In April, Peter Recore-Migirditch, the Libraries’ Director of Finance and Administration, retired after 41 years of service to the University. The institutional memory of the Libraries, as well as a chief adviser to the Dean, Peter has seen it all. Before he took off, we caught up with him to share some stories, insights, and a few laughs.
1. You’re a bit of a UAlbany Lifer. Can you tell us about your path to the University Libraries?
Prior to the University I worked as the Director of Day Treatment at Vanderheyden Hall, a residential treatment facility for juvenile delinquents in Wynantskill. I was hired by the University in 1981 as an Administrative Residence Hall Director with the Department of Residential Life, and my wife and I lived on Colonial Quad in Herkimer Hall for three years. During that time, I pursued a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Human Resources, which I completed in December 1984. They valued my experience working with juvenile delinquents so much I was assigned the task of managing the Judicial Board for Colonial Quad. In 1984, the University Libraries offered me the position as Budget Officer.
2. Part of your portfolio includes overseeing facilities operations for the Libraries. What was the most exciting or challenging project you worked on?
Without a doubt that would have to be the designing, organizational planning, and outfitting of the Science Library, which was one of the first new buildings constructed on the Academic Podium since the campus was built. In conjunction with the new library, I coordinated the major renovation projects to refurbish the University Library, which was sorely in need of updating on every floor of the building. At the Dewey Library I coordinated the renovation of the first and basement floors, which included installing all new service desks, user computer stations, replacing old worn end panels with distinctive cherry end panels, new tables, and seating. Over the years the stained-glass window were refurbished and the murals were restored. I am also honored to have been involved in committees tasked to help plan some of the major infrastructure improvements done across campus, such as the Campus Center expansion and the project to develop the campus signage program.
Peter helped with designing, organizational planning, and outfitting of the Science Library.
3. You’ve just about seen it all at the University Libraries. In what ways has your job changed over the years, and how did you adjust to those changes.
Back in 1984 as the Budget Officer, we didn’t have desktop computers; in fact, the only computer in the University Libraries was a Wang computer operated by the Dean’s secretary. My budget reports were all typed on forms created on a typewriter…it kind of looked like what a kindergartener would put together in art class! I had to beg the Dean to allow me to purchase a PC, which cost $5,000 back then. So, with the introduction of desktop computing, our lives changed drastically. Over the 40 years of being a member of the library staff the way one survived was to dig into the challenge and learn from the ground up. I can proudly say that there was always help available from library colleagues and countless other administrators across the campus who would take the time to share their knowledge and experience. All you had to do was ask.
4. What’s something that you’ve learned at the Libraries that would translate into a good piece of advice?
Good advice: Never say never. If it can happen, it will. And always find the humor in what you are faced with. Too many people take the work they do at the University far too serious. Have some fun and laugh, there are some great comedians among us!
Peter received the President's Excellence in Professional Service Award in 2019
5. On the subject of comedians: As a golfer, you’ll have some extra time now to spend on the golf course. How many tries would it take for you to land a ball on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass?
If I could afford the greens fees to get on the course, by the 17th hole after a stop at the turn for some much-needed adult beverages, I would probably stop counting after double par.