Financial accounting assistant Gayle Harvey retires after nearly 40 years at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Harvey was a member of the purchasing area of the Department of Surgery Business Services Organization.
Harvey first came to the School of Medicine in the 1970s as a temporary worker in the psychiatry offices. A member of her family worked at the medical school enjoyed the salary, benefits and culture, and encouraged Harvey to apply. After a few years as a temp, Harvey joined the Department of Surgery full time in 1983. She has spent the past 39 years in the department, where she started in filing before transitioning to billing and, finally, purchasing. As part of the purchasing team, Harvey works behind the scenes to ensure that the divisions and research laboratories are supplied with the equipment and technology essential for their roles.
“The Department of Surgery is a great place to work,” Harvey says. “I’m not a doctor or a researcher, but I enjoy working in medicine. The treatments our faculty can provide and the breakthroughs they have made in the laboratory make this an exciting place to work. In the business office, it feels like we are helping the faculty in our own way.”
A lot has changed since Harvey came to the Department of Surgery in 1983. New construction has updated the medical campus, the business offices have moved to a new space and purchasing has transitioned to a paperless system. One thing that has not changed is the kindness of the people Harvey works alongside.
“I have made very good friends here and I am very grateful for that,” she says. “The people are what I’ll miss the most. Everyone here is willing to help each other, whether it’s related to work or something personal. Working with such nice, good people is a blessing.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvey worked remotely and missed the atmosphere in the office, but still connected with her friends virtually. When it was safe to do so, some of the team was even able to get together for socially distanced visits in local parks and other outdoor settings. Harvey looks forward to seeing longtime friends more often in retirement.
She also plans to spend more time with family. Harvey has two sons: one is in law enforcement in Florida, while the other is a commercial truck driver. When she can safely travel, Harvey hopes to visit her sons more often and take beachside vacations.
“There’s a lot I look forward to in retirement,” Harvey says. “It will be nice to relax and unwind, but I’ll also miss working at WashU. After almost 40 years it’s going to take some time to sink in that I’m really retiring!”