Terry Gorman will retire from Macalester after 37 years
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Terry Gorman will retire from Macalester after 37 years

Terry Gorman’s office is filled with memorabilia, including this poster, which the St. Paul Police Department uses for target practice. Gorman says he is often stopped on the street by police officers who recognize him from the poster. Photo by Steph Shimota ’17.
Terry Gorman’s office is filled with memorabilia, including this poster, which the St. Paul Police Department uses for target practice. Gorman says he is often stopped on the street by police officers who recognize him from the poster. Photo by Steph Shimota ’17.

At the end of this year, Director of Environmental Health, Safety & Security Terry Gorman will retire. Gorman, a stronghold of the Macalester staff for the past thirty-seven years, announced his retirement in late November of last year.

Gorman first came to Macalester with his family when his wife, Jeri Gorman, was offered a position as a residence hall director. The Gormans lived on-campus, in Dupre, along with their two daughters. The family later moved to Wallace Hall. During that time, Gorman began helping members of Facilities with various projects. Before long, Gorman was offered a position with Facilities as a tradesperson and groundsperson.
Gorman quickly climbed the ranks and eventually became director of the staff.

Once Gorman leaves, his responsibilities will be split into two separate positions: Director of Environmental Health and Director of Safety & Security. According to Gorman, it has become necessary for this division to occur.

“There’s lots of government reporting with [this job], and [the responsibilities] have grown significantly over the past few years,” Gorman said. “I was lucky that I sort of ‘grew up’ with it.”

Many have already applied for the new positions, and interviews are expected to start soon. Once the two new staff members are selected, they will be trained by Gorman.

“There’s just a lot of historical information, and a lot of things that the people need to know to start up. I think it will be very helpful for the new people to be able to [receive this training]” Gorman said.

Gorman is leaving with many fond memories of Macalester, including the chance to meet famous visitors to the college, such as Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Kofi Annan and the Dalai Lama.

Gorman has also participated in the Scottish Fair, an event that used to be held at Macalester. It was here that Gorman first entertained the notion of wearing a kilt.

“I started working the fair, and at some point along the way, I borrowed a kilt from the pipe band and wore that for a few years,” Gorman said. “So then, in the mid-eighties or so, the pipe band went out for new kilts. I asked if I could buy one, because I wanted to get the Macalester tartan. I bought that, and I’d already gotten the socks and the trappings that go with it, and I got a jacket from one of the vendors [at the Scottish Fair.] So I sort of put that together. Then I started wearing it a lot.”

According to Gorman, a lot of weather-related events stick out as being memorable.

“I can remember being out on Grand Avenue right by Turck Hall, and a lightning strike hit an electric pole and knocked the wires down, but the wires were still hot, and they were dangling down, just sparking and arcing,” Gorman said. “We kept people away from that, and then when it was all over, [we saw that] it had turned the sand into glass. It was very, very powerful.”

Gorman has been on top of every building on campus, excluding Old Main.

“When I was doing trade stuff, I was working with all kinds of contractors,” Gorman said. “We’re paying them to do stuff, and of course there could be that opportunity for them to shortchange the work, or not do the work that they had claimed, because you can’t get up there to see it. But I would get up there and check it out.”

From greeting students on their first move-in day to doing security at events while clad in his signature kilt, Terry Gorman has been a part of many students’ time here at Macalester. For most, he was the first staff person they encountered upon beginning journey at Macalester.

Gorman, donning his traditional Scottish attire, directed traffic and greeted families as new students moved into the residence halls and began to get adjusted. “I love to be there for the parents, and the students. Greeting and meeting you is just so much fun,” Gorman said. “It’s that great first connection. For you the student, you are just overwhelmed, and yes, you remember that I was there, and that’s cool. Your parents probably remember even more so.”

It all comes full circle four years later at commencement.

“At commencement, I will see parents that I haven’t seen for at least four years. They’ll show up for their child, and they’ll say, “I remember you!” Gorman said.

Gorman is quick not to take too much credit, however, humbly acknowledging that: “I’m just one of the little cogs that make this all work … That’s what I like about Macalester. Everyone shares in that learning of the student. I can’t think of anybody who doesn’t step up and make that work.”

“I mean, we all genuinely feel like we’re helping you in learning and getting your way through to your degree And it really makes a difference!” Gorman said. “I mean, I think a lot of places do that, but I think we do it extraordinarily well.”

“You know, I’ve just been very fortunate to get into this job and have a place that’s just so much fun to work in.” Gorman continued. “It’s just been a great run.”

March 6, 2015

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