Glenville State University Trades Specialist Jim Tatman with the historic Administration Building Clock Tower behind him. (GSU Photo/Kristen Cosner)

Longtime Glenville State University Physical Plant employee Jim Tatman retires

GLENVILLE, WV – Jim Tatman, a Glenville State University staff member for over 40 years, has retired.

His employment began in 1981 as a groundskeeper for the main campus. He served as a mechanic for a time, servicing vehicles in the campus motor pool, and also worked as a landscaper. During that time, he assisted with carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, concrete work, and door locks – adding more skills along the way. Eventually he was promoted to Trades Specialist, a title he would hold until his recent retirement.

Anyone familiar with his work knows of his attention to detail. “I think that comes from my grandmother, she played a big role in my life when I was younger and she was very meticulous,” Tatman explained. “I think things need to be perfect…if you do a job and people know you’re the one who did it, it looks bad on you if it isn’t done well. And I don’t want that, so I always tried to make it just right.”

Among his duties, Tatman was also the official caretaker of the clock inside the iconic Administration Building clock tower. “When I first started, Roy Clemons was taking care of the clock. After he retired, his son took over for a time, and then it was me. In those days, you had to wind and oil the clock, which I did weekly. I did that for years until we changed over to an electronic system. Things required less maintenance then, but I would still change out light bulbs inside the tower and check on it from time to time,” Tatman said.

He was also instrumental in having the original bell and clockworks – which were no longer in use – removed from the tower to be displayed. “I suggested that we showcase the bell and old clock so people could see it and appreciate it. Through Glenville’s Staff Council, we were able to do that in 2010 thanks to help from the construction company that was building Goodwin Hall, they donated their time and equipment to pull the old bell out. Now everything is on display in Clemons Tower,” he said. Clemons Tower is named in honor of Roy Clemons, who spent 39 years caring for the clock prior to Tatman’s tenure.

Staff Council was another area in which Tatman was active, serving as chair off and on for around 15 years. “I took an interest in the staff and the changes that we could make for the better. That was back in the early days, not long after Glenville State first organized a Staff Council. I was good friends with [late staff member and Staff Council representative] Ginny Grottendieck; we would go to seminars and different meetings,” Tatman said.

He also served as an Assistant Softball Coach with the Lady Pioneers for seven seasons with Rick Moore and Gerald Szabo. During that time the team moved up to second place in the conference. Tatman says that working with the team was an experience he truly loved.

Reflecting on his years at Glenville State, Tatman says two things that stand out to him the most are the growth and the different approach that various administrations have taken. “Sometimes growth was slow and times were tougher, sometimes it was faster and it allowed us to do more things. And changes in leadership played a big role in the direction of the institution and what our priorities have been,” he added.

He also remembers his coworkers over the years, particularly the student workers who have assisted with Physical Plant tasks. “There are several of those students who really stand out, they have a special place in my heart,” he noted.

Before he officially retired, a reception was held with coworkers and family members in attendance. At the reception Glenville State University President Dr. Mark Manchin presented Tatman with a few retirement gifts, including a clock, lifetime events pass, and retired employee parking permit.

“We are going to miss Jim, but we are also very happy he will have more time to do the things he enjoys,” said Vice President for Administration, Rita Helmick. “I think I speak for President Manchin and others when I say that, we knew when Jim was tapped to do something, it would be done and done well. His years of service to Glenville State University are deeply appreciated.”

In his retirement, Tatman says he isn’t planning anything major and that he intends to simply enjoy life. “I’ll have more time to spend with my wife and daughter, so that will be nice. I plan to relax, but still stay busy,” he said, underscoring the importance of his family.

“These last 41 years have been dedicated to my family, and the last 20 wouldn’t have been possible without my wife and children – they’re truly a blessing for me,” Tatman said.

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