Department Assistants

 Well into the 1970's, the mathematics department relied on college secretarial pools and student help to handle the office tasks that are essential to running an academic department. When the Block Plan took over in 1970, there was more and more pressure for faster response for typing and mimeographing classroom materials; with only three and a half weeks per course, there was little time to spare.

The college responded to the needs of mathematics in 1974 by hiring Georgia Moen as the secretary for Mathematics and Sociology. These two departments were situated at the east end of Palmer Hall on the first and basement floors respectively; different floors made the situation awkward, but feasible. Moen was set up in an office (Palmer 22C) carved out of the Political Science area on the basement floor. In 1980, her office was moved upstairs (to Palmer 137) into the middle of existing mathematics offices, but she still served Sociology as well. Moen left the department in 1983 after getting married, and later in 1986 returned to the college as secretary of the Leisure Program, then Worner Desk coordinator (in the student union).

ICarolen 1983, Carole Mills became the new secretary for Mathematics and Sociology. This was the time when personal computers were making an appearance on campus. Slowly they made their way into the everyday production of mathematical text, and Mills followed the evolution becoming comfortable with word processing, laser printers, and FAX machines.

Finally in 1989, Sociology hired their own secretary and Carole Mills became the first full-fledged secretary of the Mathematics Department. In addition to the basic office demands, her coordination of lunches, special events, birthdays, etc. gave a somewhat disordered set of mathematicians the necessary group structure to become an effective academic department. The entire department was devastated in early 2008 when Mills died from cancer.





Luckily, a college search found a worthy replacement in Marita Beckert who joined the department in the fall of 2007. She had experience working for an electronics company and was quite willing to switch from engineers to often clueless academics. Quickly, she learned the ropes and became an integral part of the department - ordering the correct chalk and pens, reminding each of the professors about pending meetings, finding rooms for classes, and constructing endless spreadsheets. Order was regained.



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