Secretary helped art department, students

Stephanie Markham, News Editor

Described as the go-to-person in the art department, a “second mom” to students and a meticulous worker, office secretary Sue Rardin died Tuesday afternoon in her home. She was 56.

Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo

David Griffin, the art department chair, has worked in the department for more than 22 years and said he can’t remember a time when Rardin wasn’t there.

He said Rardin knew everything about the department and connected with people all over campus.

“We always joke that if you really want the correct answer, you go to see Sue,” Griffin said. “You can ask the faculty, but even they’re going to come ask Sue.”

The small size of the art department is conducive to an atmosphere where everyone knows one another; as such, the students knew they could go to Rardin for whatever they needed, Griffin said.

“They all thought she was their second mom; I mean a lot of them would call her that,” he said. “She loved and cared for every one of them.”

Glenn Hild, the interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, worked with Rardin for about 12 years when he was chair of the art department.

He said Rardin initially worked at Eastern right out of high school, then worked for CCAR Industries for a time and returned in the mid ‘90s, building up nearly 25 years of service to the university.

Hild said having Rardin as a secretary made his time as chair much easier, as her working relationships around campus were advantageous when dealing with other areas.

He also said she worked efficiently and paid attention to details.

“Her goal was always to make certain that the budget came out to the penny every month so there was no slippage,” Hild said. “She always new how much money we spent and how much we had left.”

Hild described Rardin as down-to-earth and said she enjoyed country living, as she had grown up on a farm, taken care of horses for years and enjoyed deer hunting.

“She dressed casual in a sense; she wasn’t going to be wearing heels to work,” he said. “If she could avoid it, I don’t think she wore a dress too often to work.”

Both Griffin and Hild said she was instrumental in putting on the department’s holiday art sale every year.

“You can’t even start to put a dollar total with the amount of money that Sue helped raise to support scholarships for the department, and organizing and running and overseeing the art sale,” Griffin said.

They also both agreed that while Rardin was always willing to help, she was also firm with students and faculty when she needed to be.

“If somebody was not doing their job in the department, she had no problem telling them so,” Hild said.

Griffin also said Rardin stepped up when he took the chair position, as he still had to teach classes and couldn’t always take care of things in the office.

“She went above and beyond; she devoted everything she could to this department,” Griffin said. “You could just always count on her; you just knew she’d help you one way or the other.”

Public visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Adams Funeral Chapel, 2330 Shawnee Drive. Memorial gifts may be made to the Coles County Animal Shelter and may be left during visitation or mailed to the funeral home.


Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].