The magic formula for Gary Dalton is that he loved his job, and that dedication and hard work were rewarded. Dalton retired as assistant food service manager in the Housing Division in April. He came to the UI in 1967 as a meat cutter.
"I've always enjoyed working here at the university and I was always rewarded for my efforts," he said. Being able to take classes at the UI and Parkland College and to take management-training sessions, workshops and seminars, helped him to learn the skills he needed to earn promotions. "I've always appreciated that," he said.
In 1986 he was awarded the Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award.
Maria Ramos, Dalton's supervisor for 20 years and associate director of Housing Division's Food Service, said Dalton is "one of the best staff members I've had. He's a very loyal, hard-working employee." Ramos and Dalton worked together for 30 years and have become good friends. The admiration between the two is mutual.
"Maria is very creative," Dalton said. "That's made the job interesting. She's incorporated new ideas and different concepts for feeding students. She got away from the standard set-up and changed the decor and menus [of the dining halls]. We've come a long way."
Dalton is still working part time on special events for dining services. He's helped with meals at the university president's house, and was part of the team that fed more than 6,000 people in 25 minutes after Freshman Convocation.
But he's also leaving time for traditional retirement activities: biking, fishing, hunting, travel and carpentry work. He's also making sure he gets together with the friends he's made through his work.
A traditional work ethic has contributed to his success and his good work relationships.
"I came from a time when people used to live in the same house all
their lives and work the same occupation all their lives," he said.