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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Doug Gilmer retires after 46 years of service

“Doug represents what the world should be.” said Senida Kuljuh. “He has gone through a lot of hardships, but he is a living legend of being the change that he would want to see in the world. He has changed a lot of people’s lives in the community.” After 46 years of working in dining services, Doug Gilmer spent his last day as an employee at Guilford on Jan. 30. That day the Guilford community got together in the dining hall to honor Gilmer for his work and his friendship and to remind him of how much he will be missed.

In 2005 Gilmer received the Charlie Hendricks ’40 Distinguished Service Award from the Alumni Association, which recognizes people for prolonged and distinguished service to the college.

The cafeteria was completely full as students, former and current faculty, staff, administration members, family and friends of Doug Gilmer gathered in the dining hall.

At the ceremony Gilmer sat with family including his wife Carolyn at the front of the room, as many shared memories of Gilmer and reflected on how he has influenced their lives.

Sophomore Juliet Carrington recalled last winter when she was in financial trouble and Gilmer offered to buy her ticket home to Maine.

“The amount you’ve given to people, if people could give it back to you, you’d be a millionaire,” Carrington said, addressing Gilmer. “You’d live in a mansion. Because you just give so much and never ask for anything in return.”

Senida Kuljuh has known Gilmer since 2002 when she came to Guilford as a student and began working with him in the dining hall in 2003. “He was very welcoming when we met. He wanted to know my story,” said Kuljuh. “Doug is always interested in where people come from. I was glad to have someone wanting to hear my story. Doug is an active listener and he is open-minded.” Kuljuh said that these qualities make Gilmer a good problem-solver. “If you ever have an issue or a problem, Doug will listen to you and then help you see al the possibilities,” said Kuljuh. “He would show you all the ways that you can solve it and no matter what he would guide you through whatever you are going through.”

Lisa Harris who has worked in the dining hall for 21 years said that she will miss Doug’s “friendship” most of all.

“Even though I am just as old as he is, Doug is like a father figure to me maybe because my father also worked here,” said Harris. “I will miss having someone to talk to, someone who will listen to me and I will miss hearing Doug sing. I love to hear him sing. He won’t sing in front of you but he has the most beautiful voice. He could have been famous.”

Kuljuh said that to her Doug Gilmer is not only a colleague, but she also considers him a father.

“I would be very honored to call Doug my father,” said Kuljuh. “He is always there for me and for my son Josh and for my husband. He is family.”

Tina Gilmer, Doug’s sister, has worked in the dining hall for about 31 years. Gilmer said that she has six brothers but that she has a special relationship with Doug. “Doug would take care of me,” said Gilmer. “When we go somewhere I have nothing to worry about because he and his wife would take care of me.” She said that even though she will miss working with Gilmer, it is best that he retires.

“I think it’s best for Doug after being here for so long,” said Gilmer. “I want him to get the respect he deserves and to rest. God might have better plans for him.”

Instead of making a speech Gilmer gave his prepared message for former staff member Ellen Parker to read.

In the message Gilmer thanks all of the students, faculty and staff members for their well wishes.

“If I could just say one thing as I leave, it would be to remind everyone that it’s all about the students,” he wrote.

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