This month I want to take the opportunity to note the passing of a longtime friend and University Business colleague, Terry Nelson.
Careful readers of UB may recognize her name from our masthead, a spot she occupied for more than a decade as our Midwest sales manager.
Because she lived in the Chicago area, we interacted most often by phone or e-mail, but when we did meet at higher education industry events, Terry would always greet me with a hug, as though I were a long lost friend.
As I was considering how to pay tribute to her in this note, I recalled what might have been my first "Terry moment," an event that took place at NACUBO back in 2001.
I was still relatively new to the higher education field, and was eager to make a good impression with the people I was scheduled to meet at the conference.
One appointment on my list was with a firm that worked in the facilities management area. I was interested to speak with them and learn more about what they did.
I stopped by their booth and introduced myself to a man named Mike. He was happy to tell me about the company and discuss what some of their client schools were doing.
We had been having a nice conversation for several minutes when Terry walked up beside me and made a snide comment about the shirt Mike was wearing.
My initial reaction was that I must have misheard what she said, so I pretended nothing happened, and I continued with my questions.
But Mike heard it, and he returned the comment with a pointed insult of his own.
Now I was a bit tense. This was not professional behavior at all and I feared it might escalate, which, of course, it did.
Terry made another caustic remark - about what, I don't recall now. I just know that I was in panic mode.
I glared at her and whispered angrily through clenched teeth, "Terry, what do you think you're doing?"
She looked at me innocently and said, "Oh, didn't I introduce you to my brother?"
"We talk like this all the time," Mike explained.
The three of us later went to lunch, where I was treated to funny stories about their childhood. I also learned that day that Terry and I had several common acquaintances through other publications for which we had worked. Small world, anyone?
I have many fond memories of "hanging out" with Terry at various conferences over the years. There are photos of us visiting Pearl Harbor when NACUBO went to Hawai'i. On another occasion, we watched a Chicago Cubs game not from stadium seats but from rooftop bleachers (complete with barbecue grills) built on one of the low-rise brick buildings that ring Wrigley Field. That's a great way to see the game.
Terry was a good friend, and I know that at the next conference I attend I will miss her warm humor and her friendly smile.
Write to Tim Goral at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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