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By Ernie W. Webb III | firstname.lastname@example.org
About 30 minutes after I’d finished interviewing new Alumni Association board of directors president John Haverty, his name came up during a subsequent interview with Alan Bearman, dean, Mabee Library.
“What a great guy,” Bearman said. “He does so much for Washburn. If you poked him, he’d bleed blue.”
I couldn’t have said it better. Haverty’s ties to Washburn are extensive. He received a bachelor of arts in computer information systems in 1999, is the university’s assistant director of user services and has served on the alumni board since 2010.
Haverty, a Topeka resident, officially became the president of the alumni board in July when Roger VanHoozer’s term expired.
I sat down with Haverty for a Q&A session:
How did you end up at Washburn?
I was born in Lawrence. My dad went to (The University of Kansas), he wanted me to go to Kansas, and I was a big KU fan. So I started off there and was in a fraternity. I transferred to Washburn in 1994. I did the commute from Lawrence for the first year, then moved over to Topeka and stayed here in the dorms. I had a blast – probably too much fun. It turned out to be the perfect place for me.
When did you start working at Washburn?
I was a student worker here in 1994. I moved up to do training seminars for the staff here, then in 1999 became a full-time staff member. It was a migration of what I was doing as a student – seminars, documentation, that type of thing.
I continued working here and have been here ever since, so I’ve been working here nearly 20 years.
What does your job entail?
I manage user services, which includes PC/Mac support, as well as the call center. I also manage the phone system for the campus. I lead 11 people in user services. I monitor all support ticket and make sure they are moving along.
I remember when I first started working here full-time that staying here was not the plan. I thought it’d be a one- or two-year thing. I had aspirations of being in Kansas City in an IT department at a corporate company. I had no plans of being here this long, but I’m glad I’ve stayed. It’s a great place to work and a lot of great people work here. I decided I will retire from Washburn, so my wife and I moved to Topeka about six years ago.
How did you get involved in the Alumni Association?
One of the very first things I did was going to a football game several years back. It was the last game of the season, and a friend of mine and I decided to go to a football game and check things out. We were surprised at the tailgating and how much was going on. We had some hot dogs and beer and really enjoyed the alumni tailgate. Then we went into the game and the stands were packed. That kind of hooked me.
After that I started going to After Hours and getting more involved. Eventually I was asked if I’d be interested in joining the board. After hearing about it, I was interested and went through the process of getting on the board.
What are some of your goals as president of the board?
I’ve been developing some ideas after talking to others. I think we can grow membership, as well as sustain the members we have. That’s the primary goal. The Alumni Association has a lot to offer. I have friends who attend events at other schools and they’ve come up for some of our events, like tailgates. They’re surprised that the cost is so low. You have to shell out some money elsewhere to do some of the things we do at Washburn. It’s a huge draw.
What’s your favorite memory of Washburn?
There are so many. I think that first tailgate is one of them. It’s crazy how we stumbled upon it. I also enjoy the faculty/staff golf tournaments. That’s a great way to meet and talk to people in other departments.
Hometown: Lawrence, Kan.
Family: Wife Carrie Haverty, who he met on a cruise. “I was traveling with a group called the Traveling Tornadoes, which was about 150 people from the area. We met and just hit it off. She still teases me about getting off easy because everything is pretty much paid for on a cruise.”
Hobbies: Running, golf, going to the lake and watching college basketball.
On his iPod: “A mix of stuff. Some easy listening like James Taylor, but it’s not one specific style.”
Favorite movie: “Hoosiers,” “Rudy,” “The Natural,” “Shawshank Redemption.”
Favorite TV show: “Big Bang Theory,” “Seinfeld,” “Mad Men.”
Did you know?: John served as chairman of the staff council at Washburn.