Staff Spotlight: Linda Lopez-Atkins
The Jordan College passes along its congratulations and sincerest thanks to Linda Lopez-Atkins, the Assistant to the Dean, who will officially retire on Friday, September 17 after 35 years of service to our campus agricultural students, faculty and staff.
The Parlier native started on campus in December 1985 working with the ARI and CATI agricultural research programs (and related campus farm areas) through July 2011. In her 26 years as an assistant to the program directors, she was responsible for office management, annual operating plans, and block grant proposals, budgets and other duties.
In that period she was instrumental in the start-up of the California Agricultural Research Institute in 1999, which was housed at Fresno State in the Jordan College. She also provided administrative support to the CSU ARI Board of Governors, coordinated their meetings, and worked with various CSU Chancellor's Office staff and the Chico, Pomona, and San Luis Obispo agricultural colleges on developing ARI policies and procedures. Fresno State faculty and research staff also took advantage of her experience for proposal development and other pre-award processes as well as post-award activities.
She was promoted to the Jordan College Dean's Office in August of 2011. Her duties since then have included office manager responsibilities, college ARI administration, human resources activities and recruitments, faculty retention, tenure and promotion processes, and helping coordinate a host of Jordan College events.
"I first met Linda some 3 decades ago when she was working at the California Agricultural Technology institute," said Dr. Dennis Nef, Dean of the Jordan College. "She helped with registration at the annual Agricultural Business Management Conference and was always smiling and helping others. When I began working with her two years ago, I discovered that in addition to getting along well with others, she was extremely capable at calendaring, keeping lots of balls in the air, and getting things done. She has been a huge asset for me and our team, and we're going to miss her and everything she does for our College."
Help us thank her for all her dedication and and hard work at a retirement ceremony hosted by the Jordan College from 2:30-4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 14 on the lawn next to the Vincent E. Petrucci Viticulture Building (and congratulatory emails can be sent to email@example.com).
Q: How long you have worked at Fresno State & why were you drawn to this position?
Lopez-Atkins: "It is hard to believe it's been 35 years since I was originally hired as a clerical assistant II for the California Agricultural Technology Institute (CATI) in the Jordan College of Ag Sciences and Technology. I was drawn to the position because it was becoming clear at my previous job that major changes and layoffs were coming. I also had two, co-worker friends who had applied and been hired here at Fresno State."
Lopez-Atkins: "Everything happened so fast once I submitted my application, and I received the call for an interview for the next day. I didn't even have time to shop for an 'interview dress' and had to use a dress from my closet. I wanted it to be perfect so I ran home, picked it up and dropped it off at the dry cleaners right before they closed. I explained the situation, and they were able to promise it would be ready first thing the next day. I actually got dressed for my interview in the restroom at the dry cleaners the next morning. Apparently being hired here was just meant to be because it all worked out!"
Q: What are you most passionate about in your field?
Lopez-Atkins: "Everyone in my College has heard this over and over but it's true: I just love my job and my College! I'm impressed daily by the dedication of our faculty and staff and our students are amazing to boot! Our students are so involved with their family farms, businesses, and home communities and don't hesitate to get involved here! Our faculty are so dedicated to their discipline, research and our students."
Lopez-Atkins: "For me, the most enjoyable parts of my job are when our faculty are promoted and tenured and also when our students go through commencement ceremonies. I feel so proud to have had a little hand in helping them through!"
Q: What is a memorable moment you had at your job?
Lopez-Atkins: "My son, Anthony, was about 4 or 5 years old, when he was at my office with his dad when they were picking me up from work that day. It was still early so his dad took him outside to kill time until I got off at 5:00 p.m. The CATI office was right near the dairy, and so they walked over there to see the cows. Turns out, they came upon a cow that was in labor. I'll never forget the look of shock and awe as he came running back in to tell me about the baby calf and how it was born."
Q: What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
Lopez-Atkins: "I love spending time with my granddaughters, Amelia (4), and Alyssandra (3), who live here in town - they are SO fun and hilarious and keep us on our toes. My husband, Rod, and I are also Fresno State football season ticket holders so we love hanging out with our tailgate group and going to the games. We've also been able to go to some of the road games, and we were in Oregon this fall to see them play the Ducks. That was such an intense game and though our Red Wave was small, our football team and fans made a statement in Eugene!"
Q: What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
Lopez-Atkins: "I was voted 'most spirited' my senior year at Parlier High School! (Go Panthers!) I tried out for the cheerleading team my sophomore year but felt intimidated by it all so I quit after a few practices. I guess I was still pretty vocal at our rallies so I should have just stuck it out to get on the cheerleading team!"
Q: Does your family have other ties to Fresno State?
Lopez-Atkins: "My daughter, Andrea Alatorre, is a staff member in the International Programs office on campus. She finally understands why I've been at my job for so long - every day is different and rewarding, and we are all working towards the same goal: to help our students succeed and graduate!"
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
Lopez-Atkins: "It's bittersweet (to be retiring) because this has been a truly amazing place to work, and I've made many wonderful, lifelong friends. It's been an honor and a privilege to work alongside so many wonderful staff, faculty and administrators! I will always cheer for my College and Fresno State! Go Jordan College and Go Bulldogs!"