The longest serving faculty and staff series: Joyce Norman


Kyle Rainey | Reporter
Nov. 23, 2016; 5 p.m.

Joyce Norman works in her office located in the old spirit shoppe building.
Photo by Nao Enomoto

Director of Facilities Joyce Norman usually starts her day with a cup of coffee in her office at 6 a.m. and leaves long after most Lindenwood University faculty have gone home.

Norman and her staff provide the university with clean buildings, un-clogged bathtubs and other maintenance that keeps Lindenwood running smoothly.

“Every day is something different,” she said.

From students dropping earrings down their sinks to one student who flushed an apple down a toilet twice, just to see what would happen, Norman said she has seen it all. One of her worst calls was when a dead duck was left over summer in a campus house’s freezer that had been unplugged.

“She’s got a thankless job,” ceramics teacher and technician Joe Weber said. “If she disappeared, we’d have a heck of a hard time.”

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”Joyce Norman” link=”” color=”#000000″ class=”” size=”32″]“I love what I’m doing. Lindenwood is my second family.”[/perfectpullquote]

Norman started working at Lindenwood in 1982 and has worked through the administrations of five university presidents. During that time, buildings have shot up across campus, and the university has acquired off-campus housing that she is responsible for.

Beth Walter, who has worked with Norman 25 years, said Norman goes with the flow, and that she’s learned a lot from her.

“When the new dorms were being built, she was over there helping us wax floors and clean up after construction,” Walter said. “She works hard and long hours.”

Carrie Green, who has worked for Norman for 20 years, said Norman “lives for Lindenwood.”

She said several years ago, a short circuit in a student’s fan caused Niccolls Hall to catch fire. Norman and her workers were called in after 10 p.m. to clean up water from the sprinklers and didn’t finish until 5 or 6 in the morning. Norman said her workload has increased considerably as Lindenwood has grown, but she feels like her time at the university has gone by fast.

“I love what I’m doing,” Norman said. “Lindenwood is my second family.”

Joyce Norman

Norman said sometimes students are afraid to reach out to her when something breaks, because they think that they have to pay for repairs. But students are charged only for purposeful damage, she said. She said over the years she has gotten close with several students and considers them to be like the children she never had.

“I’m still in contact with my very first work-and-learn student, who is married with three children now,” Norman said, adding that she enjoys catching up when she visits campus.

Sometimes parents call Norman’s office to check on their kids’ well-being, and then their kids will call and ask if their parents called, she said.

“We as a department are responsible for their safety first and making sure their issues are resolved,” she said. “Our folks would do anything for you. All you have to do is ask.”