By Richard Zagrzecki
When Tom Ehardt first started working at the University of Houston, Jimmy Carter was president and Barry Manilow was topping the music charts.
The associate vice chancellor/ associate vice president for Finance has witnessed a lot of changes in the years that followed. The campus itself is now almost unrecognizable from what it looked like then, having experienced tremendous growth and construction. Co-workers and staff have come and gone.
Now, almost 39 years after he accepted his first UH job as a research associate, he’s calling it a career. His last day at the office was Jan. 30.
“Things along the way have been challenging and interesting. But mostly it’s been the people that’s kept me here,” said Ehardt, whose role will be filled by Treasurer Raymond Bartlett. “This is the greatest group of people that anybody could hope for and work with.”
It was May 17, 1976, when Ehardt started at UH. He worked his way up through the ranks, going from a research associate to budget director. From there, he was promoted to budget executive director and then assistant vice chancellor/vice president for Budget and Finance Operations-University of Houston Systems. After that, he was elevated to his current role.
Assistant Vice Chancellor/Vice President of Human Resources Joan Nelson said Ehardt’s knowledge that he has accrued will be missed by many people at UH.
“When Tom leaves here, he is going to leave with so much institutional knowledge and so much knowledge about budget and finance that he cannot be replaced,” she said during a Jan. 21 farewell reception for him.
Executive Vice Chancellor/Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Dr. Carl Carlucci has worked with Ehardt for the past seven years. He has nothing but praise for him and the contribution he has made to the University over the years.
“I could mention a long list of things that Tom has brought to the University and to the job,” he said. “He trusts others, and that trust begets trust. That’s really been a great contribution to the University.”
Ehardt said he is looking forward to retirement and traveling with his wife, Phyllis, who has been retired for six years.
“I have been warned that sometimes retirement just doesn’t take on the first try, but I think it will in my case,” he said. “I want to thank everyone at the University. I really have appreciated my time here.”