This week, Student Union Event Planning Coordinator Ly Flock will say goodbye to the University of New Mexico, a place she has called home for over 30 years.
Having grown up in Belen, Flock is a native New Mexican and longtime Lobo. She has worked for the University Student Union Building (SUB) since 1984, when she was a sophomore.
“I worked in the bowling alley where the movie theatre is now,” she said, “I was hired to work for the National Youth Summer Program. That’s where I started out.”
After receiving her B.B.A. in Finance from Anderson School of Management, Flock was hired on full-time as an Accounting Tech. Soon after she was appointed a higher position as Catering Manager, overseeing various events in the University SUB.
“I still remember how my hands got a little shaky and my face turned red as I answered that first phone call from our client. Needless to say I got over my shyness pretty quickly and genuinely enjoyed taming the fast paced and stressful catering life for the past 18 years,” Flock said.
Having worked with seven different University presidents along with other well-known names, Flock has had her fair-share of planning. She noted that one of the most stressful catering events she has ever planned was Bill Clinton’s visit to UNM. The secret service team made sure to do a background check on every employee and watched as all the food was prepared for the President.
“He barely even took maybe three bites of his food,” Flock explained, “He was there to give a speech, not to eat. But nonetheless it was a fun event. I love being behind-the-scenes for events like that.”
After working for UNM for over three decades, Flock has seen the university change in ways most don’t realize. She worked in various buildings around campus while the SUB was being remodeled, until its grand opening in 2003.
Flock stated that her favorite part of her job was working with a variety of people and watching students grow. Her favorite event to coordinate is graduation, she says, because of the happy faces she sees on the students, knowing they have accomplished their goals.
“I’ll definitely miss the people,” she said.
Flock said that one of her favorite memories is having one of her student drive the small catering van so that she could hold down the food cart in the back and keep it steady, while almost falling over herself.
She has worked with numerous departments and organizations across UNM including the President's office and Staff Council. Antonette Martinez, a program planner in the President's office said: "I had the pleasure of working with Ly for many years. I found her to be a constant professional in even the most frantic situation.
“Ly is extremely responsive, her attention to detail is extraordinary, and I came to reply on her expertise. I admire her spirit of service and appreciate her work ethic, intelligence and kindness. She will be missed."
Kathy Meadows, Staff Council administrator said: "Ly is one of the most dedicated and conscientious employees I've ever had the pleasure to work with. She has gone out of her way to help me ensure that all of the Staff Council staff appreciation events ran smoothly and that all the guests had a pleasant experience. Her customer service skills are top notch, her professionalism is above average and her commitment to excellence is evident in her work and attitude.
"I have seen her enthusiasm for UNM students she has worked with during the commencement ceremony, where she served as a volunteer for many, many years. She always showed her appreciation to the students for their work at the SUB and reveled in their accomplishments as UNM graduates.
"Ly was the recipient of the 2001 Gerald W. May Outstanding Staff Award where President Bill Gordon called her 'an exceptionally dedicated employee.'"
After retiring, Flock hopes to get a part-time job at a local gym so that she can continue to work on her passion for exercise. She said that recently she has become fascinated with marathon running. So far, she has completed three marathons in Arizona and Nevada. She also enjoys hiking in the Sandia mountains and the La Luz trail.
“I want to work on me and be more fit, more healthy,” she said, “I just want to work on Ly, work on myself and my body.”
Flock expressed her bittersweet feelings about her retirement saying, “I can’t believe this day has come. I grew up here and UNM defined me all these years. It’s sad, but I’m excited to see what happens in the future.”
The SUB will hold a retirement party for Flock on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. in the SUB, Santa Ana A&B.
For more information, visit the UNM Planning and Scheduling website.