After 35 years, a University legend retires

7/6/2009 | By: Jon Fortenbury  |

Jewel Radcliffe, a custodial worker in the Clark Administration Building at the University of Nevada, Reno, retired on June 29 at the age of 79. In her 35 years at the University, she has left a huge impact on the campus and all of the people she has met.

“She’s inspirational to people of all ages,” said Peggy Bohn, administrative assistant for Planning, Budget and Analysis.

After 27 years of working in California restaurants, Radcliffe came to the University in 1974 as a cashier in the Snack Bar of the Jot Travis Union. She says that during the course of this job, she enjoyed seeing the students every day and loved every minute of the job.

In 1979, she switched University jobs and became the reproduction equipment operator for Central Services. It was here where she helped put together print products for graduations, football games and events, just to name a few.

“I loved it because it was versatile,” Radcliffe said. “You came in in the morning and you didn’t know what you’d have.”

In 1984, Radcliffe began working as a custodian in Buildings and Grounds and has been a custodian in the Clark Administration Building since 1987. She says that over the years, she’s had people try to convince her to set up interviews to get another job. Her love for her job prevented her from ever taking their advice.

“I’ve had more fun than anyone,” Radcliffe said. “I got to see everyone and I got to know everyone. (Because of her afternoon shift) I’ve got to come in late and sleep in. It’s ideal.”

Radcliffe has done much more than just custodial work for this campus. As a member of the Staff Employees Council (SEC), Radcliffe served on the Council’s Benefits, Classified Merit, Awards Luncheon, Open House, Student Services Food/Retail Dining and Catering committees. She’s also been on the University Balloon Race Scholarship Committee and the University’s Search Committee for the Affirmative Action Officer, as well as serving as the Council’s liaison to ASUN and Faculty Senate.

She received the Administration and Finance’s Outstanding Service Award in 1996. In 2005, Radcliffe was awarded the Classified Employee of the Year.

There’s a saying about Jewell: If you want something done and done well, ask Jewell. Georgianna Trexler, assistant to the Vice President for Administration and Finance, endorses the phrase.

“She’s very outgoing, very active, has lots of energy and is always willing to step up to the plate,” Trexler said. “She always went above and beyond at her job and treated the building like her own home.”

In her 35 years at the University, Radcliffe has recognized an overall improvement, especially with the new student orientation, student services, professors and new technology. She also commends University President Milton Glick.

“I think Milton is doing a great job,” Radcliffe said. “I’m very proud of the job he’s doing under the pressure.”

The plan from here for Radcliffe is to continue being a part of the Lunch-in Committee, the Open House Committee and the Food Committee. She also plans on taking a vacation the whole month of July to San Francisco, Sacramento, Truckee and Timber Trails, as well as to paint the interior of her house and continue to assist her daughter with the childcare center she runs.

Radcliffe says she’ll miss the beautiful University campus and the people there dearly. She plans to visit the campus a few times a month.

“I’ve had a good time with everything I’ve done and everyone I’ve met is memorable,” Radcliffe said.


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