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Free To A Good Home: The Plant That Keeps On Growing

Date: Nov. 4, 2002
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Colleen Kelley
Archive: Profiles

James D. Williams, director of University of Cincinnati Enrollment Services, is asking the UC community to help him find a home for an old friend named John who prefers the morning light.
He got plenty of it when he stayed in Williams' office back when it was located in the old Beecher Hall, and even more at Williams' temporary location at the Edwards building. Williams is hoping a UC colleague will have a similar spot for old John. Because of his special needs, Williams won't be moving John into his brand new office in University Pavilion.

John, it turns out, is an ordinary houseplant that's grown to an extraordinary size. The Schefflera plant was a "Welcome Wagon" gift when Williams and his wife Judy moved to Blue Ash back in 1985. He says he kept John around the house for about three years and the plant "didn't grow an inch. Then I moved it to my office in Beecher Hall and set it on top of a file cabinet. That's where it first got the morning light, and it just took off."

The move from Beecher

John got so big that the move from Beecher to Edwards turned into a well-choreographed production. It took four people to hold up the long branches, and a wheeled cart to get John properly settled. "We were concerned about the shock of the move from Beecher. It goes through cycles about three or four times a year. It will lose some leaves and then it starts growing again."

In fact, John took off over at Edwards, stretching around three walls, two of them lined with large windows. Williams set up some supports for the older, large branches of the Schefflera.

"It has had some bad experiences. It fell off the cabinet at least two or three times, and that always happened at night or on a weekend.

"I'd prefer to give it to someone from the university, someone with a large area, and I want to know they'll take care of it."

Williams started out at the University of Cincinnati in 1979 as assistant director of Student Financial Aid. He moved into the Registrar's Office as director of student records in 1984, became director of Financial Aid in 1988 and started his current position as director of Enrollment Services in 1993.

"I first came here expecting to stay three to five years. I had a definite career strategy in mind. What I didn't expect were the opportunities I would find here. I stayed because of the unbelievable opportunities.

"I've had good bosses and good colleagues, and I'd say my work at UC has been a delightful challenge the past 24 years."

Williams has been equally as excited about the latest challenge -- working on the team that continues to link new services on the One Stop Web site that lets students conduct business online such as registering for classes, checking their grades or the status of their bill, or even getting assistance from an academic advisor.

Williams will move into the new $32 million University Pavilion Nov. 4. The building continues the vision of One Stop, focusing on service for and about students. Student service offices that were formerly housed in as many as six different buildings will all come together in one building in the heart of campus - University Pavilion. Admissions, Financial Aid, the Office of the Registrar, Student Accounts and Collections will be located in the fourth and fifth floor business offices. University Pavilion will also house the Student Success Center, Career Development Center and Educational Services, One Stop Student Services Center, Cashier's Office, Disability Services, Enrollment Management and a University Visitors Center.
Office at Edwards

So even though Williams and John are parting ways, Williams is looking forward to the move that will further breakdown barriers to student service. He wants John to continue to thrive as well. If you have an office or a home sunroom where you think John could settle in, send Williams an e-mail at WILLIAJD@UCMAIL.UC.EDU

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