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40 years of service

The University's development and growth have depended upon the contributions made by staff members. The success of the University and hospital can be measured in part by the effectiveness of the personnelthose men and women who have chosen to remain and grow with the University.

The following is a list of people who have worked at U-M for 40 years. (Photos by Paul Jaronski, U-M Photo Services)

Donald W. Boettner, Information Technology Central Services

Boettner says he was drawn to computers at an early age: In the winter semester of 1960, he took a computer course. He didn't realize at the time that it was a graduate-level course, and of the hundred or so people taking it, he was the only sophomore. But he did well and was offered a job with the Computing Center at the end of the semester.

He was a temporary student employee operator and was the only staff member on Monday nights. He began when computer code was punched on cards. He ran them through a special reader, printed output and operated the mainframe computer. Boettner became a regular employee after graduation. He has worked for the same unit during his entire time here, but the unit changed its name "as required by fashion and politics," he says: the Computing Center, then ITD, ITD Research Systems and ITCS.

Outside of work, he collects mystery/detective fiction, is a photographer and "hacks" at playing the classical organ. He has an Allen 2 manual and pedal AGO organ, and if he practices a piece long enough, he says he can play it badly but "usually I don't get that far."

James A. Conaway, Materiel Services, University Health System

Conaway began working at the old hospital as a custodian making $1.25 an hour, later moving on to other jobs, including a stint as a mover. He moved to the new hospital in later years, and currently works as a truck driver. His job with Materiel Services includes delivering food and supplies to places throughout campus.

Conaway first came to the University when he left the Marines. He intended to work here for a short time, then move to California. "I never made it out there," he says.

He lives with his wife and son in Ann Arbor. Outside of work, he put up drywall and did other work on the new building for the Christian Faith Full Gospel Church in Ypsilanti. The parishioners have been in the church since June. Every time he goes into the church, he says, he loves looking up at the pine ceiling and knowing that he had a part in creating the building.


Sally A. Cushing, University Musical Society

Cushing began her U-M career at University Hospital. Fresh out of Cleary College with an associate's degree, she worked as a medical secretary for the chairman of the department of internal medicine. She worked four years for the directors of the pediatric rehabilitation unit after that, then returned to internal medicine for another year.

In 1968, she moved to the University Musical Society, and she has spent the last 34 years in the world of the arts. She had not been trained as a musician but quickly learned to love classical music, jazz, theater and dance. She has met some of the most prominent musicians and dancers of the 20th century from Vladimir Horowitz to Winton Marsalis to Dame Margot Fonteyn. She has traveled to Egypt and England as part of her job. One of the best parts of her job has been introducing students to the wonders of the arts, she says. She has seen generations of ticket buyers; patrons who bought tickets as students now have children who are U-M students and are buying tickets of their own.

Cushing also has seen the Musical Society grow from a five-person staff presenting 30 concerts a year to an organization with more than 40 employees (not including interns and work study students), and more than 70 events a year.

Karen M. Donahue, Survey Research Center, ISR

Donahue came to the University fresh out of Stautzenberger's Business College in Toledo to work in the Accounting Department as an audit clerk at the University Hospital. She was 18, a self-described "country girl" from Sand Creek, Mich., and she was overwhelmed by the red, blue and green lines on the floor that were used to keep people from getting lost at the old hospital and its attached buildings.

She later worked at the Institute for Social Research (ISR), the Psychology Department and back to ISR. She is a project administrator and has worked on the Monitoring the Future study since 1977. She serves as a coordinator of data collection activities and supervises data collection staff across the nation who work with the study. One of her daughters also works at ISR.

Donahue is raising a teenage grandson, who is "the apple of my eye (most of the time)," she says. She loves the theater, flower gardens, needlepoint and her cats.

L. V. Allen, Women’s Hospital, University Health System
Allen declined to provide a photograph or biographical information.

Charles F. Engle, Information Technology Central Services

As a graduate student, Engle took a computer programming course in the early 1960s, which led to a job at the Computing Center. He received a degree in 1966 and was offered a regular appointment at the Computing Center the following spring. He has worked for the center ever since, through a series of name changes.

Engle has worked on the Michigan Terminal System (MTS), along with Donald Boettner and Scott Gerstenberger, two other 40-year honorees. In connection with MTS, he worked on a project that did the state-wide vote tabulation for the news media during three election years in the early 1970s. Through the Computing Center, he served in various positions with the Amdahl Users Group.

He met his wife at the University. The younger of their two daughters started graduate work in the School of Information this fall.

W. Scott Gerstenberger, Merit Network, ITCS

Gerstenberger's first job at the University was as an engineer working on radar systems at the Willow Run Labs. He became increasingly interested in computing, and, while working on his master's degree, took every course the University offered in computing"which wasn't very many in those days," he says.

He is proud to have been part of the "exceptional team" that developed the Michigan Terminal System (MTS) over a 15­20 year period beginning in the late 1960s. His work was at the Computing Center, as it was called then, and through his years with the Merit Network.

Gerstenberger says it is fun to remember his early working days fresh out of college, especially as he and his wife watch their youngest daughter begin her own college career at the University of Cincinnati this fall.

Mara E. Markovs, Pediatrics & Communicable Diseases, UMHS

Markovs first worked as a research assistant for Dr. Walter Block when she began at the University in 1962. She moved on to other research assistant jobs and positions as a chief clinical technician. Initially, she thought she would stay at the University for two or three years.

During her time in the field, Markovs has witnessed the changing of some areas of technology, but she said a surprising amount of it has stayed the same. She has worked on testing for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

One year after she began working for the University, she began living with a new roommate; 39 years later, they are still living together. Markovs' hobbies include gardening and caring for her three yellow Labs.

Carol W. Van Dyke, Office of Financial Aid, Academic & Educational Affairs

In her 40-year career, Van Dyke has worked for one dean of the School of Social Work, two presidents, two vice presidents for student affairs, two assistants to the president and chairs of the Commission for Women, the deputy director and director of the Center for Research on Economic Development, and four directors of financial aid. That adds up to six jobs and 13 bosses.

She remembers when then-President Harlan Hatcher escorted U Thant, secretary-general of the United Nations, for an honors convocation and stopped to introduce him to Van Dyke, then a secretary in the office. She also spent time with astronaut Edward White and his wife during their visit to campus in 1965. She was a babysitter for the White children when they lived in Ann Arbor.

Van Dyke has retired and plans a relaxing life without an alarm clock, and with time for her hobbies, including the theater, reading, traveling and volunteer work.

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