Written by Alex Austin
Photo by Cam Tu Pham

Hello Friends!

Today’s blog post is truly a special one. Our fantastic colleague and mail room manager, Dennis Fritzinger, has completed 40 years of service at Berkeley Haas. What an incredible accomplishment!

Dennis and I sat together to chat about the biggest changes he has seen since 1978, anecdotes, and most meaningful moments he has experienced while working at Haas.

Barrows Hall and the Big Move

At the time he started, Haas was located at Barrows Hall. The school was small and only occupied a few floors in the building with offices spread out. In Barrows, there is a top floor that is similar to Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum. There would often be invited guest speakers; one that stands out vividly in Dennis’ memory, was the Dalai Lama. It was such an interesting time. However, there was a strong need for more space and for the whole Haas community to be together. Shortly thereafter the search for the new Haas location began.

The process to select a new location was very interactive. The lead architect engaged the staff, students, and faculty to gather input and led focus groups; later, they would also conduct hard hat tours of the new constructions sites. It was a good process, but it did take several years before demolition of Cowell Hospital led to the construction of the new buildings that would make up the Haas we know now. “For a while there were two mail rooms and there was lots of running mail carts back and forth. It was a big deal once we finally moved.” It was a time of transition but Dennis was ready.

Changes in the UC Berkeley Campus

At the time Haas was moving, there was lots of other construction around campus, as well. “UC is always under construction”. The campus continued to grow at an impressive rate and lots of new buildings were going up, such as the FSM Cafe in 2000 and later Sutardja Dai Hall in 2009. Dennis admired the new buildings as he walked around campus.

There were certainly changes in regard to students. For example, there was a lot of tie-dye attire being worn and sold all up and down Telegraph Avenue. “Everything looked so colorful and very Berkeley. It was interesting because this was well after the 60s!” Another change was that at that time there was a variety of co-ops on campus. One, for example, would allow students to receive free food in exchange for working a few hours a week.

Campus Recycling was a student-run group as well. Once Dennis learned about recycling and sustainability, he implemented changes right away and worked closely with the campus recycling team.

Expanding technologies on campus also brought differences to Dennis’s work. “It was a lot less work back then.” When he first started, he would handle all mail and was in charge of copying services. He also quickly learned how to operate the cash register. Copy machines at first required spools of paper, nothing like the reams of paper they use now. Nonetheless, Dennis has embraced all these innovations and the changes to the mailroom.

Other memories include, “the late great Cody’s book store” and Moe’s Books- Dennis has met Fred Cody as well as Moe.

Fond Memories

Dennis fondly remembers his first boss, Kiyo Noji, and other colleagues from his early years at Haas, such as June Wong and Joseph Chytry. Today, he enjoys seeing some of the older retired faculty still come around for a visit.

One of his most meaningful moments was a couple of years back when his graduating student helpers surprised him with a little going away present which included their pictures. “That was so sweet! Definitely a meaningful moment for me.” He has thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with students and staff.

“The school has changed so much, now we have the Defining Leadership Principles, and we embrace them as a community. It has been good to work at Cal, having an unbroken period of 40 years has been an anchor.”

“It’s been a joy and pleasure working here for all that time.”

To close, here is one of Dennis’ original haikus:

i walk by the car
and the dog alarm goes off
bark bark bark bark bark

Thank you and Congratulations, Dennis!

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