by Mariah Parker, Multimedia Editor
After 24 years in the mail room, Student Services Director Jim Lauer will retire this coming January.
During a 2009 knee replacement surgery, Lauer sustained nerve damaged to his elbow that has since caused him chronic pain in his pinky and ring fingers. “Working has been much harder on me,” Lauer admits. Even 20 to 30 minutes of data entry work may exacerbate the chronic pain in his hand.
“I’m going to miss my students terribly,” says Lauer. “It sounds cliché, but Warren Wilson is like a family. I know I’ve gotta stay connected in some ways.”
Lauer has been invited to volunteer his time with the Advancement Office as he transitions into retirement. He will also continue to facilitate the BE Buddhist group on campus with the assistance of library cataloguer Mei Mah.
Starting January, Lauer will work part-time with former Religious Studies Professor Hun Lye in developing the new Buddha Dharma Center in Asheville.
“I’ve been interested in Buddhism since the 60s,” says Lauer.
In his time at Wilson, Lauer has done much to promote intercultural exchange on campus. Lauer has led two study abroad trips, one to Hong Kong in April of 2009 and another to India in February of 2008. Also, he traveled to Thailand to represent the school at an alumni reunion of Thai exchange students in 2000.
Sophomore Stuart Holland has worked alongside Lauer for a year and a half. “I don’t know if I’d stay on the crew [without Jim],” says Stewart. “He’s a great boss. He’s really understanding and can tell you some amazing stories about his exploits around the world.”
A search committee for a new mail room manager has been formed. Lauer has been asked to lead the search for his replacement.
“We’re looking for someone with good supervisory and interpersonal skills who can work with people of many different nationalities,” explains Lauer.
Having received no internal applications for the position, the college began advertising for external applicants over the weekend.
“I’ve known five presidents,” says Lauer “I’ve been fortunate enough to visit alumni in other countries … I can’t think of any other place or job that could have been so rewarding.”
Lauer will celebrate his 70th birthday on Oct. 14.