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Assistant essential to math dept.

April 6, 2006

Sherry Reis has been working in the UW-River Falls math department longer than most students have been alive. The grandmother of seven and horse driver of nine has been in the office for 27 years.

She started here nearly three decades ago, and is now the go-to person in the math department.

“Anything that an instructor [or] student needs, Sherry has the answer or will find it,” said Allan Hoogheem, math professor. “She keeps the office running smoothly and at the same time promotes the math department as an integral part of the University.”

She has been doing it well for so long because she said she loves her job and wouldn’t change anything about it.

“My work with the department is very rewarding,” Reis said. “Seeing the students come in as freshmen and watching them grow into young adults as they graduate, knowing I was a part of their college journey.”

She started working here back in 1976 as a stenographer in the purchasing department before moving to the math department as the program assistant.

She has become quite an asset after seeing years of changes and rules come and go.

“I think her two main contributions have been to maintain an efficiently run office and department, while at the same time ensuring that the atmosphere is friendly and inviting,” said math department Chair Keith Chavey.

“It is indispensable to have the ‘institutional memory’ of someone like Sherry around as questions arise about policies and practices,” Chavey said.

Chavey has been at the University for 15 years and still remembers the day he came to interview for his job here.

“She was responsible for an immediate positive impression of the department as the kind of place one would want to work,” he said. “The department and Sherry have delivered on this impression.”

Everyone in the office seems to take note of her charm.

Hoogheem describes Reis as, “An effervescent personality which puts people at ease.”

That is a good thing to have, especially if you are on a hayride around Christmas time, because Reis also doubles as Mrs. Santa Claus for the rides. Not bad for a woman who has seven grandkids and drives Belgian draft horses at state and county fairs.

But it’s the students who keep her busy and on the ball in the office.

“I love working with the students. They are the reason we are here,” Reis said. “They keep you young at heart.”