LTS bids farewell to longtime staff

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Lehigh University Enterprise Systems staff retirees

Five longtime members of Library and Technology Services have announced their plans to retire from Lehigh University this summer.

Enterprise Systems’ Lennon, Donchez, Wagner, and Wambold to retire after 137 years of combined service

Enterprise Systems Sr. Project Specialists Jerry Lennon, Susan Donchez, Ron Wagner, and Randy Wambold (pictured, l-r) will all retire on August 30, 2019.

Manny Pena, Director of Enterprise Systems, recalls their significant contributions to the development and support of vital administrative systems at Lehigh during their careers. “These four ES staff have served the university for a combined total of 137 years, and it will be difficult to replace such professional, talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated individuals,” he said.

Susan Donchez began her Lehigh career in 1997 as a Senior Analyst supporting the Bursar’s Office administrative system, then known as BRS. The next two years saw Donchez and other analysts concentrating on Y2K remediation, identifying, analyzing, changing, and testing code to head off the so-called Millennium bug that was feared would wreak havoc on computer systems worldwide. She was later involved with the transition of existing administrative systems to SCT Banner in 2000, as part of the Financial Aid implementation team. In 2005, she was promoted to  her current position, continuing to support Financial Aid and taking on special projects, giving her the opportunity to widen her technical support reach to other offices including Human Resources, Payroll, Registrar, the Office of International Students, Admissions, and the Provost Office.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the Lehigh campus, immersed in an environment of diversity and youthfulness,” Donchez said. “I’ll remember the bed races, men in red high heels, dunking tanks, seesaw marathons, music by the flagpole, stilt walkers, ice cream socials, turkey trot, model car races, art exhibits, the Dalai Lama, the creation and dismantling of the sand mandala by the Buddhist monks, student recitals in Zoellner and on and on. But most of all, I will miss my friends and colleagues.”

Jerry Lennon boasts a 40+ years’ career in LTS, starting as a programmer under Roy Gruver and Wayne Hoffman, both now retired. Jerry thanks his former colleagues for their guidance and support over the years. Under their leadership, Lennon was involved in many projects, including Telecommunications billing, Bursar billing, Financial Aid and Alumni/Development systems processing, and developed numerous in-house programs. During his tenure, he witnessed many technological advancements, including the move away from punch card programs of the late 70s and early 80s, which remarkably required carrying massive amounts of data files in card trays across campus from Linderman Library to the Computing Center for processing. Jerry recalls: “To create a simple program back then took many hours and many reiterations. Now with our Oracle databases and tool set, the same program takes minutes.”

During his tenure, Jerry worked across multiple platforms, implementing and maintaining them over the course of their life cycles, and supported scores of administrative department clients. In the mid-90s he was promoted to Senior Project Specialist, and was involved in the evaluation and selection of new enterprise software, Y2K remediation, the customization and enhancement of systems and software, report writing, and preparing data for numerous administrative processes. He presented at several user conferences, as well as countless on-campus “Chat-and-Learn” sessions at Lehigh. Lennon said his proudest accomplishment was the creation of a homegrown Data Warehouse that optimized processing and significantly increased client efficiency and productivity and expressed his thanks for all the opportunities Lehigh offered him.

Another member of the 40 Year Club, Ron Wagner began his Lehigh career in 1979, supporting the Student Records System (SRS), which was part of the university initiative to transition from in-house developed software to 3rd party vendor software. Several years later he worked on the implementation of the Financial Aid Management System (FAMS). Wagner was instrumental in bringing the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to Lehigh in 1987, a system that helps determine whether students are meeting all of their course requirements, which is still used today (now known as uAchieve with CollegeSource).

With the transition to Banner institution-wide in 2000, Wagner focused solely on the Banner Student module, converting it from SRS, along with the rest of the Enterprise Systems team, in a relatively short period of time. Between 2006-2017, Ron was involved in developing a customer relationship manager (CRM) system for Banner, initially for Recruiting and Admission components of Banner Student. Lehigh became a development partner along with several other institutions of higher education across the country in this endeavor. Those efforts led to Lehigh becoming a beta site for the software packages that eventually became known as BRM (Banner Relationship Management) and RAP (Recruiting and Admissions Performance). Ron was responsible for the growth and development of the Degree Audit functionality from an older technology to a suite of web-based applications -- this process involved reworking nearly every component program and requirement.

Randy Wambold joined Lehigh in the mid-80s as a Systems Analyst in the Administrative Systems Office. He supported Student and Human Resources applications until later transitioning to the position of Manager of Systems & Programming. “This gave me the opportunity to gain a broad view of the university by meeting with, and assisting, many offices across the campus,” Wambold said. Within a few years, Randy worked on the implementation of a campus-wide information system utilizing client-server technology and high-speed networks.

During the 1990s, Randy was responsible for managing the Banner implementation for Undergraduate Recruiting and Admissions, and leading the Academic Affairs and Enterprise Information Client Services teams. Later, he was asked to join a group examining Student Services. “Our objectives were to identify the top operational and service capabilities needed to provide excellent service to our students, and then plan how that could be accomplished,” he said. “The work of this team, and another team focusing on Human Resources services, led to the campus-wide implementation of the full Banner suite that occurred during the early 2000s.” Most recently, Randy has worked to implement and improve Human Resources systems and services. “I feel very fortunate to have worked at Lehigh where I’ve met many wonderful people,” Wambold said. “While I have truly enjoyed the variety of work I performed here, it has been my relationships with the good people at Lehigh that will remain with me. My time here has been a great life experience.”

An on-campus reception to honor the group will be held on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 in Linderman Library, Room 200, from 2 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We hope you will be able to join us as we celebrate their contributions and dedication to Enterprise Systems at Lehigh.

Annette Ruhe to retire after 45 years at Lehigh

Annette Ruhe, Coordinator for Library and Technology Services Administration and Planning, also retires on August 30, 2019 after 45 years of service to Lehigh University. Annette began her career in 1974, in a secretarial position in what was then known as the Lehigh University Computing Center (LUCC).

By 1975, Annette had transitioned to accounting, handling financial reports, billing for computing services, tracking expenses, and organizing events. She also worked on a side project for Athletics, keypunching statistics for the University's football team, for two seasons.

After the libraries, telecommunications, and computing merged in 1996, Annette became part of the newly formed Information Resources (now LTS) on the Administrative Services team. She managed hardware contracts for the Data Center, maintained working budgets, submitted purchase requisitions and assisted with multiple staff searches.

In addition, Annette has been supporting the Technology, Research, and Communication (TRAC) program, since its inception in 2008, often going above and beyond to support students’ needs.

In 2014, she assumed the role of Coordinator for the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL), relocating to the CITL area. She currently arranges aspects of New Faculty Orientation and various Faculty Development events. She supports CITL programs and outreach, while continuing to handle contracts, purchase requisitions, and charging of services from other areas within LTS, and, of course, other related duties as assigned

“I am extremely grateful to Joseph Holzer for hiring me back in 1974,” Ruhe said. “These years at Lehigh have been happy years during which lasting friendships and wonderful memories were created.”
Annette's knowledge of Lehigh and commitment to excellence in customer service will be difficult to replace.

Please join us for an on-campus reception on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 in the CITL Commons area, Rm 370, EWFM Library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to wish Annette well in her retirement.