Five minutes with Linda Schumacher

IAN LACK Reporter

Editor’s note: The “Five minutes with” series focuses on a different person each time. The interviewer spends five minutes speaking with a person each week to learn about them, their specialty or something they are passionate about.

Linda Schumacher works on the second floor of Morrill Hall in the President’s Office as the executive administrative assistant to the president of SDSU. Schumacher began working as a secretary in the office in 1972 and has worked with seven SDSU presidents. She is a graduate of Bethany College in Mankato, Minnesota, where she received an associate’s degree in arts and a secretarial science degree.

Q: How would you describe your job and summarize your work?

A: I’m in charge of the president’s calendar so I schedule his meetings and make any changes to his schedule that need to be made. I make all of his travel arrangements for him, write letters, put together materials that he needs for meetings and pay the office bills. I just do so many things, almost without thinking, it’s hard to keep track of things sometimes. 

Q:  Why did you first decide to take this job in 1972?

A: My oldest brother was going to school here at the time … I would come out here, and I thought that the people here are just so friendly, and so I asked my sister-in-law about job opportunities here and she just sent me an application. I filled it out and got a call later asking for an interview in the President’s Office. But what really just drew me here was how nice everyone was and how people just said ‘hi’ to you, even if they didn’t know you.

Q: What was your time on campus like when you first started working here in 1972?

A: Well, there certainly weren’t this many buildings! Since I first came here, we’ve certainly seen the enrollment here increase tremendously. But the students, I would say, are the same for the most part. They’re all still really friendly, and I enjoy working with them. When I first came in here and started working in this office, Human Resources was actually in our office and so we did that work as well. We had typewriters then! Copy machines were just starting. But over the years, we eventually switched to computers. Things became more advanced and easier in a lot of ways.

Q: Do you still feel the same way about this job as when you first started?

A: Oh, I still love it and I love the people I get to work with.

Q: What is challenging about this job position?

A: I would say just managing the president’s calendar and trying to accommodate everyone who would like to have an opportunity to visit with him. You always have to be ready for the unexpected. People might not understand what the president is responsible for. We are always working with the [South Dakota] Board of Regents, the Governor’s Office in Pierre and our local legislators. There’s a lot of people involved.

Q: If you could offer one word of advice to someone who would replace you in this position, what would you say?

A: If there’s a spoke missing out of a wheel, it’s not going to work very well. So, be a team member. Nothing works unless you’re a committed part of any team. And, of course, enjoy what you’re doing. Love the people that you work with.