Campus community members are invited to a retirement celebration for Chris Spengler Monday, Feb. 27, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Schmakel Room.
Spengler began her career at the University in the Personnel Department in 1977. After serving as secretary for the Geology Department, she became executive secretary in the Office of the President and assistant secretary to the UT Board of Trustees. She assisted three presidents — Dr. Glen Driscoll, Dr. James McComas and Dr. Frank Horton — and one interim president, John Stoepler.In 1999, she transferred to the Division of Advancement, where she is director of advancement relations.
“We have been fortunate to have Chris as an important member of our UT family for so many years,” said Brenda S. Lee, president of the UT Foundation. “Her contributions to the Advancement team, as well as the entire University community, are very much appreciated. She will be missed.”
What’s it been like to work at UT for 40 years?
“Every day has been fun — great people and a great place to work,” Spengler said. “The University is so vibrant; there is something new to learn each day. I also have greatly enjoyed working with individuals who have shaped the University into what it is today. I have a favorite hard hat from my days in the President’s Office that has my name on it along with a little saying: ‘I’m in charge of the one in charge.’”
In that power position for 20 years, Spengler has lots of stories; she joked that she knows where the bodies are buried: “I even got my hands dirty. I helped bury Dr. Horton’s dog on the grounds of the former president’s house. He was out of town, and the burying crew was me, Carol Crum, the housekeeper, and George Stamos, the chef.”
During the last four decades, Spengler has left her mark on the University. She founded the Presidential Ambassadors, the honorary organization where select students serve the Office of the President by fostering good relations between the student body and alumni, faculty, staff and donors by representing and promoting UT at various events. And in 2006, she played an integral role in the establishment of UT’s Women & Philanthropy; she developed the bylaws for the collaborative effort of area women and the University’s Division of Advancement. Since then, Spengler has served as administrative contact for the community of female philanthropists who support the mission and goals of the University.
Last year, Spengler and her husband, William, donated $100,000 to the women’s basketball program. The couple gave the funds to the UT Foundation to create a charitable gift annuity. The Spenglers have a long affiliation with Rocket athletics.
“You will continue to see me at all home football and basketball games cheering on our Rockets,” Spengler said.
No surprise Spengler is true to her school: She received an associate of applied business degree from UT’s former Community and Technical College and a master of education degree from the University.
That dedication also will continue: “I haven’t spent much time contemplating what I will miss because I plan on remaining a very active retiree and alumna,” she said. “I’m going to be around a lot.”