When it comes to smiling faces and warm dispositions on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, they don’t come much sunnier than Ron Washington.
Before retiring last fall, Washington worked in the CU Anschutz Facilities Management Department for 21 years. His departure left a void on campus, most notably among the scores of folks who missed Washington’s gregarious nature and ever-present smile.
So, David Turnquist, associate vice chancellor of Facilities Management, thought of a way to bring Washington back to campus: make him the lead ambassador of the campus’s fledgling Ambassador Program. It is actually a revival of an ambassador program that existed many years ago, when volunteers from University of Colorado Hospital staffed an information desk in the lobby of Building 500 (now the Fitzsimons Building) and gave campus tours. The program gradually faded, however.
In the intervening years, CU Anschutz has steadily grown, adding buildings, transportation options and interesting new campus features.
Washington will staff the information desk in the Fitzsimons Building from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ida Lambert, another retiree who spent many years working at CU Anschutz, will soon join Washington as an ambassador. “The hope is that we can get enough retirees to come back and staff the desk five days a week,” Turnquist said.
The ambassadors will lead tours of the Eisenhower Suite, the art walk and main campus attractions, in addition to providing information to visitors inside Fitzsimons.
Washington, Turnquist and Del Quiel, director of Facilities Management, sat down with CU Anschutz Today for a candid chat about the Ambassadors Program and the reason Washington was the “perfect” choice to re-launch the outreach effort. In this podcast, learn about the mischievous ghosts of the Fitzsimons Building, Washington’s penchant for giving hugs and mooching your lunch, and, finally, why he’s known as the “Mayor of Anschutz.”
When asked about the warm reception he’s received since coming back to campus, Washington said, “It motivated me. I never knew I had an effect like that on this campus.”
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