A fond farewell to a WGCU gem

By Dayna Harpster -

Friday, July 12, we bid farewell to Paula Sklodowski, a fixture at WGCU, who retired.

Her title was Education & Outreach Coordinator, and she did it so well. Nothing made her happier than hearing how much members of a group enjoyed their tour of the station and how much they learned with Paula as their tour guide. OR having a great group of teachers come to a PBS Learning Workshop that she conducted and being certain they’d be using this new content in their classrooms. OR putting her heart and soul into a grant proposal and getting the money for a station project.

But we knew her by many other titles, and one that tour groups surely could relate to. They’d have a hard time stumping her on any question, from station funding to how equipment worked in the studio. And that deep institutional knowledge had applications for us as her coworkers, too. For that reason, we called her The Answer Lady.

We’d drive anyone else to distraction with questions like, Who do we call in the FGCU mailroom? What’s the Radio Reading phone number? Where’s the best place to park to go to the library? And with unparalleled patience, she’d relay the answer. And even though we probably could look up the answers somewhere, it would take much longer and was so much easier and more pleasant to ask Paula. Because this being a station at a university, the way academia names things could be confusing. For instance, unless you’d been here a while, you didn’t know that BOSS CARS was the place to go online for parking information.

As the WGCU volunteer wrangler, Paula was popular as well. A steady stream of WGCU loyal helpers would check in with her about events and what they could do and she’d cheerfully put them to work.

So she’ll be missed by many more people than her coworkers. But as for us, we’ll have a lot of questions for a while.

We’ll quote Joshua Johnson of NPR’s 1A here, because Paula loved meeting him on his visit here as we all did – Paula, stay close!

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