By Cindy Granier
After more than 34 years of service at the University of Houston, David Sarkozi has retired. His last day was Aug. 31.
After graduating from high school in New Braunfels, Sarkozi moved to Houston and began working at UH as a student worker, first in the library and then with the UH Police Department.
Later, he was promoted to a full-time staff member with UHPD. He has held several titles, including dispatcher, computer support technician and microsystems analyst. At the time he retired, he was the public safety systems manager.
Sarkozi worked on campus during many weather-related events, including hurricanes Alicia, Rita and Ike, along with Tropical Storm Allison.
During his time at UH, he has watched the student enrollment go from 27,000 to the current high of nearly 44,000. He has seen square footage of the campus more than triple in size. Thirty major buildings have being built – about 30 percent of the campus. He has seen the expansion of the library and the Student Center. He was here when the old Cougar Place residential community opened and when it was torn down and rebuilt.
“That’s right – I was here longer than the useful life of a building,” he joked.
Sarkozi said he can point to changes and projects at UH that he worked on and can humbly say, “I did that.”
He remembers an incident that took place when he was dispatching during the midnight shift in the ‘90s. A man who was about 65 years old walked inside the police lobby about 2 a.m. It was cold and wet outside, with a temperature around 35 degrees. Sarkozi asked if he could help him and the man said he just wanted to warm up. His car had been stolen in a carjacking somewhere near downtown. The Houston Police Department took his report and left him standing on the street. The man was trying to walk back to the motel where he lived near the Astrodome.
Sarkozi could see he was exhausted while he sat and shivered. He took the liberty in providing the man a ride home. He felt honored to be able to help him.
Remembering that night kept Sarkozi going when other times on the job may have been a little more difficult than usual.
“It’s funny how the little things count so much,” he said.
Sarkozi is now ready to move on to the next chapter in his life. He has been a bird watcher for many years and led many groups. He now plans to become a professional birding guide leading birdwatching tours in Texas and Belize. He hopes to move to Belize in a few years when his wife retires.