Following her graduation from Alfred University, Sue Dean ’01 MBA, (or Sue B., as she’s known by the Whitman community) recalls, “I came out of school and had no idea what I wanted to do.” She was a temporary worker at SUNY Upstate Medical University during her college summers, but it had a hiring freeze just as she was searching for full-time employment.
Luckily for Dean, her mother had connections to the human resource department at Syracuse University. She recalls, “Back then, there was an actual typing test, but it was on a typewriter, not a computer.” Dean passed the test and was hired in the human resource department to perform administrative and payroll duties.
Dean’s boss at the time encouraged her to seek a path for long-term employment at the University. Dean took the advice to heart and searched for other openings.
“My first full-time permanent job was in March of 1986 in Holden Observatory,” she says. “The observatory used to be in a different spot behind the Maxwell School, but when they put in Eggers Hall, they moved the observatory closer to the College of Law.
After about a year, Dean moved across campus to a new position as a secretary with the then Law and Public Policy Department at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management in June 1987.
She says, “When I first started my position at the Whitman School, I was working with law and public policy professors. I was solely typing for my job because I was the only one who knew Word Perfect. They gave me a filing cabinet full of cases and case law examples and had me retype them all.”
Dean moved into her role as an academic support coordinator, helping various faculty at Whitman. “Overtime, my job has morphed to working with more faculty. I started with seven and now I have 25. It’s a big difference. I don’t do straight typing anymore. Now it’s more paper processing, setting up travel arrangements, ordering supplies and keeping track of budgets,” adds Dean.
During her time at Syracuse University, Dean earned an MBA part-time. She says, “I really liked marketing and management, so that’s what I studied. I got the degree back in 2001.”
Dean’s special connections to the people and the area — she is originally from Baldwinsville, New York —have kept her with the University. “Other places never had the feel that the Whitman School has. Why would I want to change if it’s not going to feel this good? I’ve always felt at home here, like it’s my spot. I literally live three blocks away, and I walk to work. I just felt like these are my folks, and I have had the very good fortune of working with amazing people,” says Dean.
Dean doesn’t let herself get bored, either on the job or in her off time. She is always pushing herself out of her comfort zone and learning new skills. One that has stuck with her since childhood is playing video games of all types. Her interest was sparked when she bought her first hand-held Pac-Man machine. “Nintendo owns a certain chunk of my change,” Dean jokes.
She also enjoys paper quilling and taking courses on LinkedIn Learning, such as drawing lessons. “I’m creating instead of destroying things in video games. I’m also working on drawing well enough that people can tell my dogs apart from horses,” says Dean.
Another unique hobby that Dean has is collecting kaleidoscopes. She currently has over 80. She explains, “I used to be on the computer so much that it was nice taking a break and making my eyes refocus in a different way. I have kaleidoscopes at work, and I keep them on a window ledge, so if anyone needs an eyeball break they know to see me.”
She says, “Whitman is a dynamic place. The job has changed, it was not what it was when I began. Overall, I love my position at the Whitman School and I wouldn’t change it.”
“Syracuse University is such an amazing extended family,” she says. “I haven’t traveled a lot, but every time I wear Syracuse gear, people ask about the University. It’s really pretty cool. I know that this can happen with many universities, but I feel like the people I run into are so friendly, outgoing and eager to help. Even if they’re not a Whitman School person, they want to help. It’s immediate. I think that is also prevalent all over campus. Everyone wants to know what they can do for you.”
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