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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A Pearl in the president’s office

    Pearl Byrne stands in the doorway to President Robert Sheltons office. Byrne has worked in the presidents office for more than a year.
    Pearl Byrne stands in the doorway to President Robert Shelton’s office. Byrne has worked in the president’s office for more than a year.

    Pearl Byrne has worked in the Office of the President for over a year. Sharing office space with President Robert Shelton and other members of the administrative staff, Byrne is usually the first person you speak to when calling the president’s office. Always cheerful and enthusiastic, Byrne shares a bit about her job, her life and what she most looks forward to at the beginning of the day.

    Wildcat: Tell us a little bit about your job.

    Pearl Byrne: I really enjoy what I do. The first important thing is to greet individuals at the office and refer them to who they need to see, and the second is answering phones and directing callers to the appropriate person. I have been working in the Office of the President for a year and four months. Before that I was at the Office of the General Council for four and a half years.

    W: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happen in the office?

    PB: It’s not so much crazy, but when President (Peter) Likins was getting ready to retire we were planning a farewell luncheon for him with a Hawaiian theme. I am from Hawaii, so I am familiar with hula, and all of the office staff got together and learned to do the hula and at the luncheon we performed the dance for Likins and his wife.

    W: Have you ever had to call security on anyone?

    PB: Not on anyone in particular. We do call them sometimes when situations arise, and we ask for their advice and guidance. We work collaboratively with all departments on campus, which includes UAPD.

    W: Do you ever hear administrative secrets? You don’t have to tell us what they are!

    PB: Honestly, no.

    W: What do you do for fun outside of the office?

    PB: Outside of the office I like to spend time with my two sisters, who live here in Tucson. On the weekends I run errands leisurely, and I also love going to Christian thrift stores and Goodwill just to wander around and find something fun.

    W: You have worked in the Office of the President with both Likins and Shelton. Was there a period when things were upset, or out of balance, during the transition between presidents, or has it all gone smoothly?

    PB: Things have always been pretty smooth. President Shelton has done an excellent job with the transition.

    W: Do you ever get angry phone calls from outsiders at the office (i.e., people who are unhappy with budget cuts). How do you handle that?

    PB: People aren’t usually angry when they call as much as they are frustrated. We get a number of calls from parents, but a lot of the time it is just to let the president’s office be aware of how they feel. For every need there is usually a specific office to direct them to. We try to handle everything professionally, but occasionally there are ombuds (third-party conflict resolution) people that are available to assist us if need be.

    W: What do you most look forward to at the beginning of the day?

    PB: I just look forward to waking up every day and knowing that it will be a bright, sunny, beautiful day. That’s what’s great about Arizona and that’s why we moved here from Hawaii, because every day when you wake up and look around, it’s beautiful.

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