You may have only met him under the worst of circumstances. Your computer made a sickening clicking noise on startup, wouldn’t boot at all, or you just spilled your half-caf, double tall latte all over the keyboard.
After submitting a trouble ticket, what happened next? Your system may have wound up in the expert hands of LTS’ Keith Meeker.
After over 40 years of service to Lehigh, Meeker has announced that he will retire from his position as senior computer technician in Computer Repair Services (CRS) on December 31, 2021.
Save the computer, save the day
Meeker provided hardware technical support for thousands of desktops and laptops over his decades-long career. “The value of Keith’s service is immeasurable,” said Bruce Eisenhard, manager of CRS and Student Technology and Repair Services. “Keith worked behind the scenes, solving sometimes complex hardware problems for students, faculty, and staff -- often at a time when they were in the greatest distress of their digital lives. Students especially rely so heavily on their computers. They are essential tools for academic success, and students fear being without them, or worse, losing critical course data.”
From hard drive replacements to emergency data backup to coffee-soaked motherboards, Meeker has seen it all. Part of what made Keith’s work so important,” Eisenhard said, “was his ability to breathe new life into computers that by all rights should have been thrown in the recycle heap, but where their owners lacked resources to buy new.” Eisenhard recalls one such “patched together” system brought in for service by a student who didn’t have the resources to replace it. “Through skill, patience, and determination, Keith was able to preserve her coursework, extend the life of the laptop, and keep the student from collapsing into tears.
In service, in-house
Meeker started as an audio visual and ID services technician in 1980, providing setup and support services for university events, moving to the Lehigh Data Center as a computer operator three years later.
As personal computing exploded at Lehigh in the mid 1980s, the university formed the Microcomputer Store, which at the time sold and serviced IBM, Zenith, and Apple computers used by students, faculty, and staff. In 1985, Keith moved into his role as computer repair technician servicing these systems, later transitioning to what is now known as Computer Repair Services after the Computer Store dissolved in 1997.
Because Meeker is certified to work on Apple, Dell, Lenovo, and HP computers in-house, it typically meant a shorter repair turnaround time, with hardware service performed on campus rather than systems being shipped back to the manufacturer. “This in-house computer servicing means more than cost savings to the university,” said Eisenhard. “It means Keith could act as an intermediary between the user and the vendor, order parts directly, and install them on their behalf. It’s a huge convenience for users and minimizes stress in a tough situation.”
Meeker twice served on the Employee Relations Advisory Committee and received two Tradition of Excellence awards during his career. He also founded the laptop donation program Laura’s Hope, in memory of his sister who passed away of cancer at age 35. Keith refurbished older laptops, programming them with games and Internet access to give to patients while they received treatment at St. Luke’s Hospital and Lehigh Valley cancer wards.
“I enjoyed working at Lehigh, helping students, faculty and staff with their computer repairs and providing advice on purchasing systems and upgrades,” says Meeker. As he reflects on his longevity at Lehigh, Keith said he hadn’t considered just how long he’s been at Lehigh until two current students having their computers fixed told him their father and uncle, respectively, remembered when he worked on their computers when they were students here. “I couldn't believe they remembered that I fixed their computer.” We believe it, Keith. You don’t forget who saved you in your tech time of need.
Sign the Kudoboard!
We know that many of you will want to express your appreciation for Keith’s service to the university and have created a publicly-available Kudoboard to collect well wishes and memories from colleagues, clients, and friends. Please join us in celebrating Keith’s contributions to Lehigh!
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