Donna Adjutant's 40 Years at UNH
Donna Adjutant. Credit: Mike Ross, UNH Photo Services
Donna Adjutant started her career at UNH in September 1970 as a keypunch operator. She is one of five employees recognized earlier this year for her four decades of service to the university. Below she talks about how things have changed.
- What is your work history at UNH?
I graduated from McIntosh College on a Sunday and started here Thursday.
Although I have had several different positions during my 40-plus years here at UNH, it has been with only one department, Computer Services (IT). I started out in the basement of Thompson Hall as a keypunch operator after taking a class at McIntosh College.
Later we moved our office to Kingsbury Hall and shared space with the computer room. Eventually, the help desk was created and I was part of the call center, answering questions. Luckily for me a new area was being created and I moved onto desktop publishing. I did layout for the documentation for CUFS, various computer classes and more recently, Banner. Part of my responsibility now is being one of the UNH telephone operators.
I have been very fortunate to have worked with some amazing people and many have become close friends.
- Forty years ago--it was 1971. What was the atmosphere on campus at that time?
In 1971 we were still in the midst of the hippie generation, tie-die shirts, bell-bottom pants and protesting against the Vietnam War.
- What was your starting salary?
My starting salary was $69.75 a week. How do I remember this after all these years? Sadly enough I still have my paperwork in my file drawer. I can't even imagine how we survived on that but it was a much simpler time--no home computers, cable TV or expensive SUVs to worry about.
- Today UNH often has several people involved in the hiring process. What was your interview like?
I remember going to HR for a typing test, which I'm not sure I even passed. The interview consisted of me and the person conducting the interview. There were no committees or second interviews. Within a few days I found out I had the job.
- What’s the biggest change that’s taken place at UNH in the 40 years you’ve been here?
The biggest change I've witnessed in the 40-plus years here would have to be technology. Working for Computer Services (IT) the changes have been amazing.
- Where did you go to lunch?
I always remember bringing my lunch to work. With a family it wasn't always affordable to eat out.
- What was the parking situation like?
There were a lot fewer cars and people on campus 40 years ago and certainly not the issues of parking like we have at present.
Everyone either drove their own car to work or carpooled because there wasn't any public transportation. For the past several years I have worked at a West Edge office where we are very fortunate to have ample parking as well as access to the Wildcat Transit if we need to go to campus.
I do not remember if A Lot had been created then or not.
- Do you think students are different now than they were 40 years ago?
I think students years ago were more aware what went on around them. They communicated with friends face-to-face, enjoyed the sights around them. Nowadays, students are always plugged into iPods or texting/talking on their cell phones--oblivious to what's going on around them.
- How about the technology--what equipment did you first use compared to now? Has it made your job easier?
When I started here I sat at a keypunch machine, where I'd type information onto cards which were fed through a machine that was as big as a kitchen table. We were responsible for keypunching cards from a variety of offices across campus such as the Registrar, accounts payable/receivable, payroll and many more. Each office would submit their paperwork, which was then punched onto cards in a particular format. At the end of the day these cards were put into large trays that were delivered to the computer room in Kingsbury Hall, where a computer operator would feed handfuls of cards into a card reader. A program would then run to produce the reports each department needed.
One of the more challenging parts of keypunching was trying to feed add/drop cards from the Registrar's Office through the keypunch machine after students carried them around folded up in the pockets or ran them through the washer. Over time, our group went from a dozen keypunch operators to just a few who were in charge of data entry. Eventually, I was sent out to offices across campus to teach people how to enter their own data. My first computer was a Mac SE. This was computer and monitor all in one, the size of a breadbox. I eventually went on to desktop publishing. Now I work on a laptop that is small enough to fit into a backpack. Boy, how times have changed.
- Is there anything about the way UNH was in 1970 that you wish still existed today or are you happy with the way the university has weathered the years?
UNH still has one of the prettiest campus, no matter what season. It's nice to see some of the older academic buildings being remodeled instead of torn down. ThompsonHall will always be a special place for me.