UC employee Janice Hutzler, who started working for the university in 1956, celebrated her 60th work anniversary with a party and cake.

Six decades and counting

UC library employee started in 1956, but her career is nowhere near complete

by Fernanda Crescente

Oct. 12, 2016

When Janice Hutzler landed her first job at the University of Cincinnati, students around campus were sock-hopping to Elvis Presley’s chart-topping hit “Heartbreak Hotel.”

And Hutzler, who recently celebrated her 60th work anniversary at the university’s libraries, says she is not leaving anytime soon. 

It all started Oct. 1, 1956, when she was a 20-year-old fresh out of a local business school. That was the day she got her first job in the acquisitions department of the Carl Blegen Library. 

Though Blegen is no longer the university’s main library, Hutzler has been on the job ever since. Today, she is a senior accountant for the libraries.

“So far I enjoy what I do, I don’t have a lot of stress, the people I work with I enjoy,” she says. “It’s a good place to work. You meet a lot of nice people, and it’s just interesting.”

Janice Hutzler stands next to Dean Xuemao Wang at her 60th work anniversary party

Janice Hutzler stands next to UC Libraries Dean Xuemao Wang at her 60th work anniversary party. photos/provided

From moving to the newly built Walter C. Langsam Library in 1978 to being the first library employee to ever have a computer, Hutzler has done it all. At one point, she managed as many as eight employees.

“I used to see computers and advertising and think I was never going to have a computer, never going to have to worry about it,” she says. “You had a pencil and a piece of paper.”

Now, Hutzler is back in the same room where she started, paying the libraries’ collection invoices like she did many years ago. Still, she says much has changed.

For instance, employees have stronger voices now than they ever did before, Hutzler says, and while they spent years trying to keep food out, the library now has its own Starbucks.

“For some people, change is very hard to accept,” she says. “But I like to adapt and make it all work for me. I like change not just for change, but change that is going to make a real difference.”

Hutzler says it’s the people she met along the way that made her want to stay so long. 

One of those people is Tom White, the  head of acquisitions and cataloging. White has worked at the libraries for the past 44 years and has known Hutzler all along. 

“When I joined the acquisitions department I was ‘green,’” he says. “Janice took me under her wing and helped me through those first few months. For that matter, she continues to help me to this day. The fact she accepted me and wanted to help me told me I must be OK.”

Bryan Weng, Tom White, Yu Mao and Dan Gotlieb stand for a picture

UC Libraries employees Bryan Weng, Tom White, Yu Mao and Dan Gotlieb have worked with Janice Hutzler ever since they started their jobs at UC.

Hutzler's colleagues celebrate her career at UC at her 60th work anniversary party

Janice Hutzler's colleagues celebrate her career at UC at her 60th work anniversary party.

But longtime employees are not the only ones to work alongside Hutzler. Yu Mao, a UC graduate who has worked under Hutzler for the past three years both as a student worker and library financial administrator, says she mentors her both professionally and personally.

“The thing I like about Janice is that she is so helpful to me, not only at work but also with my life,” Mao says. “She is a library treasure to me. There is nothing that she doesn’t know.”

Hutzler, who works at the library from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday is never late, Mao says.

There are many benefits to staying in the same company for a long time, though younger generations don’t do it, Hutzler explains. “It should make you better in your work. It should help the company or department that you are working for because you have knowledge and experience.”

In the future, Hutzler says she hopes to see a generation that is even more accepting of change.

“Accept change, accept diversity,” she says. “I think most young people do already. I don’t know that they accept change, but I think that they are very accepting toward diversity. Younger people are more accepting than us. That [diversity] is what makes life good.”

Hutzler’s career at the university is already motivating younger employees like Mao. “Working in the same place for so long — that’s the spirit,” she says. “It’s loyalty. It’s very inspiring to me.”

White agrees. “[Hutzler] is an inspiration for her determination, her love for her job and for doing what is right for the library and university.”

Fernanda Crescente is a senior journalism student and writing intern with UC Magazine.