Employee Spotlight: Dorothy Perkins
Dorothy Perkins vividly remembers where she was when she heard that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

The long-time food service worker at the University of Houston was chopping lettuce in the cafeteria in Oberholtzer Hall when a manager came in the room and announced the bad news.

�I will never forget it. Everybody just started screaming and crying,� said Perkins. �I remember it like it happened yesterday.�

The tragedy happened a year after Perkins started working at the university. As the years passed, nine more presidents have resided in the White House, tens of thousands of students have graduated from UH and a couple of dozen new buildings have been constructed on campus.

But one thing has remained the same: Perkins is still chopping lettuce for salads for hungry students and staff.

Perkins, known affectionately as Miss Dorothy by students and those who work with her, attributes a woman who had once worked with her husband at Champion Paper in Pasadena for helping her to get the job. After the woman took a job at UH, she told Perkins� husband it would be a good idea for his wife to work here, too.

�He didn�t want me to work. He wanted me to be a housewife,� Perkins said. �She asked him, �Why don�t you let her come to work?� And that�s how I got the job.�

Her job duties have not changed all that much. Like she did when she first came here half a century ago, she cuts up lettuce and other fresh vegetables to be used in salads. When Moody Towers was built in 1972, she was transferred to its dining hall, where she has remained ever since.

Her hours have differed at times. Now, she arrives at work at 5 a.m. every weekday and immediately starts cutting cantaloupe and pineapples and preparing the fruit bar for the breakfast rush. After that is completed, she turns her attention to the salad bar. She makes a variety of salads, including potato salad and pasta salad. When 1 p.m. rolls around, her work is done.

Perkins, who had seven children, once was away from UH for three months as she recuperated from an illness. Being home for so long, she said, was difficult because she had become so accustomed to being at the university.

�When I did come back to work, I was so happy,� she said.

She�s worked for more managers than she can remember. Even the company that provides the food service to the university has changed numerous times. Now, she�s working for Aramark and couldn�t be any happier.

�Right now, we have a fantastic staff,� she said.

She�s never seriously considered leaving UH to take another job.

�I look at it this way. Wherever you go, there�s going to be something that you�re not really going to be pleased about, so why jump out of the frying pan and into the fire?� she said. �I knew that this was a job that I could depend on. It�s been good to me.�