After more than 30 years as director of campus recreation, Andy Honker is saying goodbye.
Honker, who joined the USF staff in 1969, retires at the end of this week.
“I will mostly miss the collegiality of the faculty and staff here,” Honker said. “And my friends that I met through national organizations and colleagues.”
Administrative assistant Renee Seay organized a retirement party for Honker on Tuesday at the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. The invited guests were close friends, colleagues and family members.
Seay, who has worked with Honker for 12 years, said the campus recreation staff is very close-knit.
“(The staff) is like a second family to me,” Seay said. “I will miss his dedication; his honesty. He has this demeanor about him that is very rare.”
Seay said she recalls when she first started working with the campus recreation staff and they worked out of a trailer. The staff consisted of Honker, Dan Holcomb and Eric Hunter, the associate director who will be filling Honker’s position after Friday.
“He (Honker) has watched me grow up,” Seay said.
Honker said there is no one particular thing that stands out as his proudest moment, but when former employees and students tell him the impact he’s had on their lives, it means the world to him.
Honker is retiring through the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, which gives employees the option of placing their monthly retirement benefit in a deferred retirement account and extending their length of employment by five years.
Honker says he does not feel that his retirement came too fast or snuck up on him.
“When you get older, time moves much quicker,” he said.
Hunter, who has known Honker since they were undergraduates, said he is looking forward to continuing a similar path for the recreation center.
“(Honker’s) thoughtful and analytical approach led to decisions that tended to be the right ones,” Hunter said.
Hunter wants students to know that Honker’s main career goal was pushing for what was best for students and making sure their issues got brought to the forefront.
“He is such a professional, caring individual,” Hunter said.
Hunter will be taking over as director Friday and he is already addressing the problems that need to be taken care of.
“We have experienced so much growth that there is not enough indoor recreational space,” he said. “I am mostly concerned about securing funding to embark on an expansion or new facilities.”
The recreation center is on the master plan for growth in 2008, but that does not guarantee funding. However, Hunter said he is sure he can get support to get the job done.
His wife, two sons, alumni and fellow retirees, such as Phyllis Marshall, joined Honker at the party. They ate delicious food, shared memories and enjoyed what will likely be the last party Honker will attend as the campus recreation director.
Honker will be celebrating his 62nd birthday in a couple of weeks.