James Richmond: Doing the Little Things That Add Up to Something Special

Globe University Madison

Originally from St. Louis, Mo., and moved to Wisconsin in 1986. James owned his own cleaning business for three years. Before he came to Globe University, he worked two years on the YWCA reconstruction project in downtown Madison.

Every day as students start their day at Globe University-Madison West, they see a very clean campus. They see windows without smudges, tables clear of crumbs and the bathrooms stocked with paper and soap. This is all thanks to James Richmond, Globe University-Madison West’s facilities technician.

It was during a conversation that Colleen Hanson, a student in the veterinary technology program, overheard between James and another staff person that Colleen learned James was coming up to his one-year anniversary working at Globe University-Madison West.

That night, Colleen started to reflect. “I really wanted to do something that showed how much we appreciate the little things he does on campus that makes Globe University someplace special,” she said.

The next morning, Colleen talked to Campus Director Brock Vander Velden about her idea. Brock praised the plan and through one simple email and word of mouth, Colleen was flooded with donations.

“I was overwhelmed by the number of students who donated money since we’re all broke,” Colleen said. “Students in the veterinary technology, massage therapy, medical assistant program and others donated money towards a gift.”

Then on a Thursday afternoon, the plan was hatched. During a break between classes, Amanda Hatzinger, administrative assistant, called for James stating there was an emergency in the commons.

Globe University Madison

James reads his card signed by students, faculty and staff while Colleen waits to present him with his appreciation gift.

Colleen, faculty and staff all were gathered in the commons waiting for James to appear. It was then that James saw that there wasn’t an emergency, but something special for him.

Colleen presented James with a balloon bouquet tied to a feather duster, which was donated by Sheila Robson, student in the veterinary technology program, and two $20 gift cards to two local eateries.

“I was shocked.” James shared. “I really appreciated it, especially because it came from the students and staff.  Globe University-Madison West is a very nice place to work. I really enjoy my job. I really just appreciate everything, it made my day.”

Colleen reflected on why she was moved to plan his appreciation.

“I just know that he does a lot of work and wanted to show my appreciation,” she said. “The campus looks great every time you walk in.  He makes sure all the paper towels are stocked; all the classrooms are clean and stocked with Kleenex.  He does all these little things that makes our campus shine and he needed to be recognized.”

Globe University Madison

James Richmond and Colleen Hanson

Colleen added, “I know from talking to him that he comes in at  5:30 every morning and stays here until 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon and he does it with a smile. Everything he does, he’s happy about doing and he puts his heart and soul in doing it. He’s a really big asset to the campus. Without him, the campus would not be as nice as it is. He’s developed a great relationship with students.  I talk to him every morning when I come in. I feel like he’s not just a person who works here, but a friend.”

Amanda Hatzinger also reflected on James’s hard work. “James really brightens up my day and makes the campus shine,” she said. “I love that he has such great relationships with all the staff and students.  He does the job that nobody else wants to do and he does it with a smile. He loves to participate in student run events like the campus blood drives, Kiss a Pig fundraiser for REACH a Child, and playing kickball during staff vs. student games. He is a joy to work with and a joy to be around.”