The Lied Center staff will be saying goodbye to two valued friends and colleagues when they retire at the end of December 2020—Business Coordinator Deb Kraushaar and Custodial Supervisor Doug Rendall.
There have been many people working at the Lied Center during the last 27 years who have helped it grow into what it is today. However, there is only one person who has been with the organization even before the Lied’s doors opened. We can say, emphatically, that the place will not be the same after Deb Kraushaar retires.
Deb began working for KU in 1987 as secretary for the Concert Series. She managed the office, arranged artists’ transportation, lodging and meals, and helped with anything that needed to be done. She has been a presence at the Lied Center for all of its milestone moments, from the groundbreaking ceremony in 1990, to the week-long run of The Secret Garden at the grand opening in 1993, to each anniversary that has been celebrated since. Deb has worn many hats during her tenure—accounting and finance, helping with artists’ logistics, assisting with grants, maintaining the Lied Center’s historical information, making sure office supplies are stocked and everything in between. During the very busy year of 1993, she was also recognized as one of four finalists at KU for Employee of the Year.
With a career like hers, undoubtedly, it could be difficult to pinpoint favorite work-related memories, but when asked to do so, Deb did what she does best—she gave of her time and shared the following: “I’ve loved watching some of the most famous groups in the world perform at the Lied Center as well as up-and-coming artists—I can say I saw them when. One of the many things I will miss is seeing all of the children at the school performances. I always enjoyed watching their reactions in the auditorium and chattering down the hallways after the different shows had ended. But, the most priceless memory I will have about the Lied Center is working with the staff day to day. It’s been exciting and fun at every stage.”
Looking ahead, Deb noted, “My main goal for retirement is to travel as much as I can with my husband, Ken. When we can, we plan to visit our kids and grandkids more often, take vacations throughout the country and see as many national parks as possible.”
Our dedicated custodial supervisor, Doug Rendall, began working as a custodian at the Lied Center in 2011 and was promoted in 2015 to supervisor. As the manager of the custodial staff and their work schedules, he ensures that the building is always clean and in good working order. As a supervisor, Doug could have chosen to settle in on doing administrative paperwork in his office and leave active custodial work to his team, but he has always pitched in—helping to locate broken seats in the auditorium, wielding a mop or vacuum cleaner as well as assisting visitors to the venue, especially school groups, who always leave with a positive impression of the Lied after meeting him. In 2019, honoring his exemplary service, he received recognition as both Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year.
Prior to working at the university, Doug’s life was devoted to farming. From his passion and interest in making things grow, he and his wife, Susan, volunteered to create a garden in the front circle of the Lied Center to commemorate its 25th anniversary during the 2018–19 season. They transformed a large area of grass in the middle of the circle-drive into a showcase garden of over 600 native plants that also attract monarch butterflies. Doug and Susan volunteered to design the garden, obtain the plants—many from their home garden—prepare the soil, plant the flowers and keep them watered through the dry, hot Kansas summers. The results during the warmer months are spectacular, and the garden draws in a wide variety of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds each year. And Doug has offered to maintain the garden after he retires. Thank you, Doug!
When asked about some of his favorite Lied memories, he said, “One of my first experiences at the Lied Center was a room setup for the former Ukrainian president (Viktor Yushchenko). Two ladies who helped coordinate the event had a couple of us on the custodial staff rearrange tables numerous times for the right look—just to go back to the original setup that we had. Other fun memories include when I was given the Employee of the Month Award after a long day’s work, then being named Employee of the Year and immediately returning to the Lied to help with an evening event. Both of these recognition ceremonies were out of character for the low profile I like to keep, but I thank the Lied Center for expanding my horizons.”
When asked about his upcoming retirement, Doug noted, “I’m looking forward to not waking up between 4 and 5 in the morning—I’m still on daylight savings time. I’m also hoping to catch up on projects in the garden and around the house. Eventually, Susan and I hope to travel.”
The Lied Center staff offers Deb and Doug our best wishes in retirement, they will both be missed very much!