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The Boulder

Tony Robertson, a Greencastle native and third-generation facilities worker, embodies DePauw. His office walls hold a lot of history, and he’s proud to share what has kept him here for 37 years.

His tenure began as a painter in 1982 when he was hired by Bruce Collins, former physical plant director and grandfather to Clay Carter, director of IT technical services and coordinator of media services.

“Bruce took a chance on a kid who had no experience, and gave me an opportunity. And I’ll never forget that,” Robertson says.

He attributes the path to his current position of director of facilities care and space management as “a natural progression over time.” Robertson’s job is to lead the university’s maintenance and client services teams, including groundskeeping, facility service providers and space/event planning.

But to Robertson, his role at DePauw and his relationship to the place are a whole lot more.

His father and grandfather as well as his wife, along with their three daughters, have been employed by DePauw. “So, I guess to say DePauw is part of the Robertson family, or more important, we are part of the DePauw family, goes without saying.”

DePauw men’s basketball coach Bill Fenlon “says it best,” Robertson says. “‘We’re in the relationship business.’ And that’s what DePauw is all about.”

Robertson relishes his role as facilities management team liaison to the president’s office for Ubben Lectures and guest speaker logistics. “I don’t know if there is another place where I could have worked where I could stand in the same room as presidents or prime ministers or sports figures or entertainers. 

“Few people have an opportunity to even see these people, and we’re in the same room with them.”

Robertson says he’s inspired by the variety of his work and the people he encounters everyday. “I could be talking to the president or to a facilities person on their first day on the job or someone on campus interviewing for a coaching position, and I love it.”

And while some might complain after so many years of inhabiting the same office space, not Robertson. It has given him plenty of fodder for the stories he likes to tell. 

“Many of the things in here have a story, and I like stories. I believe that one of facilities’ roles is to tell building stories, and why we need them fixed or why is this here or why is that not here.”

Well then, in regard to current construction projects on campus, when will we see the light at the end of the tunnel? “That’s a great question,” he says. “Hopefully never. Hopefully, we’re always in a bit of disarray, which means we’re improving or changing. And I’m not a great proponent of change, but I think in the world we live in today, especially in higher ed, we have to.”

Given Robertson’s outgoing personality, it’s no surprise how he describes his role at DePauw: “I truly believe I’m in the relationship business – whether that is a relationship with a customer or whether that’s a relationship with a coworker, whether that’s a relationship with an outside vendor or whether that’s a relationship with students. That’s how I approach my job.”

DePauw men’s basketball coach Bill Fenlon “says it best,” Robertson says. “‘We’re in the relationship business.’ And that’s what DePauw is all about.”

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