March 1, 2024

Erving focused on welcoming, connecting with students

Women of Service Q&A

Lory Erving stands with family members during an event at the Cather Dining Center.

Lory Erving stands with family members during an event at the Cather Dining Center. Erving works at the dining center and strives to make one-to-one connections with students.

In observance of Women’s History Month, Nebraska Today has partnered with the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women to feature female office/service staff who go above and beyond in their work at Dear Old Nebraska U. This Women of Service series will run every Friday in March.

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The series launches today with Lory Erving, a checker/cashier with Cather Dining Service. She was nominated by Rebecca Baskerville, associate director of experiential and global learning with the University Honors Program.

“Lory is a shining light in her role,” Baskerville said. “I have interacted with her both as a customer and when hosting events in Cather. In all cases, Lory’s engaging personality and professionalism are clear.

“I have observed her engaging with students entering the dining hall. She knows them all and chats with each in a warm and personal manner that no doubt makes them feel always welcome and cared for.”

Abby VanHorn, a senior criminal justice major, praised Erving for the connections she makes with students.

“Lory seems to know everyone when they walk in,” VanHorn said. “She asks about classes and remembers the conversations from one day to the next. She’s really good at building personal connections with students. As a student, it’s nice to have that familiar face and someone who clearly knows and cares about you.”

Erving sat down with the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women to discuss what drives her to success on and off campus.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Christian woman who tries to practice my faith by being a light to those around me. Born in 1963, I grew up on a farm up by Watertown South Dakota. In 1985, I graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education degree. But, instead of teaching that year, I got married and moved to Lincoln as my husband accepted a graduate assistantship at UNL. In 1987 I was hired at UNL to wash pots and pans at Harper Dining. Over the next years I worked in almost every position in dining services. My favorite positions being a cook, veg prep, ingredient room, and my current position as cashier. I have two children and four grandchildren. For 26 years I have been the music worship leader for church. During these years I’ve also taught private piano and voice lessons. I love being around young people of all ages.

How long have you been at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln?

Since Oct. 4, 1987, so almost 37 years

What do you look forward to when you come to work?

I clock in at 6 a.m., so I enjoy the quietness of the morning. The challenge of planning the salad and dessert menus is also enjoyable. My main job of cashiering is enjoyable as well. Counting money, sorting receipts, balancing the reports, sorting the weekly paper work for our unit are all things I enjoy. But, the best part of my job is welcoming the students and customers that come through our doors. I thrive on the customer service aspect of my job. Building relationships with our students is extremely important to me. I view them all as “my children” and want them to know that I care.

Lory Erving poses with a friend during an event at the Cather Dining Center.

What is your favorite memory at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln?

Yesterday, a graduate who was visiting from Georgia, came through and was saying how I had made a difference in her life. She thanked me for my interest in her as a person and for being a bright spot of her dining experience. Its memories like this one that are my favorites.

What is your life like outside of work?

Currently, my home life is filled with the laughter of grandchildren I adore my children and grandchildren. My husband and I love to dance so, we sneak out whenever possible to hear a favorited band and kick up our heels. Being the music worship leader for church also keeps me busy with choosing music and practicing.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I was on the first committee that developed the dining services mission statement more than 30 years ago. The mission statement has now been revised, but I helped develop the first one. My new student friends don’t know my my vocal abilities and are delighted when I sing them happy birthday.

Lory Erving poses while sitting at her piano.
In her free time, Lory Erving serves as the music worship leader at her church and teaches piano and voice lessons.