UW-Stout News Story

Employee's 35 years span typewriter age to computer age

November 25, 2013

When Jody Engeldinger thinks back to her first years on staff at University of Wisconsin-Stout, they must seem like the Dark Ages.

Starting as a limited-term employee in 1978 in the Center for Vocational, Technical and Adult Education, she worked with typewriters, ditto machines and cut and pasted materials for proposals. The computer age hadn't arrived.

Jody EngeldingerNow, 35 years later, Engeldinger is in her sixth job on campus.

She works at the Memorial Student Center, which wasn't built until 1985 and has been remodeled once. She helps process student payroll, oversees card key access to the building and helps with financial transactions and other administrative duties, all via computer.

The university has changed considerably since 1978, but Engeldinger has been a constant. She still commutes about 25 miles from her home near Elmwood.

Engeldinger and two other staff members were honored recently for 35 years of service to the university. The others were Linda Dahl, an associate in the psychology department; and Colleen Rogers, a senior accountant in the College of Management.

A Years of Service reception by the Office of University Advancement recognized employees, in five-year increments, who have worked at least 10 years.

Colleen Rogers, left, and Linda DahlMore than 70 employees were recognized, including Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen, who has been on campus for 25 years and is the longest-serving chancellor in the history of UW-Stout.

"I like being around people, so I couldn't have found a better place to work," said Engeldinger. "I've gained so many long-term friendships with students, staff and faculty over the years here at UW-Stout."

Engeldinger was in Planning and Information Management for much of the 1980s; Computing and Telecommunications from 1988 to 1995; the Dean of Students Office until 2004; and the Office of International Education until 2005, before beginning her current job.

She has helped with six-year planning reports, maintained databases, processed budgets, coordinated student disciplinary actions, overseen commencement exercises and helped with the process of recruiting and working with international students and providing study abroad opportunities.

"It's interesting how much easier things are with the computers and machines of today," Engeldinger said.

In the past year Engeldinger served on the committee for the student center's new memorial wall, which was dedicated in October to 40 men connected to UW-Stout who died while serving their country.

In 2010 she was named the university's Classified Employee of the Month. The award cited her "great service to everyone she helps, with patience, kindness and a smile on her face."

Her favorite part of working at UW-Stout is the reason the university exists. "I've always enjoyed working with students. That's been a real plus for me," she said.

One of those students over the years was her daughter, Heather, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees from UW-Stout and occasionally saw Mom on campus.

For the list of all employees recognized, click here.

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