Get to know your friendly neighborhood swiper
A bastion of our Lowry meal experiences, Al Conrad has been swiping students into Lowry since before any of us were even considering applying to Wooster.
Cohen: How long have you been working here?
Al: I’m in my eleventh year.
Cohen: Are you from Ohio originally?
Al: Yes, I’m from Ashland. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life except for the three years that I was in the military.
Cohen: When were you in the military?
Al: I was in the military during the Vietnam era but I was fortunate enough to be stationed in Germany. That’s not to say that I couldn’t have had my records pulled to go [to Vietnam]. By the grace of God I didn’t have my records pulled. I was fortunate enough to stay right there in Frankfurt.
Cohen: What were you doing before you came to work at Wooster?
Al: In my first career I was in banking and then there was a gap when I tried to do several other things. I happened to know somebody here, made a phone call and then, to make a long story short, I got hired. Timing is everything. I made the phone call on a Monday and on Friday I was hired.
Cohen: What’s the best job that you’ve ever had?
Al: I would have to say my job here on campus. It’s been very rewarding. If you can’t have fun on your job it may not be worth it. I love what I do.
Cohen: Do you feel as though you are able to successfully create relationships with students that you interact with?
Al: Yes I do, I make it a point to interact with the students. I love working, not only with my coworkers but also with the students that I make contact with.
Cohen: Do you see yourself staying at Wooster for the foreseeable future?
Al: I kind of figured that was going to come up. As long as my health continues to be as good as it is and has been, I really don’t see anything coming along that would call for my departure. So I will be here for a while.
Cohen: What are your hobbies and interests?
Al: For quite some time I was into photography. I was on the photo staff with my high school yearbook. As of right now, the only thing that I’m really pursuing — and this might sound kind of silly to some — but for the last 18 months I have been collecting old glass milk bottles from all over the area. I focus primarily on Ashland county, Wayne county, and I’ve gotten into Holmes county. That’s my strong focus right now. It has become almost an obsession.
Cohen: How many milk bottles do you have at this point?
Al: In my collection, I am pushing 300. I have them conveniently spaced around my apartment. About the time they start to squeeze me out will be the time I’ll have to come up with something else. They are all over the place.
Cohen: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Al: I think I have to preface that by saying that I consider The College of Wooster to be my home away from home. I have an older brother who I get together with a couple times a month. We get in the car and wherever we decide to go, we go. So we go on little road trips. He and I both like to snoop around antique shops. He’s got his interests, I’ve got mine, and together we help each other look for these different things.
Cohen: Do you have a favorite movie, TV show, music?
Al: Hopefully I won’t offend anybody by saying this, regarding your question about music. I like all kinds of music, but I draw the line at opera and rap. You can tell by [points to grey hair] that rap is not what I grew up with. As far as favorite TV shows, my all time favorite is Laugh-In, a one hour comedy show that Goldie Hawn starred in. But as for current TV shows, I am into Castle and The Big Bang Theory.
Cohen: What’s something on your bucket list?
Al: I would love to go back to where I was stationed in Frankfurt. And I would love to take a cruise somewhere warm. But, in light of the recent Italian cruise liner that tried to sink. I should say that I would want a cruise ship that doesn’t sink.
Cohen: If you could study anything at The College of Wooster, what would it be?
Al: I would focus on communications. I’d never been to college at all. At one point, I got to know a visiting communication professor here very well who told me that I really ought to think about taking classes. I gave it some thought and decided to take his Communication 111 course. Having never been in a college classroom setting before, I got cold feet. I ended up asking him if I could take the class for audit purposes and he told me that if I was going to be in a class with him for 16 weeks, that I may as well be getting credit for it. So I did, and I passed the course. When I got into it, I told myself “just get a passing grade.” After the class ended I hadn’t heard from the professor so I called the registrar’s office to ask for my grade. They told me that I got an A- and I couldn’t believe it. I was just amazed by myself. I don’t know how to say it, but that would be what I’m the most proud of, that I finished a college level course.
Cohen: Would you ever consider taking another class?
Al: With my work schedule I’d only be able to take one class per semester. Doing the math, It would probably take me about 13 years to have enough credits to graduate. It’s never too late. I just don’t know, at this point in my life, if I’ll pursue it or not.