By Megan Lupo
To Kathy Burd, Rider is more than just a workplace. It is a home, filled with laughter, hardships and, most importantly, family.
More than half a century may seem like a long time to be in one place, but not for Burd, as exemplified in her motto, “Rider just worked for me.”
Burd, an administrative specialist for the University Communications Department, is being honored as the longest-serving honoree at this year’s Longtimers Reception on March 10.
That special day is one of the many cherished memories Rider created throughout the years for Burd.
“I was the only child, daddy’s little girl,” Burd reflected. “My father just loved it here. He was a basketball fan, and, of course, I worked for the sports information director at the time.
“His birthday was a big deal in our family. We always had a special birthday party. I still remember him calling me a few days before and saying, ‘You know, Rider’s playing that night so don’t expect me to give it up.’ And he went.
“I used to do the rosters, and so, on the bottom, I put ‘Happy Birthday’ and my father’s name. And so they sang to him.”
The love that Burd’s family has for Rider stemmed from growing up in Lawrence Township. Even though most of her family followed in each other’s Rider footsteps, she had to convince her father to let her go.
“Back then, it was so much different,” Burd explained. “When you were a woman going for a degree, you mostly became a teacher. So I made a deal with my father because I wanted to go into the medical profession, and my father was not too happy about that. I did not want to be a teacher. So I came here, and I took a two-year course, and I got my degree. Then, I went to work for a dentist.
“But, I got tired of it after six weeks. So I came here to the placement office. And they saw that I was a graduate and my skills, and they hired me. And I have been here ever since.”
By being at Rider throughout the decades, she has witnessed many achievements.
“I was here the day we found out we were going to become a university,” Burd commented. “I saw the shot that took us for the first time into the NCAA [Tournament.] Now, things have progressed. But becoming a university — that’s a big honor.”
For her colleagues, it has been an honor to work with someone who embodies the university’s spirit.
“She treats us like family,” said Buddy Losavio, associate director of creative services. “I’ve only been here five and a half years, so, I mean, 50 years is a long, long time. That’s just a testament to Kathy’s dedication to Rider.”
Burd not only loves working here, but also has inspired other people to work at the university.
“Part of the reason I came to Rider is because she had such a positive impression, and she was just really, really nice,” said Aimee LaBrie, director of university communications. “I remember when I had my third interview. When I came in, I gave her a hug because she had been so helpful, and just made me have a really good impression of Rider from the beginning.”
As for plans to retire after a myriad of years of hard work, Burd replied, “Not yet.”
“In this day and age, I don’t think people stay in their jobs long. Not 50 years,” Burd said. “But I say, I hope everybody understands how good Rider is, and the friendships you can make, the experiences you can get from others, the knowledge that they have. Use it towards your passion, whatever it is.”
Published in the 3/9/16 edition.