After almost 40 years of service to the University of Missouri and 34 years with CAFNR, Evelyn Lindell, administrative manager in CAFNR Business Services, has retired. During her tenure the College grew from a College of Agriculture to a multi-faceted organization encompassing fisheries and wildlife, forestry, atmospheric sciences, hospitality management, bio-engineering, biochemistry and partnerships with the life sciences. In 2009, Lindell was awarded the Frederick Mumford Award for Outstanding Staff.
Lindell grew up in Fort Morgan, Colo., and graduated from Fort Morgan High School in 1967 and the University of Northern Colorado in 1971 with a degree in Accounting. It was still difficult for a woman to get a professional position at that time, she said, so her first job out of college was as a receptionist for a mobile home manufacturer.
We took a moment to sit down with Evelyn before she heads for retirement to ask what was it like to be with CAFNR during those years.
QUESTION: What brought you to CAFNR?
ANSWER: My husband was transferred to Columbia in 1974 to the State Farm Insurance regional office. On Jan. 3, 1975, I started at the University of Missouri as a Sr. Clerk Typist in Human Resources.
I held four other positions during the next several years until the assistant manager position in the College of Agriculture opened. I spent six years in that position. Roger Mitchell was dean at that time and asked me to become the administrative manager. I was hesitant since my children were young, but Dean Mitchell told me I could work whatever hours I wanted. I agreed and worked from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. until Brian [my son] was a senior in high school.
Q: What was your greatest challenge and how did you solve it?
A: Having the confidence to do the job. It was scary to think I was advising the Deans on budgets, policy, etc. Previously, I had a buffer between me and the Deans who knew all of the guidelines and polices. Meeting deadlines and presenting a good image to the rest of the University was of great importance to the Deans and I was able to achieve that within the first year. Since that time, I believe the College has become a leader on campus of being on the cutting edge of technology and policies. This was not just because of me, but because the administration supported new innovations, and the great staff in CAFNR Business Services and others in the College.
Q: How has CAFNR changed?
A: When I began, the fiscal office wasn’t a separate office. We answered the phones “Ag Dean’s Office.” We have added one position to CAFNR Business Services in the last 28 years. The workload has probably more than doubled, but the staff keeps up to date with technology and takes the additional work in stride.
Q: What is your fondest memory of CAFNR?
A: My fondest memories are of Dean Mitchell and Associate Dean William Pfander. They had faith in me to do the job and provided me with great support. Dean Mitchell, always the gentleman, had the confidence in me to do the job. Dean Pfander, also supportive, was pretty matter of fact. In the middle of my annual review one year the electricity went off. And in the Ag Building that means it was DARK! He asked if I wanted to complete the review or wait until the lights went back on. We went on with the review!
My other great memories are of hiring Debbie Mitchell. We worked together for 28 years. I could not have asked for a better partner and personal friend.
Another fond memory was Dean Mitchell making sure that during the year-end closing, the busiest, most important fiscal/budget time of the year, that I could be off on my daughter Tia’s birthday at the end of June.
Other fond memories? Got to kiss a pig at the CAFNR staff picnic. That may have been a setup by a certain Dean. Got to go for an unplanned swim, compliments of that same Dean. Also had an Elvis sighting in the company of said Dean.
CAFNR is the best place on campus to work. Always caring about the employees, and providing the necessary tools and incentives for a job well done.