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A Long and Storied Career

By Loyola University on Fri, 05/14/2021 - 11:04

Susan Brower Retires After 25 Outstanding Years

When most people are getting ready to retire, they often have a chance to slow down the pace a bit and take stock of the past. Not so for Susan Brower. Though she would have had lots of changes in instructional technology and multimedia communications to look back and reflect on, the pandemic’s crisis situation made the last year of Susan’s career one in which she could only keep looking onward and upward.

Early in her career, Susan honed her multimedia expertise making industrial films, which led to her interest in educational media. As the digital age dawned, Susan stayed in step with developments, facilitating Loyola’s first forays into distance education back in the 1990s. Equipping Loyola’s campus with the latest presentation technologies, her leadership brought laser projectors, clickers, multimedia lecterns with desktop computers, and lecture halls equipped with everything from DVD players to document cameras.

All this was a fitting lead up to a quickly transformed world in which they physical space of the classroom was both poignantly absent and paradoxically present. The virtual spaces necessary for hyflex classes to function were Susan’s creation, an innovation into which she threw herself wholeheartedly with the help of her staff, Curry O’Day and Mary Graci. Her plan for using multiple cameras controlled by remotes, microphones, and Zoom technology made it possible for classroom instruction to continue safely as the pandemic hit its height in the U.S. during the fall and winter of 2020. Not only this, but Susan also pioneered a Zoom Assistant (ZA) program that trained students in this vital new conferencing setup so that assistants could facilitate faculty's focus on teaching. Her efforts this year, in combination with her history of dedication to Loyola, earned her the competitive and prestigious University Senate Award for Service at the spring 2021 convocation.

Susan’s team during this final hectic year has shared some feelings on her upcoming retirement. For Media Services Assistant Mary Graci, “Susan is not just an incredible, compassionate boss but also a great friend. She will be sorely missed, especially by us here in the department and the library, but also by the university as a whole. That being said, she so deserves this!” Similarly, Curry O’Day, our new Director of Media Services, reminisces about an epic karaoke duet that yielded a pair of Saints tickets: “While performing as Sonny to her Cher for the holiday karaoke contest was a major highlight, it’s nevertheless a distant second to all of the knowledge, wisdom, and professionalism I have gleaned from working with Susan over the last few years, for which I will always be grateful.”