1929 – 2005
Betty Jahn served as the Department’s administrative assistant for more than 25 years, from its beginning in 1967 through the tenures of six department chairs. BJ (as she was known) had a deep knowledge of what it takes to run an academic department, and she met every challenge, big or small, with aplomb. These included helping both funded doctoral students and new faculty comply with funded travel reimbursements, payroll matters, and staff benefits. Early on, the Department was smaller–she handled unit finances, issued keys; interviewed candidates for classified staff positions, and managed unit physical facilities. An example of Betty’s organizational skills was her “tickle file,” a calendar of due dates for the various reports required by higher administration, ASHA, state agencies, and other bodies. She knew what kinds of data were required to meet these obligations and could put her fingers on all the relevant materials. In some ways, she was like a company top sergeant who could make officers (and officer candidates) appear more knowledgeable than they really were. Her understanding of institutional procedures (the real ones as well as the formal ones) was acute and sometimes uncanny. Consequently, she was an excellent source of information about whom to call (usually the support staff who controlled calendars) to get access to administrators who could help solve problems. Or avoid them. When asked, she could apply her good will and knowledge of other unit administrative assistants to de-snarl sometimes unwelcome requirements. Betty was personable, resourceful, and reliable. Everyone–faculty, staff, and students–enjoyed her friendly demeanor, quick wit, and delightful sense of humor. Betty Jahn was a talented problem solver, a steadying influence, and a nonjudgmental confidant. She was an important figure in the history of the department, and she is fondly remembered by all who knew her.
Compiled by Raymond D. Kent and Michael R. Chial