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Back To On Campus Home December 15, 2005 Volume 32, Issue 4 Home

STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Route 66;
Chance encounter leads to marriage, six decades of combined service to UT

Laurissa Worley met her future husband when she nearly ran him over with her car in a UT parking lot in 1975.

Randy and Laurissa Worley wedding photo Randy and Laurissa Worley wedding photo. The couple is retiring at the end of January after a combined 66 years of service at the Physical Plant.

“I was late for work, so I came speeding around the corner, and he was in my way. It all just kind of happened from that,” she recalls with a laugh, noting that Randy Worley escaped the incident unharmed.

This chance encounter made a lasting impression, much the way the Worleys’ combined 66 years of service at the Physical Plant have left an enduring mark on friends and colleagues at UT Austin. The couple is retiring at the end of January.

“If someone has truly made their mark, as Randy and Laurissa have, you’re gonna feel their departure,” said C.J. Wiles, associate director of planning and construction for the Physical Plant. “But, the campus will have their mark — what they have left in the physical and the personal contributions.”

During her 34 years in the Division of Locks and Keys, Laurissa worked her way from a clerical job to head of the department. Similarly, Randy — whose father was an electrical engineer on campus — advanced throughout his career. He began working as a welder in the Physical Plant at age 16 while still in high school, and is now a technical trades supervisor for planning and construction.

“One of my favorite things is that we’ve done everything from burying a dead horse at Paisano Ranch to hanging a chandelier in the capitol,” Randy said.

He also enjoys the creative aspects of his work, which have involved such projects as designing the metal framework for “The Longhorn,” a 2,800-pound bronze statue north of the Frank Erwin Center. Worley once re-welded the horns of the steer, which was sculpted in 1983 by Duke Sundt, after an attempted Aggie vandalism.

In 1993 Randy used his creativity and technical skills to design and build Boovo, the pumpkin-shaped steer’s head that serves as an entryway for Longhorn Halloween (an event that provides a safe environment for children in the UT community to celebrate Halloween). Boovo breathes smoke and booms with sound effects from “King Kong.”

Randy and Laurissa Worley Randy and Laurissa Worley pose in front of ‘The Longhorn,’ a 2,800-pound bronze stature near the Frank Erwin Center. Randy helped design the metal framwork for the statue and once re-welded the horns of the steer after an attempted Aggie vandalism. The statue also is near the Alumni Center, where the Worleys were married more than 20 years ago. -Photo by Christina Murrey.

Even though Longhorn Halloween takes place on a Sunday, Randy volunteers his time to man Boovo, missing only one Sunday since the event’s inception. He plans to continue this tradition after he retires. This year he even went to Longhorn Halloween on his 29th wedding anniversary.

“Boovo is something that really adds to the magic of the day for the children,” said Susan Clagett, associate vice president for the Office of Relationship Management and University Events. “The Worleys have such good hearts, they’ve never been here because they work here. They’ve been here because they care. That’s why they’ve done what they’ve done, and that doesn’t just leave at the end of January.”

When they do leave UT, “we’re just going to wing it for a while,” Laurissa said, adding that the couple hopes to take up paragliding and get back into their loves of cycling and water sports.

In addition to taking on projects at their home and on their 13 acres of land in the hill country of Kingsland, they plan to travel to Los Angeles in April and May. There they will see their daughter, Lee, a classical musician and UT alumna, receive her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

To suggest a staff member for an On the Job profile, send an email to: utopa@www.utexas.edu