Through Many Changes, 50-Year Employee Keeps the Work Fresh Every Day

June 1, 2010 — When Asher Conn began his career at the University of Virginia Hospital, inpatient rooms were large wards with curtains separating one patient from the next. Black patients were segregated from white. And attendants, known as orderlies, tended to general patient needs. The year: 1959.

Fifty years later, Conn, now a patient care technician in the operating room, walks these halls with a head full of memories and a tie to the people and purpose of U.Va. that few can claim. He has seen advances in medical technology, the transformation of the Medical Center's physical space and the arrivals and departures of many friends and colleagues.

What hasn't changed in all these years is his reason for being here. "I enjoy helping people," he said.

Conn is one of two staff members celebrating 50 years of employment at the University this year. Beulah E. Washington in Health System Computing Services will also be honored for her five-decade contribution to the Medical Center and the University. Hundreds more employees have been presented with recognition of their 10, 15 and 20 years of service.

Those with 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and one with 55 years of service will be honored June 3 at a banquet at the Boar's Head Inn.

— By Holly Ford

Edwin Spenceley Still Tooling Around

Although he switched to working part-time 10 years ago, after 45 years of working at the University of Virginia, Ed Spenceley, a machinist for the School of Engineering and Applied Science, hasn't rested much. One of his most recent projects involved working with Ryan Johnson, an engineering student who just graduated, and others at U.Va.’s Aerospace Research Laboratory. Spenceley fabricated the igniter for a hypersonic scramjet engine to precise specifications. The equipment will eventually be used in a scramjet flight test.

Machinist Grinds Out Long Career, Piece by Piece

— By Dan Heuchert