Two Celebrating 50 Years Top List of Service Award Honorees

The University recognized 266 faculty and staff members on Nov. 20 for a combined 2,250 years of service to UT Dallas. For the first time, the honorees included employees who have worked on campus for half a century.

The Annual Service Awards presentation honored employees who had reached service milestones of five, 10, 20, 30 and 50 years during the previous fiscal year. The University has presented more than 5,760 service awards since the event’s inception 28 years ago.

In presenting the honorees with their awards, President David E. Daniel spoke about the importance of experience to an institution’s culture. “The culture is carried forward by those who have been with us for some period of time,” he told the honorees. “You have a level of appreciation — because of your experience — and importance, because in a sense, you define who the University is and what kind of university we are. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am and how proud I am to call you all my colleagues.”

For the second year, employees who had achieved 25 years of service at UT Dallas were inducted into the Quarter Century Club at a special luncheon.

Ron Lippincott celebrated 50 years at the University.

Celebrating 50 Years

The crowd gave a standing ovation when Ron Lippincott and Dr. Wolfgang Rindler were both recognized for half a century of service.  When they first arrived 50 years ago, the campus housed the precursor to UT Dallas, the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest (GRCSW).

Lippincott, program manager for Space Sciences, started as an instrument engineer, building devices for rockets and traveling to South America, Asia and Europe to watch the launches.

“Looking back, I would say it was kind of casual the way we did things,” he said. “If people had a good idea, they built an instrument, and if NASA or the Department of Defense was interested, we would fly it and get the results. Today, you have to do a lot more documentation before you fly to prove that it’s going to work, that it’s going to solve problems, that the results will be valuable — justifying it every step of the way.”

Lippincott said it was difficult to believe it has been 50 years since he first began his career here. He said when he asks himself, “How in the world did I end up staying in the same place for so long?” he credits Dr. Rod Heelis, current director of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, and Bill Hanson, Heelis’ now-deceased predecessor for whom the center is named.

“They have been my bosses all this time, and they’ve made it pleasant,” Lippincott said. “It’s been a fun job. That’s the reason I’ve stayed. It’s been interesting and fun, and it has varied a lot. Even though we’ve done many projects, each one somehow ends up being different. I’ve met a lot of interesting people and worked with a lot of good people.”

Rindler, a physics professor, said he never imagined that the GRCSW would become what it is today.

“With just a single building on campus [Founders] it was very hard to guess what would happen next,” he said. “Luckily, some very brave people had ambitious plans and the energy to make them real.”

Rindler said he feels lucky to have experienced the “incredibly satisfying metamorphosis into the beautiful and highly respected university” that UT Dallas is today.    

One of his most memorable moments was spending time with his colleagues at his recent retirement party and learning of their affection and appreciation for him.

“I loved teaching,” Rindler said. “I feel very comfortable and stimulated in the company of my faculty colleagues. I love the beauty of our new campus. UTD has been, and still is, my home away from home.”

Click here for a list of all of the Service Award recipients.

Thoughts on the University’s Changes and Growth from 30-Year Employees:

“I didn’t imagine UT Dallas would grow so much in size, and as beautiful as President Daniel has made it, but I knew we would become the premier school in the D-FW area. UT Dallas has grown in reputation, too. What I think is most relevant is that we have been able to maintain an ‘academics first’ attitude among our students.”
– Dr. Ram Rao,
Founders Professor and professor of marketing

Vice President Darrelene Rachavong gets a hug from UT Dallas President David E. Daniel for her 30 years of service to the University.

“The changes in the appearance of the campus have been dramatic due to the beautification project and the placement of the new buildings to give us a more urban feel. The students are younger, and there are more undergrads than grads now. This certainly gives a different vibe to the campus. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the tremendous growth.”
– Dr. Darrelene Rachavong,
vice president for Student Affairs

“The best part of my job is helping the graduate Arts and Humanities students with their research. I learn something every time they ask questions, I have fun showing them the research tools, and then they have to go write the papers. The research tools have changed dramatically over the years, but the process of ferreting out information remains the same. It's often slogging, time-consuming and painstaking work, but there's nothing to compare to the satisfaction of discovery.”
– Linda Snow, head of reference services
and liaison to the School of Arts and Humanities in McDermott Library

“I had no idea when we installed the first Internet infrastructure on campus that it would ever lead to 30 years of job security. My job started before networking even came into a profession. So you can say, I was a pioneer of it. … Computers that filled large rooms now fit into your pocket. Video display terminals turned into hand-held devices such as tablets. Several disk drive units the size of a desk now could fit on a flash drive with room to spare. Customer service is the one thing I have not changed over the years. It is and will always be about our UTD customers.”
– Ed Bennett, computer equipment maintenance technician in Technology Customer Service

“I have received two Staff Council CARE awards, served on many committees, and worked in five different departments, and the biggest achievement is that I have stayed at UTD for 30 years.”

– Peggy Attari, associate director of Information Security, on her biggest achievement at UT Dallas