Campus Faces

You probably want to know, because everyone does, the story of Verdiana Quinn’s unusual name. She was given it by her father, after a nun he knew. Judy Behum, her older sister, remembers: “I begged my father, ‘Please don’t name her Verdiana.’ ” But he did. In fact, he named her Verdiana Theresa. This may explain the “Mother Superior” nameplate on her desk at the Seminary. That’s what Neil Reenock, the wiseacre of Facilities Services, calls her.

Judith Behum, Verdiana Quinn, and Katherine Shear represent more than 35 years of staff experience and at least triple that in sisterhood.

They began life as the Hazlinsky sisters of Catasauqua. They grew up there as members of St. Lawrence parish. (Judy and Verdi still are members.) And they all work at Moravian.

It turns out that the magnet was Verdi, who started at Moravian on the easy-to-remember date of 8/8/88 as coordinator at the Media Center. In 1993 she moved to Moravian Theological Seminary, where she was first office manager, then assistant to the dean. “I’m still all those, and now I’m also the registrar,” she says.

Judy worked for 23 years at Sears as a part-time cashier, balancing out the day’s receipts. But Sears insisted that its office be open whenever the sales floor was open, which meant Saturdays and many holidays. “I hated working Saturdays and holidays,” said Judy. “And Verdi said one day: ‘Why don’t you come over to Moravian?’ I thought: ‘At this stage of my life?’ But I did, and I’ve worked here 13 years today.” [She was interviewed on February 5.]

Judy is a secretary in Facilities Services, where she takes care of payroll, maintains personnel records, issues work orders, and answers the telephone. But she’s been called upon to plant flowers outside Colonial Hall, inspect dorm rooms between conferences during the heavily scheduled summer term, and even to clean out after overflow students, who have left behind everything from mummified pizza to unmentionable unmentionables. “Other duties as required,” she says, rolling her eyes.

Kathy is a user-support specialist with the Center for Information Technology, where she has worked almost eight years. She started in the work force as a cutter for the Greif Co., an Allentown firm that made high-quality men’s suits. When new owners closed the Allentown plant, Kathy went back to school at the Information Computer Systems Institute, where she got an associate’s degree in specialized business, business data-processing and personal-computer administration.

She, too, got a heads-up from Verdi about a job opening in her field at Moravian. She started at CIT as an office manager, then moved to the help desk, and now troubleshoots all over campus. She will soon receive her A+ certification in computer hardward and software. “It’s a good thing to have when you’re in computers,” she says.

Verdi used her tuition benefits to earn a degree in sociology (with a minor in women’s studies) in 1998. Her daughter, Kara Donnelly, graduated from Moravian in December 2002.

The sisters live close together, and their immediate families are not far away. Kathy and Verdi live at the north and south ends of Third Street in Catasauqua, and Judy is just over on Fifth Street. (“We’ve been Catty all our lives,” Judy says.) Though they work within a minute’s walk from one another, they rarely run across each other on campus. Verdi and Judy are deskbound. Kathy says: “The only time I see ’em is when I’m out on call.”

Judy Behum, Kathy Shear, and Verdi Quinn