Picture working at a health center. Long shifts, mountains of paperwork, echoes of students coughing and phones ringing probably come to mind.
Not when Karen Kammer is around.
Kammer, who worked as office manager of Miami University’s Student Health Center for 26 years, loved her job and made those around her love theirs, too.
“I loved it here,” Kammer said. “My biggest passion is helping students. I’ve helped them with insurance; I’ve helped them with medical issues over the years.”
Kammer and her colleagues brought light to the office by turning lunchtime into mini parties, with catered food and potlucks.
“[The medical director] said one day, ‘You would find anything to party for around here,’” Kammer said. “So we laughed and decided we would do a national pickle day in his honor.”
The next day, Kammer and her colleagues brought in pickles that were dressed up in outfits ranging from a snowman to a sunbather.
“He was just flabbergasted that we would do something like that,” Kammer said. “I loved being able to have fun along with [the job].”
After working at the health center, Kammer moved to the Office of Student Life, working as an administrative assistant.
Lyndsey Tonyan, an administrative assistant for the Dean of Students, is Kammer’s colleague and works closely with her in Warfield Hall.
“She’s the best. Hands down the sweetest person,” Tonyan said. “It’s easy to talk about Karen because she’s just, down to her core, a really good person.”
Tonyan said she’ll miss the unexpected moments of laughter and inside jokes that Kammer brought to the workplace.
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“She’s got a really quick wit; her jokes will kind of come out of nowhere,” Tonyan said. “We’re always laughing in the office.”
Tonyan said that although she’ll miss her, Kammer has earned her retirement. One of her biggest contributions to Miami was her role in making the Student Health Service an independent entity.
“She’s a very humble person; she would never be boastful about some of her accomplishments,” Tonyan said. “She’s like that calm, behind-the-scenes leader type.”
True to her nature, Kammer said she’ll miss the people at Miami the most.
“Some of my best friends right now, and my one truly best friend, I’ve met here at Miami,” Kammer said. “Those are things you can’t put a price tag on. The feeling of being helpful. The feeling of being appreciated.”
Kammer said she is looking forward to reading and helping take care of her granddaughter when she retires. When she looks back on her time at Miami, she remembers it fondly.
“There’s tons of things that are just very special about working at Miami,” Kammer said. “It’s been a wonderful place to work. They’ve been very kind. It’s been a nice ride.”