The planning committee for Syracuse University’s 37th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is seeking nominations for the Unsung Hero Awards. The Unsung Hero Award nominations are due on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 11:59 p.m. Nomination forms can…
A Lasting Impression: Parking and Transportation Services Staff Member Ed Rother Retires After 30 Years of Service
When prospective students and families arrive on the Syracuse University campus, the first person they often meet is Ed Rother.
A member of the Parking and Transportation Services team, Rother has staffed the University’s north entry gate on South Crouse Avenue for more than 29 years. In that role, he has been a friendly face to faculty, staff and students. With his proximity to Crouse-Hinds Hall, where the Office of Admissions is located, he has often been the first person from Syracuse University that thousands of students and families interact with when they visit the University for the first time.
Rother is retiring from the University on Dec. 1 after 30 years of service. He says the decision to retire from a job he loves did not happen overnight. “The University has treated me great all of these years, but now is the right time to do it,” he says.
Rother came to the University in the summer of 1991 after a successful career in the banking industry, where his job was eliminated due to mergers and downsizing. His sister worked at the University for Parking Services and helped him get his foot in the door as a part-time staff member working stadium events.
After the last basketball game of the season in March 1992, Rother was offered a full-time position. The landscape of the University was changing, as roads around the Schine Student Center were closed and Parking Services assumed the responsibility for staffing the campus entry gates, previously handled by the Department of Public Safety. Rother underwent training and began his new full-time role in July 1992. He has been there ever since. “I’m glad management let me stay there until I got it right,” he jokes.
The timing of his new position in his life was perfect, as the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. hours allowed him to spend important time with his young family. “I had the best of both worlds,” he says. He also staffs the Manley North lot during stadium events.
Over the years, he has had a front-row seat to watch the University grow and transform. He has especially enjoyed working with those students and families coming to the Syracuse University campus for the first time.
“They are new, and some of them are really nervous because they don’t know where they are going,” he says. “I reassure them they are right where they need to be.” Through the years, he has greeted families over and over again, as they move from the first visit to the visits during their students’ years at Syracuse.
“For many of our students and families, Ed has been their first impression of Syracuse University,” says Maurice Harris, dean of undergraduate admissions. “His patient, kind and helpful demeanor, always keeping the mission of the University at the forefront, has left lasting impressions. He is truly one of the University’s unsung heroes.”
As the University is adjacent to three of Syracuse’s hospitals, Rother has also been a resource for members of the community. “Being near the hospitals, we get a lot of lost souls looking for hospitals and doctors’ offices. It’s nice to be able to help them out,” he says.
The job has not been without its challenges, such as working in all kinds of weather and sometimes dealing with difficult people. When that has happened, he has employed the tactic of explaining reasonably and taking it in stride.
“Ed is a fantastic employee and friend. He is admired for his quiet fun side and appreciated by all of the parking staff for sharing his wisdom and experience,” says Duane Dedrick, field and events operations supervisor with Parking and Transportation Services. “I know he is looking forward to spending lots of time with his family after retirement and we all wish him the best.”
Dee Bailey, associate director of field events and operations with Parking and Transportation Services, started at the University at the same time as Rother. “Ed is a great person to know and he would do anything for you. He has been an amazing team player and it will be very hard to fill his shoes,” she says. “He has not been just an employee to me but a friend, great listener and when I have needed advice he has been there to give it. I know that he will be very happy spending lots of time with his family members, who mean the world to him.”
As he closes this chapter, what will Rother miss the most? “The people, without a doubt,” he says. He is ready to see where retirement takes him. “I’ve never retired before, so this is all new,” he jokes.
A man of strong faith, Rother already has plans for his first full day of retirement—attending morning Mass. “I have so many things to be thankful for,” he says.