La Verne Magazine
"The University of La Verne: A Day in the Life"
From Four Who Care
by Jennifer Phillips
photography by Rhidian Maehl
Keeper of the keys, Jack Ward, foreman for the Maintenance and Operations
Department, is known as "Operations 3" to his peers.
Four University of La Verne staff members share a common bond, and it
is not their personalities or job descriptions. He is a perfectionist. She
loves jazz music. Another declares that her department is the best place
to work, and the last staff member fled his native homeland in search of
a brighter tomorrow. While they are vastly different, these four individuals
share a common bond. They all take pride in their contributions to the University
of La Verne.
With thinning long hair, a gray speckled beard and dirt under his fingernails,
Jack Ward is the perfectionist. Ward, the maintenance foreman of ULV, might
not pay close attention to his receding hairline, but the care and energy
that he brings to his job is nothing short of perfection.
Ward has been the maintenance foreman for the past seven years and was
a carpenter at the University before his promotion.
"I make sure my crew is prepared for the day," Ward says.
This preparation requires Ward to unlock all the necessary buildings
that will be used by his crew. He passes keys to his crew and reviews work
orders. Aside from these daily tasks, Ward is the University locksmith.
This responsibility requires Ward to be on call 24 hours a day, all week,
every third week out of the month. He enjoys being busy and keeps his crew
busy as well. "We're never out of things to do," he says.
Ward's healthy attitude toward work and his desire to instill this attitude
in his crew is echoed in his thoughts. "Sometimes I care more than
they do," he says. Pausing momentarily to turn down his walkie-talkie
that is a hotline of dispatches, Ward talks about his busy day without missing
a beat. "It's never ending," he says.
When his day is finally over at 4:30 p.m., Ward trades in his electric
powered orange cart for a white Toyota pickup and heads home. He lives with
his 15 year-old son Sean in Upland.
Ward's days are not filled with hopes of receiving plaques or employee
of the year for his work, but rather something more personable.
"The smile from a resident after I've unlocked her door or when
someone says, 'Is that all you needed to do?' is enough for me," Ward
While shiny plaques are not Ward's motivation to stay "busy"
at the University, for Joanne Gonzales,director of housekeeping, receiving
such honors from her employer Marriott Management does bring a smile to
the impeccably dressed and sophisticated woman's face.
These honors are for the level of cleanliness and service Gonzales and
her staff bring to the University.
Before accepting the position in 1995, Gonzales served as director of
housekeeping at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Calif.
She begins her day at 6 a.m. "I come here early, to walk through
the campus and see what's being done," she says.
Gonzales makes sure her staff members have all of their supplies and
keys needed for their daily work. She is also in charge of task assignments,
budgeting and ordering of all the supplies.
Gonzales and her crew are busiest on Mondays and Fridays- "Especially
when the students party hard," she says. "This is awfully hard
work, and I have a great staff."
Acting as the liaison between her staff and the University, Gonzales
takes into consideration both party's needs. "Promoting customer satisfaction
is a primary goal," she says. But at the same time, Gonzales demands
that respect be given to her staff.
Gonzales also celebrates her staff member's birthdays each month. "It
makes them feel happy," she says.
During her free time, Gonzales loves to listen to old jazz. "I
own every Billie Holiday album," she says.
He does not have a passion for jazz, and he is not a perfectionist,
but the baby face smile on Gustavo Baten, Aramark service worker, makes
you wonder what he is really thinking as he prepares a student's tuna on
rye. But the sparkle in his brown eyes is true, and his simple approach
to his job makes him more than just a sandwich maker. He is also a husband,
father and friend.
Baten decided to leave his homeland in Central America to find financial
stability and a more peaceful setting to raise a family. He says he found
He and his wife of 16 years, Delia, have three children: Heidy, Bilidy
and Merari. Children are a major factor in his life. Because Baten needs
to be at work by 6 a.m., he leaves his home in Pasadena at 5:40 a.m. each
weekday morning. Once he is clocked in, Baten begins to prepare for the
breakfast opening of Davenport Dining Hall.
"When the student's come in and ask for just a little, I tease
them and just put a little on their plate," he says. Baten's sense
of humor allows him to brighten up other's day. "When they aren't smiling,
I talk to them, and they talk to me," he says.
After the breakfast rush, Baten enjoys a quick 10 minute break and then
starts on the preparation for the lunch rush. Baten is the sandwich maker,
and he likes to be efficient when making the students favorites, turkey
"I like to go fast, so there is no long line," he says.
After the lunch rush, Baten is well on his way to ending his day and
onto the soccer field with his son Bilidy.
While Baten's day is almost over, Zoila Garcia, administrative assistant
in the History/Political Science Department, is barely in the middle of
Wearing light make-up, her petite frame neatly dressed, Garcia sits
in her cushioned chair and proudly declares, "I work in the best department
Monday through Friday, Garcia greets every student from different cultures
and age groups who come into the office.
She begins her day with a brisk walk from her home in La Verne to campus.
"It usually takes 15 minutes, but if I'm walking fast, it takes 12
minutes," she says.
At 8 a.m., Garcia is making a fresh pot of coffee for the office that
she has worked in since 1973. Garcia, along with her three children, are
all University of La Verne graduates.
"I believe you can always learn something new,"she says. "I
have the opportunity to meet so many different individuals from all walks
Dealing with students is a positive aspect and a major part of her life.
But even Garcia needs a break from her tiny space. "There are some
days when things just aren't going right, and when this happens I usually
go and walk through Founders Hall. This is very invigorating," she
During lunch time, Garcia is walking back home to check up on her mother
and grab a bite to eat. Her mother lives with Garcia and Oswaldo, her husband
of 36 years.
Once back in her office, Garcia continues to answer the phones and assist
the needs of the professors.
At 5 p.m., she is off and walking. Garcia will either enjoy some time
with her young grandchildren, write some poetry or work in her garden. The
next day, she will do it all over again. It will be a new day but the same
With the same bright smile she uses to greet students, Zoila Garcia,
administrative assistant in the History/Political Science Department and
former editor of La Verne Magazine, assists Dr. Herbert Hogan, professor
of history emeritus.
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