Employees Eddie Morris and Louella Walker: Dedicated to U.Va. for 100 Years

June 9, 2009 — Two long-serving University of Virginia employees, Edward Morris of Earlysville and Louella J. Walker of Charlottesville, will be honored Wednesday along with other longtime employees at a banquet at the Boar's Head Inn.

Morris and Walker have each clocked in 50 years. Morris works in Facilities Management, and Walker works at the Health System Cancer Center Clinic.

Wednesday's dinner honors employees who have put in 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years of service. Employees with 10, 15 and 20 years of service and winners of the University's Outstanding Contribution Awards were honored May 29 at a reception at John Paul Jones Arena.

Louella Walker, the Heart of U.Va. Health System's Cancer Center Clinic

Louella Walker's patients adore her, said Jane Gildersleeve, her supervisor and manager of the University of Virginia Health System's Cancer Center. Walker has been caring for patients in several different hospital units for 50 years, the last 30 in the Cancer Center.

"She is the epitome of patient-centered care," Gildersleeve said.

Walker, 72, started work at U.Va. in 1957 as a student nurse, a year before graduating from what was then the U.Va. School of Practical Nursing. As an LPN, she began working the next year on a unit for thoracic-cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic ailments that housed only white, male patients.

A Charlottesville resident, she met her husband, who was an orderly, the same year. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Starting in 1961, Walker worked in the orthopedic unit for nine years. She then went to work in outpatient surgery and helped to set up the Cancer Center in the primary care clinic. When the Cancer Center moved, she moved with it and coordinated several clinics under the umbrella of the center.

She has remained an employee there, but eased back to part-time status after 42 years, now working two or three days a week.

"Louella is respectful and professional to every person she meets," Gildersleeve said. "She leads by example."

In 1996, Walker received the Medical Center's "Employee of the Month" award.

Highlights of her distinguished career include "meeting people from all walks of life," Walker said, and providing service to others while working in the Cancer Center.

Her colleagues said they hope she never retires.

Eddie Morris, Keeping it Hot and Cool Over Five Decades of Changes

Eddie Morris, 70, started work at the University on Aug. 16, 1957, when Facilities Management was known as Buildings and Grounds. His current supervisor Larry Dorrier, who has worked at U.Va. for 30 years, said Morris has seen a lot of changes as a member of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning team.

"In the early years, there was very little air conditioning at all in the buildings on Grounds. If there was, it would most likely have just been window units," Dorrier said. "Now it is a given that every building have air conditioning year-round – and some very complicated systems at that – but Eddie has adapted well with the changes.

"I think Eddie must be drinking the same water as Dick Clark, because year after year his appearance and his agility never seem to fade."

Maybe part of his secret is his positive outlook and "can-do" attitude, which Dorrier said contributed to the successful completion of projects and repairs, not to mention the resolution of many emergencies.

"Eddie is always reliable, always willing to tackle the job no matter how difficult or challenging," Dorrier said.

"Everyone says Eddie is a colleague and friend who can always be depended upon. He understands the value of excellent customer service and has always put his customers first."

Dedicated to U.Va., Morris retired in 1991 but decided that he enjoyed his work here so much, according to Dorrier, he came back as a temporary employee a few months later. He now works about 25 hours per week.

His Facilities Management colleagues missed him, Dorrier said, and appreciate his return.

— By Anne Bromley