200 Days in the Life of the College

Friday, August 20, 2010

One who makes it all run

By Jeff Cardoni ’11

Even on a campus built largely of stone and concrete, Hamilton students manage to find ways to break things. Cabinets, furniture, paneling and basically anything made out of wood can be snapped, chipped and scratched from clumsiness, recklessness and simple wear and tear. For 29 years, Ron Whitford has been working hard to keep Hamilton’s campus looking great.

In the wood shop on Griffin Road, Whitford and the carpenters on the Physical Plant staff have an arsenal of tools to repair and maintain the College’s infrastructure. “We’re kind of mobile,” Whitford says of the carpentry team. Less than a week before classes start, Whitford is busy building and repairing all manner of fixtures, from screens to podiums to whiteboard frames.

His tasks take him all over campus. “The whole College is a great place to work,” he says. “A project can take a few weeks once in a while, but we usually have a lot of different work orders, and we get to see a lot of people.” Indeed, meeting professors and students is his favorite part of the job, so when it came time for his two daughters to attend college, Whitford was elated that each was able to get “an amazing education” at Hamilton.

Today Angela ’99 is a high school principal, while Virginia ’00 works with at-risk youth in Utica. As Whitford contemplates retirement, during which he hopes “to travel and check out baseball parks across the country,” he can take pride in his contributions to Hamilton. But what makes him particularly proud are his daughters — and with good reason. He has cared for students’ needs for nearly 30 years, and having graduated from Hamilton, his daughters will continue to do the same.