30 years at Fresno State; Q&A with Ruth Aparicio

Ruth Aparicio in her office

In August 1990, Ruth Aparicio was brought on as a temporary worker in the Graduate Studies office. Just weeks later, she was hired as a full-time employee.  She transferred to the Linguistics Department several years later, then to the Philosophy Department. In all, Ruth has been with the College of Arts and Humanities for about 25 years.

We sat down with Ruth, virtually of course, to hear what she had to say about her time at Fresno State, sitting adjacent to “The Phil Zone” (the Philosophy Department conference room) and hear her favorite memories.

First of all, on behalf of the College of Arts and Humanities and the Philosophy Department, congratulations on being at Fresno State for 30 years. Is there anything you’d like to say?
It amazes me how fast 30 years went by. I have worked on campus for half of my life.

Why did you first apply to Fresno State? What was your first job?
Honestly, I was looking for employment that provided good benefits and a Monday-Friday workweek.  I took the exam to apply for a State of California job, and I applied with a temp agency.  When I asked the temp agency about jobs at Fresno State, I was told they had their own temporary pool, so I applied in HR to the temporary pool around the end of July 1990.  I started a temporary position at the beginning of August 1990 as the receptionist in the Graduate Studies office. I applied for the open position and was hired permanently on August 31, 1990. In late 1995 or early 1996, I accepted a position in the Linguistics Department as an Administrative Assistant. 

Do you remember your first day?
I remember Eddie Adams in HR, walking me to the Graduate Studies Office in the Thomas Building. At the time, Greg Varela was a student assistant working in Grad Studies, and he sat at a desk behind me.  I asked Greg a lot of questions. He was very patient, always helpful.  I don’t know if it was the first day, but I do remember feeling that the campus was like its own little city within the City of Fresno. 

How long have you been in the Philosophy Department?
I started on July 1, 2000—so almost 20 years, four months.  I replaced Joan Fernside, who retired after working in Philosophy for more than 25+ years.

What do you love most about your job? What is your favorite part?
The variety of work, there is repetition, but it cycles by semester.  I like the interaction with students; students study and meet in the conference room next to the department office.  I overhear many interesting student discussions from the conference room.  My favorite part is convocation; the students are so excited (as they should be) to graduate.

How has your job changed over the years? How has it stayed the same?
Mainly how we do the work has changed: we do the same work, but now most of it is done on a computer.  University admission applications, student add/drops, absence reporting, schedule changes and lecturer contracts all were done on paper forms.  We still complete the same tasks, but now everything is done online on a computer.  

Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Fresno State?
The first Staff Awards Luncheon I attended was at the end of Spring 1991.  Just as they do now at STAR Day, staff were introduced by their years of service.  When they called on the staff who had 30 years of service to come to the stage, I turned to my friend Helen sitting next to me and said, “30 Years!”  I couldn’t imagine 30 years of service, and now here I am at 30 years.  I still think of that every year at STAR Day. 

How about in the last five years?
The Philosophy Department used to hold a department convocation ceremony. Each graduating student was announced by name and given the opportunity to speak to the audience.  I loved to hear them thank their families and share their experiences as undergraduates.  Now we host a reception for students and families, which is still really nice but it is not quite the same.

What are you looking forward to?
First, I look forward to everyone returning to campus (students, staff & faculty)—back to some resemblance of normal.  Second, a colleague tells me I can’t retire until the new student union is completed, so I guess I am looking forward to the completion of the new student union although I don’t have any definite plans for retirement, but it will be here before I know it.

Is there anything I missed? Anything you’d like to add?
I have to say working in the Philosophy Department is like working with friends, and I miss seeing my friends.

We miss seeing you too Ruth. Congratulations on 30 years!

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Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Communication Specialist

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