Dec. 15, 2020
By Jens Odegaard
Lorie Kennerly first walked through the doors of Magruder Hall as an Oregon State University employee in Dec. 1982 – six months before the first class of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine received their veterinary degrees.
Kennerly, an information technology consultant, spent most of her career in IT, but “my position pre-dated the age of IT,” she said. In the early days, computers were barely used. “Early on, my job was to teach old veterinarians how to use a mouse,” she said. “What a hoot!”
From mice to touchscreens, technological evolution rolls on and Kennerly’s been there lending a helping hand and eliminating barriers in more ways than one. “Perhaps you have not realized how inspiring you are,” wrote Maureen Larson, senior faculty research assistant, in a retirement note to Kennerly. “As a woman in IT you must have cut through ceilings that those of us who are younger did not see. But you did it with grace, and I know because that is the energy you brought to work every day. I could always count on your calm questions and suggestions to help me, a self-proclaimed Luddite, through any tech problem the lab was experiencing. You are truly an inspiration.”
At her retirement in Nov. 2020, the college was eight months into a coronavirus-induced hybrid teaching, instruction and work model. Many students, faculty and staff studied, taught and worked from home – connecting electronically with each other and the university’s computing infrastructure via WiFi, and virtual private networks, and Zoom and Canvas. Kennerly and her IT colleagues were instrumental in making the transition possible by ensuring the technological infrastructure worked and by training students, faculty and staff to use it.
“It’s been amazing to see how things have changed,” Kennerly said.
Lois Bates Acheson Dean Susan J. Tornquist, who’s been at the CCVM for more than two decades, echoes her sentiment. “For almost 25 years, Lorie has been the person I can go to for computer-related problems. Those problems have changed a lot during that time, but her graciousness in helping me has not,” Tornquist said. “She’s taught me a lot and helped me even more.”
With the day-to-day responsibilities of staffing the IT department behind her, Kennerly plans to experience new places and people and spend more time with family. “My hopes for retirement are walking without a limp so I can continue to enjoy traveling and having lots of time with my five grandchildren,” she said.
Thirty-eight years, and hundreds of students and colleagues later, Kennerly closed Magruder Hall’s doors for the last time as an employee and walked toward her car to head home. “I want to thank everyone who has enriched my life over the years,” she said. “It’s always been the people, not the technology, that make this place successful.”