Dayhoff’s 40 years of service tops list at seniority recognition
Since Feb. 1, 1972, when Sonny Dayhoff first arrived at his station on the Hill, nearly all the faces that are McDaniel – or were Western Maryland – have changed. Campus is no bigger – but now there are at least 10 more buildings, six more residence halls, 500 more students, and countless more desks, chairs, beds and dressers.
Dayhoff was already on the job as foreman of Grounds and Maintenance when every one of the 25 McDaniel staff recognized for 30, 25, 20, 15 and 10 years – a total of 435 years –took their places on campus.
At a luncheon hosted by President Roger Casey Jan. 24, staff honored for a quarter century and more included Dayhoff, Heshmat Badiee for 30 years, and Philip Boob, Terry Crabbs, Glenn Martin, Maureen Meloche and Mel Whelan for 25 years.
“McDaniel is deeply indebted to you — our staff and faculty — who do everything from maintaining our beautiful buildings and grounds to expanding the scope of human knowledge,” said Casey.
Colleagues describe Dayhoff as a quiet man behind the scenes – good hard working people. Almost everyone on campus remembers a time when they needed Dayhoff’s help – and got it.
A furry bat hanging from a door frame in Harrison House? He’s there.
Old dorm furniture to be moved out for sale? He’s there.
An overnight snow storm? He’s there.
In fact, Dayhoff’s supervisor, Director of Grounds and Special Events Phil Boob talks about the overnight snow removal and how he and Dayhoff, clearing different areas of campus, rarely saw each other but were always in communication.
“That communication was usually, ‘hey, I’m stuck,’” Boob told those who attended the luncheon.
After the renovation of Hill Hall was complete in 1995, English professor Kathy Mangan’s desk needed to be moved back up to the second floor. But it wouldn’t fit in the elevator.
“Sonny lifted the heavy wooden desk onto his BACK and carried it up to Hill 216 for me,” she says.
Moving furniture isn’t among the most unusual requests Dayhoff has had. Two that immediately come to his mind involve baby ducks and baby opossums.
“The call came from Elderdice, ‘ducks in the drain,’” Dayhoff says, shaking his head and smiling. “There were baby ducks in the drain. The mother duck had walked across the drain but the babies went right through the openings. She was close by as we lifted them out and off they went.”
Baby opossums in the window well of Albert Norman Ward residence hall weren’t quite so easily rescued.
“Mama was down there with three babies. Ducks are one thing, but opossums bite,” he says. “So I put a 2-by-4 down (to make a ramp) and she carried her babies out.”
Dayhoff’s four decades don’t count the four years he worked part time and summers while still in high school.
“I like my job,” he says. “I wouldn’t have stayed if I didn’t like it. Mostly I like the people I’ve worked with over the years.”
And, even though his job title hasn’t changed, in recent years he’s doing a lot less mowing and trimming but more set ups and moving furniture. While most of the McDaniel community thinks of Commencement set up as a once a year event, director of Conference and Auxiliary Services Mary Jo Colbert knows better.
“Those chairs are touched at least 26 times when you figure 13 high school graduations with their various arrangements,” Colbert says. “Sonny makes sure the rows are tight and right – I can’t even guess how many graduations he has set up over the years.”
Colbert smiles as she remembers taping $1 and $5 bills under those commencement chairs as motivators for her student workers when they put away the chairs after the final graduation of the year. Apparently, in their rush to stack the chairs, they missed some of the bills.
As May of the following year rolled around, Dayhoff and his crew began unstacking and setting up the chairs – and before long he made his way to Colbert’s office. In a matter-of-fact if incredulous manner he reported to Colbert, “There’s money under those chairs.”
“He’s one of my heroes on this campus. For me he has always been a lifesaver,” Colbert says.
FROM LEFT: President Roger Casey; For 40 YEARS: Ronald “Sonny” Dayhoff, Foreman, Grounds Maintenance; For 30 YEARS: Heshmat Badiee, Coordinator of Audio Visual Set-Up, Conference and Auxiliary Service.
FROM LEFT: President Casey; For 20 YEARS: Ellie Geiman, Associate Director of Financial Aid; For 25 YEARS: Maureen Meloche, Administrative Assistant, Administration and Finance; Glenn Martin, Housekeeper II/Floor Care Attendant/Building Services; Terry Crabbs, Housekeeper I, Building Services; Mel Whelan, Coordinator, Building Services; Philip Boob, Director of Grounds and Special Events, Physical Plant.
FROM LEFT: President Casey, For 15 YEARS: Walt Michael, Artist in Residence/Academic Affairs; Susan Haines, Housekeeper I, Building Services; Lisa Breslin, Associate Dean of Students, Academic Affairs; Harriett Corbran, Bursar; Stephanie Stahler, Admissions Interviewer/Reader, Admissions; Justina Carloss, Cashier/Bursar; Heidi Reigel, Director of Admissions. Not photographed are Carolyn Boner, Director of Math Placement Program; Donni Folendorf, Office Manager, Information Technology; and Dana Plevyak, Nurse, Wellness Center.
FROM LEFT: President Casey, For 10 YEARS: Lisa Russell, Supervisor of Interlibrary Loans, Hoover Library; Ellen Rugmer, Purchasing and Receiving Clerk, Purchasing; Peggy Fosdick, Director of Communications, Communications & Marketing; Steve Barnes, Housekeeper I, Building Services; Wayne Little, General Maintenance Mechanic, Building Maintenance and Repair. Not photographed are Steve Kerby, Director of Instructional Technology, and Kristin Lister, Associate Director, Alumni and Parent Relations.