This is the eleventh in a series of stories heralding the many great people of the University of Findlay and the ways they support our mission of preparing students for meaningful lives and productive careers.
Dee Dee Spraw, ’00 M ’07, assistant director of admissions for University of Findlay, knew during her senior year of high school that college wasn’t yet part of the plan. So, shortly after graduation, as a young sales clerk at the former Moore’s Lumbertown in Findlay, she was just trying to figure out her path, not fretting much, but with the “what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life?” line visiting her thoughts every now and again. That’s when someone came along who, she said, “took a chance on her,” and the result has been not only an undergraduate and graduate degree from UF, but a family, and a thirty-plus year career with the University as well.
Spraw started at Findlay after [UF Professor Emeritus of Chemistry] Dr. Luke Bartolomeo’s frequent stops into Moore’s Lumbertown eventually led to a job offer for her. “Besides being the chair of natural resources and a chemistry professor, he also was a home contractor,” she said. “He had a secretarial position open in his department and encouraged me to apply. I did, and that’s where it all started for me.”
And, as her relationship with UF began to bloom, so, too, did a relationship with her husband, UF police chief, Bill Spraw. “He was, at the time, employed as a police officer with the city of Findlay. He was working an event on campus and with the help of some mutual friends we were introduced,” she explained. Even when she began to move up in her career at UF, she still realized the importance of getting the education she had dreamed of as a young sales clerk. “Marriage and family life took priority,” she said, “but I continued to work on my degree, while working full-time and raising a family. Fortunately, I have a great husband who was supportive.”
Working through inter-campus job changes, Spraw went from her secretarial position to the registrar’s office and science department, environmental safety and health, career services, and, before her current role, the alumni director for thirteen years. As the current assistant director of admissions, Spraw said that what drives her has not changed for her entire thirty-six year career. She speaks similarly to the rest of campus employees when she explains that the students who are at the heart of UF’s success are not only important to her, but a big part of the joy she feels on a daily basis on campus. “I absolutely love working with our students,” she said. “Overseeing our Student Ambassador program is so rewarding in so many ways. Some of my best memories of my time at UF are from the students. I still remain connected to many of them.”
“Connected” is an appropriate word to describe Spraw’s role, both in her job and on campus in general. Having been a part of the University for so many years, she certainly knows what it takes to be a successful Oiler, and her current position only adds to that. She said that a typical day involves many things; among them, greeting prospective students and families and welcoming them to OilerNation, scheduling visits, coordinating events, fulfilling duties as co-recruiter of College Credit Plus [CCP] students, and overseeing UF’s student ambassadors. She is an advisor for the Sigma Kappa sorority, along with being a Distinguished Alumni Award winner. All of these accolades coupled with several community awards makes Spraw an outstanding voice for the area, and specifically, the University. And, her voice speaks of her experience in the most positive way. “I was blessed with many mentors during my student time at UF that pushed and cheered me to get my degrees and to pursue my career,” she explained. “I have loved every opportunity I have been given. UF prepared me well in so many ways. It also allowed me to work on my career and keep my family as my first priority.”
For her, first priority consists of her husband, three children, two of whom are UF alumni, and new additions in the form of grandchildren that she says she “knew would be awesome,” but have turned out to be that and more. Two grandsons and one granddaughter, with another due in April, turn Spraw into “GiGi” and “Gma Dee Dee.” “Family time is what I love most,” she said.
Whether it’s in the role of GiGi or of UF’s assistant director of admissions, Spraw said that she has been blessed with two different types of families, both that started as a result of forming relationships with UF people and places. “At UF, you are a part of a smaller private university, and one that feels like a big family,” she explained. “The students, alumni, faculty, staff and all the experiences and opportunities I have been given will always make UF a place I call home. It’s also kind of ironic I met my husband on campus, and, more than likely, we will both end our careers on campus.”
It’s abundantly clear that, when her career with UF does end, her relationship with the University will not. UF alumni are once an Oiler, always an Oiler, and that especially includes Dee Dee Spraw.