Kent State employee retires after 47 years of service

Hilary Crisan

Kent State employees found inspiration through Linda Harsh, clerical specialist at Kent State’s Stark campus, who spent 47 years working for the university.

“It never occurred to me when I started 47 years ago that I would still be working here,” Harsh said. “But that’s how things turned out.”

Harsh started working at Kent State Stark in 1966 at the age of 18. One of the most challenging aspects of the job throughout Harsh’s career was the adaptation to technology.

“There were times where we thought we would never get through (learning new technology) because when I started, there were no computers. The big thing for us was getting a new typewriter,” Harsh said. “Now, everything is done on a computer.”

Harsh made the decision to retire because of her desire to relax after 47 years of working full-time.

“I never had the luxury of enjoying a summer. When I got married, I took off two or three weeks, but I haven’t really had a summer off since I was 16 years old,” Harsh said. “That’s a long time to not get to relax and enjoy the weather.”

Harsh’s plans after her retirement include knitting, reading and spending time with her husband.

“My husband has been on disability retirement and his health isn’t very good. So he’s limited on what he can do, but with me there, we can do things together,” Harsh said. “I go to a book club meeting at the Stark campus and a knitting club at the Jackson library, so I can still participate in those, and meet with people that I worked with as well.”

Harsh said she enjoyed her job because of her love of education, and her love for the university.

“I think Kent State is a wonderful place to work. I always loved school when I was in high school, but unfortunately I never took any credited courses.” Harsh said. “I loved being part of an educational facility that emphasized education.”

Stephanie Tarver, Harsh’s co-worker since 1998, said working under Harsh was a special experience.

“I was very blessed to work underneath Linda,” Tarver said. “Everything I learned, I learned from her. I’m lucky, because a lot of the other campuses struggle and to have Linda teach me, I felt like I was privileged. When I think of Kent Stark, I think of Linda.”

Contact Hilary Crisan at [email protected].