DDCE Honors Staff Members Recognized for Years of Service at UT
At the DDCE all-division staff meeting, seven staff members were recognized for their service to The University of Texas at Austin. Because we are so spread out across campus, sometimes it is difficult to get to know other staff members. So we did the hard work for you--we queried these six long-term employees about their work on campus and here’s what we found out.
Yolanda Aldaco – 15 Years
Yolanda Aldaco began working at Central Duplicating as a mail clerk. Since then she has worked for the University Outreach Center (UOC), College of Education, Mechanical Engineering, for the vice president for Community and School Relations, and currently as senior administrative associate in the DDCE Chief of Staff Office. Yolanda has fond memories of working at the UOC, and still feels like that department is her “home away from home.”
Glen Baumgart – 10 Years
Glen Baumgart says he has a thousand memorable events and days since he began working at the university 10 years ago. He started working for UT in the University Volunteer Center. “My office was in the Student Organization Center, where all the student group cubicles are, and I was the only employee in that office,” said Glen. Today, the unit is the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, and employs seven full-time staff members and two graduate assistants.
One of the most memorable happenings occurred when Glen was an advisor for one of the major lecture series programs on campus. He explains what happened.
“That year we picked a little known documentary director to come talk about films. His name was Michel Moore. We were worried that few would come out to see him and created this elaborate marketing scheme to get rid of 1000 tickets for the speech at the LBJ auditorium. On a Monday, the tickets and an all campus e-mail announcing the speech was ready to go out under my name with my e-mail address. That Sunday night before, Moore won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine and gave his now famous, ‘Shame on you Mr. Bush, shame on you!’ acceptance speech. The tickets were gone in a second, and by Monday afternoon, my e-mail and phone mail were maxed out with hate messages and love notes from all across the political spectrum. I had notes from the left accusing me of running a right-wing conspiracy of holding the event in such a small venue to keep the ‘brilliant mind’ censored from the public, and I had to take a call via the President’s office from a 5-star retired Army general and UT alum who was so angry that UT was becoming such a liberal place to bring in such a jerk. I talked with him for hours. In three days we had to move the event from LBJ to Gregory, give out 4,000 more tickets, and set up security, VIP sessions, and press credentials. It was quite a week. I still have a list of all those e-mails.”
Glen continued the story, “The funniest part about that story is that Michael Moore was a really shy guy who was shocked by all the attention. We were back stage with him and he was very nervous and humbled by the experience. We were back there peeking through the curtains, and he was just freaked out. It was strange to see the experience from his point of view.”
Another one of Glen’s best days on the job was the first Project service event in February 1999. Glen says, “The event was called ‘Project 1000’ because we had this outrageous goal of getting 1,000 students to volunteer in one day. We set up the event in the Rosewood neighborhood. On the day of the event, over 2,000 students showed up. As we stood watching the crowds of students, one of the community folks asked me, ‘is there anyone left on campus?’”
After that first event, the VSLC started calling the event “Project 2000, Project 2001, and so on” to show the year, but also to indicate the number of volunteers. “We just had Project 2009, the tenth year which included the Clinton Global Initiative, and Clinton gave some great remarks about those ten years,” reports Glen. “Back then it was an experiment. Today we’ve have 10 events involving over 18000 volunteers committing over 54,000 hour of service. Through that event, we’ve painted over 50 homes, cleaned over 30 parks, planted over 500 trees, completed landscaping, painting and other work at seven schools.”
Brenda Cerda – 15 Years
Brenda Cerda has been with the University Interscholastic League for 15 years. She started as a senior office associate in the athletic department and currently is an administrative associate in the accounting department. Brenda’s favorite part of her job is getting to know all of the school secretaries, teachers, and coaches who work for Texas schools. One of the “perks” of her job is all of the appreciation expressed by the staff at schools land districts across the state.
Richard Floyd – 25 Years
Richard Floyd is presently in his 47th year of active involvement as a conductor, music educator, and administrator. The past 25 years have been at the university. He began working at UT in January, 1984, as UIL state director of music, a post he still holds. Floyd explains, “During the first 5 years or so, it was a dual appointment between UIL and the School of Music. During that time I did have some professorial duties in Music but gradually had to relinquish those as my UIL duties expanded.”
Floyd has enjoyed a distinguished career at virtually every level of wind band performance from beginning band programs through high school and university wind ensembles as well as adult community bands. As UIL state director of music, he coordinates all facets of secondary school music competition for some 3,500 performing organizations throughout Texas and approximately a half million students. He also holds the post of Musical Director of the Austin Symphonic Band which is viewed to be one of the premier adult concert bands in America.
Bonnie Northcutt – 35 Years
Bonnie Northcutt is one of the few individuals who have stayed with the same organization for 35 years! She began working at the University Interscholastic League in 1972 as an administrative clerk, and worked her way up through the ranks. She is now assistant policy director. And she has had the pleasure of draping a state championship medal around her daughter’s neck after winning a UIL competition—which ranks as one of her favorite moments on the job.
Bonnie has also had the opportunity to meet many memorable UT athletes throughout her years at the university. Bonnie said as she reminisced, “ I remember when Earl Campbell sat by me for several hours while high school kids warmed up on UT track. He signed autographs and was so gracious to them.”
She also remembers the excitement when Johnny Lam Jones made up an unbelievable distance to win relay for Lampasas High School. She described the moment, “A distinguished and staid UT faculty member, who was draping medals, screamed and pounded me on the back. Men and women had tears running down their cheeks. We estimated that there were an extra 5,000 people in the stands at Memorial Stadium to watch Jones. His team was so far behind when he got the baton, and we were so sad for him, but then he pulled off an unbelievable feat and the crowd went crazy.”
Sherri Sanders – 20 Years
Dr. Sherri Sanders began working at UT in 1988 as the coordinator of fraternal education and assistant to the dean of students, a position which was created in response to findings from then President Cunningham’s Presidential Commission on Fraternities and Spirit Organizations. She stayed in the Dean of Students office (DOS) until 2007 when she became deputy to the vice president in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Sanders oversaw many areas while in DOS including Greek Life and Education, Services for Students with Disabilities, Legal Services for Students, and Student Emergency Services, to name a few. She also created and led a number of campus-wide teams and services including the Behavior Assessment Team, the Critical Incident Response Team, Behavior Concerns Advice Line, and the Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Team. Needless to say Sherri has received her fair share of middle-of-the-night emergency phone calls.
Sherri has many memorable experiences on campus including the day she received a thick envelope in the mail notifying her that she had received a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany. Another day she was called into the office of the vice president for student affairs because there were angry parents in his office who wanted to discuss a hazing incident. It turns out that instead there were a group of student leaders there to present an award to Sherri for outstanding contributions to student life.
Sherri also cherishes having “watched students and staff have a-ha moments during conversations that led to major changes within the institution or their personal growth; cheering students and staff on to graduation; and celebrating accomplishments of students while they are students and even after they become alumni.”
“But,” she says, “nothing in my career will ever exceed the impact that the Barbara Jordan Statue Project had on me personally,” said Sherri. “It was an incredible 7-year journey with so many different students as well as two presidents, two vice presidents for student affairs, one vice president for diversity and community engagement, and two artists. It is a project that continues to impact me every time I go by the statue and see people enjoying the space.”
Dijaira Smith – 15 Years
In her 15 years at the university, Dijaira Smith has worked her way up from an accounting technician to financial analyst. She began at the Phil M. Ferguson Engineering Laboratory and then worked in the Office of Accounting before joining the UIL team as financial director. Di not only manages UIL financial operations to ensure optimization of its budget, but is responsible for compliance and human resources activities. “My favorite part of the job is the job itself. Financial affairs is my passion,” said Di.
From left to right: Glen Baumgart, Yolanda Adaco, Dijaira Smith, Sherri Sanders, and Bonnie Northcutt.