Employee retires after more than four decades at University | UToledo News

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Employee retires after more than four decades at University

The University of Toledo has undergone countless changes throughout the last four decades, and Karen Papadakis has experienced them all.

Dr. Johnnie Early, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, presented a UT mortar and pestle to Karen Papadakis, administrative secretary in the Department of Pharmacology, who retired last month after 41 years at the University.

After 41 years and four months of working at UT, she is moving on — and taking with her great memories and friendships she made during her time at the University.

After graduating from high school in Tecumseh, Mich., she moved to Toledo and began working at UT while taking classes to earn an associate of applied business degree.

While at the University, Papadakis has worked in four different colleges, most recently as an administrative secretary in the Department of Pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“It is great working with the students and being part of the campus community,” Papadakis said. “I loved working on Main Campus and going to the Student Union at lunch; you never knew what kind of activities would be going on around the corner, in the mall area or in the Student Union.”

One of her favorite UT memories: When her twin sister took classes on campus and the two constantly were mistaken for each other. To combat this, the sisters made a pact to be friends with anyone who greeted them whether they actually knew the person or not.

Papadakis plans on spending more time with her family, including her husband, Alexander ‘the Great,’ as she refers to him, their two children and three grandchildren.

Additionally, she will continue her monthly tradition of attending lunch with some of her friends from when she worked in the College of Education and being a member of a book club that she founded with her friend, Pam Hennen, secretary in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Student Services.

Leaving the University does not mean Papadakis is leaving her connection to education as she plans to volunteer as a reader or tutor for literacy programs in the area.

“I loved working at UT. For me, it was a great environment where I could learn and grow even when I wasn’t taking classes,” said Papadakis, who retired Nov. 30. “I’ve met some wonderful people along the way. It’s been a great ride.”

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