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Kansas State University

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A love for campus life

Longtime employees adapt to ever-changing technology


When Cheryl Klingensmith, John Anneberg and Karen Gaskill started working for K-State, Lyndon B. Johnson was president, a letter cost a nickel to mail and a gallon of gas was under 30 cents.

In 41 years with K-State, they've worked under three presidents (James McCain, Duane Acker and Jon Wefald). A football stadium was constructed; Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy both spoke on campus; the Union was renovated; Nichols Gym burned and was rebuilt as Nichols Hall; and the campus swelled in population and size.

Klingensmith, Anneberg and Gaskill are classified employees who have been working for K-State since 1966. They agree that one of the biggest changes they've had to adapt to is the technological revolution that continues to sweep campus.

"Everything in my position went automated in 1995," said Gaskill, an accountant for the dean's office in the College of Agriculture. "These were big changes, but after three years, we started noticing how much more accurate and faster this made things."

Anneberg, a building operations employee with the K-State Student Union, remembers when Bosco Plaza was built, and because he used to work nights, the Nichols Gym fire of 1968 remains a vivid memory. He also has witnessed the change from public technology to private.

"There used to be two jukeboxes in the Union, one in Union Station and one in the food court," he said. "Now you just don't see something like that, but they were pretty popular when I started."

The number of public phones in the Union has also dropped considerably since now everyone uses cell phones, he said.

Klingensmith, an administrative specialist with the Southeast Area Extension Office, says that by far the biggest changes have to do with communications, "things like computers, copy machines, cell phones, BlackBerrys."

When she started working for the university, Klingensmith would make copies using a Roneo, which was a wax-stencil duplicating machine.

"If I overinked the cylinder, the machine would spew ink from the sides of the stencil, and it had an uncanny knack for targeting me," Klingensmith said. "I'd have to go home and change clothes."

Long-term employees are a vital part of the university, said Gary Leitnaker, assistant vice president for the Division of Human Resources.

"Employees who have been with the university for many years have a knowledge and understanding of their jobs that is very difficult to teach," he said. "They understand our culture, they love being around our students, and they contribute enormously to our mission and growth."

While they have had varying experiences and duties, one thing that these long-time employees can agree on is their favorite part of the job.

"It has to be the people," Klingensmith said. "You meet so many people here, and if I can make them happy, it makes me happy. I have a lot of friends on campus and I rely on their expertise and willingness to help me -- they've been really great through the years."

Anneberg concurs.

"I work closely with a lot of students and I really enjoy working with and supervising them," he said.

That enjoyment these employees experience at K-State is what has kept them working here for so long.

For Anneberg -- whose sister keeps asking him when he's going to retire -- the reason he stays is simple:

"I like it too much here."