Celebrating 99 years of combined service to Nebraska

· 3 min read

Celebrating 99 years of combined service to Nebraska
From the Editor

Nebraska's Harry Tilley (second from left) talks with Behrendt Rippe, a senior dining service associate, in the Abel-Sandoz Dining Center. Tilley retired Aug. 3 after 53 years of service in University Housing dining centers.
Troy Fedderson | University Communication
Nebraska's Harry Tilley (second from left) talks with Behrendt Rippe, a senior dining service associate, in the Abel-Sandoz Dining Center. Tilley retired Aug. 3 after 53 years of service in University Housing dining centers.

*Editor's note — This story originally published Aug. 10, 2018.*

As the university gears up for the start of a new semester, Nebraska Today is pausing to honor the careers of two recent retirees — and letting you know that more than 960 faculty and staff will receive awards for dedicated service this fall.

Through 99 years of combined service, longtime University Housing employees Harry Tilley and Flora Espinosa helped serve hundreds of thousands of hungry Huskers.

Tilley, who started working mornings to pay bills as a first-year student in 1965 and never truly left, retired Aug. 3 after 53 years in campus dining halls. Espinosa, who loved interacting with students as a cafeteria checker, celebrated her retirement Aug. 8 after 46 years of service.

Both started their careers in the recently demolished Cather-Pound-Neihardt Dining Center. Both worked in dining center bakeries. And both praised the university, coworkers, campus administrators and generations of Huskers for helping along the way on their successful campus careers.

“I’ve had a great career here at Nebraska,” Tilley said. “I never thought that job as a freshman would lead to anything. But, it did and it’s been a privilege to serve generations of Huskers while working with so many talented people through the years.”

Nebraska's Flora Espinosa worked for 46 years in University Housing dining centers. For 22 of those years, Espinosa worked as a checker, interacting with thousands of students daily.

This fall, the university will restart the tradition of saluting the dedicated service of its employees — like that provided by Tilley and Espinosa. Plans for the Celebration of Service, an event which will honor faculty and staff who have been employed at the university in five-year increments (from five to 50-plus) alongside other award winners, are being finalized.

Details about the Celebration of Service will be announced in Nebraska Today. We’ll also publish the annual list of service award winners — which currently stands at more than 960 employees, including five 50-year honorees.

Chancellor Ronnie Green is also recognizing the work of Nebraska employees through his Chillin’ with the Chancellor series this week. The social gatherings, which started Aug. 7, conclude with a noon to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 10 event on the Learning Commons Plaza outside of Love Library North.

Employees who attend the Chillin’ finale can enjoy free ice cream from the Dairy store and meet one-on-one with the chancellor. No formal program is planned. Employees can simply show up and enjoy the ice cream treat. The event is free and open to all university employees.

We’re also delving deeper into the careers of Tilley and Espinosa here in Nebraska Today. You can read more about how Tilley started as a morning cook and advanced to become the manager of the Abel-Sandoz Dining Center. And, you can learn how letters from a cousin spurred Espinosa to legally immigrate from Colombia to the United States.

As always, if you know of a Husker — faculty, staff or student — doing great things in the workplace, classroom or community, reach out via email to nebraskatoday@unl.edu or call 402-472-8515.

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Troy Fedderson
Director of Internal Communication
Editor, Nebraska Today