Sheila Butler winds this clock at the top of central hall. Madeleine Barry | Col­legian

After starting work as a switch­board operator in Central Hall in 1999 and later becoming an exec­utive sec­retary and project manager for the admin­is­tration, Sheila Butler will join her husband in retirement in June.

Butler works under Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé. Her job includes coor­di­nating details of building ren­o­va­tions and capital projects with con­tractors and vendors as well as assisting with payroll prepa­ration.

“She’s really a right-hand person,” Péwé said. “If you look at the job description, there’s more than a couple jobs in there. There are a lot of things she’s in charge of and handles quickly and effi­ciently. It’s the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes things run smoothly.”

Beginning as the switch­board operator and recep­tionist to coor­di­nating fur­niture needs in the Grewcock Student Union and over­seeing the instal­lation of the banners hanging in the Biermann Ath­letic Center, Butler said her job has grown and evolved over the years.

“No two days are alike, and every day is inter­esting,” Butler said. “I wear many hats.”

Péwé said many people with whom Butler has worked over the years have told him of her pro­fes­sional courtesy and effi­ciency — attributes Butler said have been important in her work.

Butler credited her pre­de­cessors and co-workers with helping her develop the office and tele­phone eti­quette she has used in her work with the college.

“You never know who a visitor is on campus,” she said. “No matter who they are, you give them the time they need. If someone’s out on the sidewalk fum­bling with maps or they’re trying to figure out where to go, just ask if you can help them. They’re going to remember the service, the smiles.”

Butler said this prin­ciple was espe­cially evident to her after an elderly gen­tleman came into the office late in the day in 2009 to discuss a painting he wished to donate to the college. Butler said she and a co-worker lis­tened to him politely and showed interest in his expla­na­tions of what the painting looked like. She later found out the man was John Meader, and the oil-on-canvas painting by Edward Hicks was valued at just under $1 million. It is now on display in the Her­itage Room.

In her 19 years at the college, Butler said she has seen major changes in the campus, including the con­struction of the Grewcock Student Union, the Moss Family Lab­o­ratory Wing to Stro­sacker Science Building, the Biermann Ath­letics Center, Howard Musical Hall, Lane and Kendall halls, the AcuSport Lodge at the John A. Halter Shooting Sports Center, as well as the Searle Center in addition to ren­o­va­tions in the Roche Sports Complex and the devel­opment of College Park.

“When I started, instead of Moss and Delp Hall, it was Knowlton Hall and Old Fine Arts, so I got to see those buildings come down and then Moss and Delp go up,” Butler said. “Where Kendall and Lane are, that area was parking lots.”

Butler said she looks forward to spending her time in retirement bicy­cling on local trails, reading, knitting, cro­cheting, and camping, after working for the college for nearly two decades.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to riding the trails,” she said. “I’ve gotten away from that in the past few years.”

Exec­utive Sec­retary to the Dean of Women Carolyn Mil­ligan said Butler will be missed in Central Hall.

“Sheila has been won­derful to work with, and we’ll dearly miss her on the third floor,” Mil­ligan said in an email. “She’s pro­fes­sional, always pos­itive, and very loyal to the college. We love her — it won’t be the same place without her.”