000, my coworkers built a ramp at my house so I could more easily care for my sick husband during the last few months of his life."

Family and faith are an important part of Horgrow's life. Her future plans are to enjoy time with her sons and seven grandchildren, remain active in her church, St. Paul Missionary Baptist, and continue working at the hospital as long as she is able.

Cathy (Adele) Martinez, senior clinical technologist, UMHS Hematology

Cathy (Adele) Martinez was born in Texas and moved with her family to Mexico when she was 5. She returned to Texas for high school, and received her bachelor of science in medical technology at Michigan Tech.

Following an internship at Harper Hospital in Detroit in 1964, Martinez joined the University hospital as a med tech in the pediatric hematology lab, which was on the 10th floor of Old Main hospital. She was promoted to supervisor, and after a number of years she became a senior clinical technologist in the hematology lab, doing routine hematology in her main area of responsibility, bone marrow and cytochemical stains.

Recently Martinez has alternated between supervising the bone marrow area and working in the flow cytometry lab. She says meeting patients is one of the most rewarding aspects of her career.

Martinez is active in her church, and enjoys gardening, walking her dog Frannie, and socializing with friends and family.

Rose A. Mitchell, partially retired, nurse, UMHS thoracic/neurology

It did not take Rose Mitchell long to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up.

"While attending high school, I became a member of the future nurses club," she says. "I realized that I was able to understand what other people needed in times of stress and sickness."

Mitchell came to U-M in 1964 to work on 8E of "The Old Main." After floating in different areas of the hospital, she settled on thoracic. While there, she helped care for the first heart transplant patient.

"His wish was to live long enough to see his daughter graduate from high school," she recalls. "I remember thinking how brave he was."

Mitchell is partially retired, and helps care for her 6-month-old grandson, Elliot. She still works the night shift every weekend. "I like to say I took good care of the patients and the University took good care of me," Mitchell says.

Laurie Staples, deceased, former assistant director of SRC

Laurie Staples died at home June 6 of liver and pancreatic cancer. She was 60.

Staples received her bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University and her master's from Central Michigan University. She began her career at U-M as an entry-level clerk in the admitting office at the University Hospital. From 1964-89, she held a series of administrative positions in Hospital Financial Operations and Ambulatory Care Services Administration at the Medical Center.

She served for the last 15 years as assistant director of the Survey Research Center, the largest center in the Institute for Social Research (ISR). In 2002, she was awarded the Distinguished Research Administrative Award by the Office of the Vice President for Research for "exceptional and distinguished service, leadership and accomplishment."

ISR friends and colleagues gathered in the spring for a standing-room-only celebration of her career, during which many praised her humor, style, organizational savvy and fierce loyalty to the organization.

Caroline Waterbury, medical transcriptionist, UMHS Radiology

Caroline Waterbury joined the University Hospital workforce in 1964 when she began in Registration and shortly afterward worked as float secretary in the Outpatient Clinics. She later transferred to secretary for the GI Division, and then moved on to the Pulmonary Medicine Division.

After a six-month hiatus following the birth of her son in 1972, Waterbury returned to work part time in the Radiology Department until he went to school. She then returned to full-time employment as Radiology file room supervisor.

Waterbury also worked in Pediatric Orthopedics and as a supervisor in Pediatric Radiology. In her current position as radiology transcriptionist, she gets the most satisfaction from taking on new responsibilities and finding solutions to problems.

Outside of work, Waterbury is active in the Odd Fellows and the Rebekah Assembly of Michigan, and she enjoys traveling throughout North America representing her unit.

Several awardees could not be reached or declined to be featured. They are: 45 years: Sharon C. Bauerle, Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering; and George E. Latimer, Astronomy, LSA; 40 years: Darlene K. Breitner, International Institute, LSA; Marcia J. Brosnan, Pathology, U-M Health System; Jeannette R. East, Undergraduate Education, LSA; Dixie L. Farquharson, Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning; Jean A. Hutchins, Internal Medicine Department, Medical School; Jagdish C. Janveja, Project Management, Plant Extension Office; Vicki M. Jarvis, School of Natural Resources & Environment; Michael T. Karas, Movers Department, Plant Operations; Gregory A. Marks, Merit Network, Information Technology Central Services; and Jean B. Schneider, Purchasing and Stores.

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