Odds are if you're a staff member, a faculty member, a student or a wayward passerby in Imig Music Building, you’ve probably interacted with Gayle Boethling. She’s the friendly, helpful smile just outside the dean’s office, her desk covered in the many files and papers that indicate the breadth of her ever-evolving role at the College of Music. And now, for the first time since the mid-90s, the college has to navigate a slew of logistics without her.
After a long career in school administration, including the past 24 years at the college, Boethling enters her well-earned retirement this summer. Her position—which started off as administrative assistant for Dean Daniel Sher on May 23, 1994—ebbed and flowed with the needs of the college through the years.
"Over time my responsibilities grew to paying guest artists, faculty travel, faculty affairs administration, reimbursements, student award payments and lodging and arrangements for student group travel. I was promoted to office manager and supervised staff, organized meetings for the staff and supervised work study students.”
So basically ... everything. Sher, in fact, said it best in his speech honoring Boethling at a retirement celebration this spring:
"Gayle, with your remarkable dedication, with your special blend of good cheer and spicy lightheartedness, you played an invaluable role on all these levels to keep this college moving forward, and you did much more than your fair share for 24 years.”
But you don’t become a fixture at a place for a quarter-century without forming enduring friendships with colleagues. And that’s what Boethling says she’ll remember most fondly.
"I have so many great memories," Boethling says. “One of my fondest memories is the incredible trip that some staff and faculty took to Italy to celebrate [Professor Emerita] Judith Glyde’s house-warming party. That was the trip of a lifetime. I also cherish the many friendships I have made with our students. They never cease to amaze me with their dedication, hard work and talent.
"I will miss the staff, faculty and students. They have all become part of my family, and I will truly miss working with them.”
For those who know how integral her work is to the functioning of the college, it should come as no surprise (and something of a relief) that the tireless Boethling’s talents won’t go unused once she retires.
"I will be doing adminstrative support for Race Across America and traveling to support our bike races. I will also be traveling for fun—I can’t wait to travel off season! I will spend more time with family in Minnesota and here and enjoying friends, reading books and exercising when it is still light outside.”