In total, the Weldons have worked 70 years for UF
November 20, 2020
This fall is the end of an era – Susie and Curtis Weldon celebrate their retirement after working a combined 70 years for University of Florida, the majority in the College of Health & Human Performance. Susie is the office manager and Curtis is an engineer. Both are in what is now the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology (APK), a name that’s changed over the years.
As the office manager, Susie oversees the administrative budget and payroll for the department which has grown and morphed over time. In addition, she manages the day-to-day, making sure absences are covered and projects completed.
As the engineer for APK, Curtis manages the lab equipment, research spaces and assisting with research-related technology needs. When Curtis began working with the college, the college had four laboratories. The number of labs today has grown to 17.
The couple met and married in Georgia. While Curtis started his career at Procter and Gamble, it was a position working with the UF Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering that brought them to Gainesville, starting their tenure with the university and raising their family nearby. Curtis’s initial job had him traveling throughout Florida setting up and wiring weather stations. This was in the days before the internet, but the skills required would serve him throughout his career at UF.
Susie started her career in the Florida Gym after replying to an advertisement in the Gainesville Sun. The registrar was looking for part-time employees to assist during “add-drop” week, a manual, paper-running process that took place on the gymnasium floor. Within the week, she was asked to return and ultimately it's that experience that has led her to where she is today.
Both of their jobs have morphed over the years. Curtis’s first job in the college was working for the dean’s office, specifically with the five computers initially installed and then building out the college’s first computer network. He remembers the infancy of the internet and teaching faculty how to use email. Susie and Curtis would have discussions over the usefulness and practicality of computers versus typewriters.
While technology has evolved over the years and both their jobs keep them engaged, it’s the people that have kept the Weldon’s at the college. They both shared a smile when talking about the students they’ve watched come through the Florida Gym, graduate and come back – sharing pride in their accomplishments.
“People are genuine – it’s like a family in APK and the college,” said Susie. “I think our college is more like a family when I compare it to other places.”
“The most rewarding is whenever you have helped a student that is in need and you’re able to assist them and it makes a difference in their stay at UF,” said Curtis. “Sometimes, you don’t even know you made that big of an impact until they let you know later on that it really helped them a lot – it makes you really proud.”
Some of these students – Drs. Chris Janelle, Steven Coombes and Dan Connaughton – have returned as faculty. Many of these colleagues, Shari Mack, Lori Myers, Diane Davis (to name a few), have been around throughout their tenure. Throughout it all, it’s the personal milestones they experienced with the community here that they’ll remember the most.
The couple is looking forward to traveling the country without a schedule. With a son and a daughter, and their families nearby, they look forward to spending more time together. This spring, they will welcome their first great-grandchild.
Congratulations, Susie and Curtis! We wish you a happy retirement!