December 6, 2012
The Burke Library All Night Reading Room was filled with balloons, food and people to celebrate the retirement of Richard Catalone, Burke Library’s security guard for nearly 13 years.
“He genuinely cares about everyone,” said Reference and Outreach Librarian Kristin Strohmeyer. “He is truly interested in their wellbeing.”
Catalone sat with his wife, Rosemary, as he was presented with a framed drawing of the chapel and a poster board filled with the notes of students.
Catalone, who served for 16 years in the National Guard and the Air Force, graduated from SUNY Oswego with his baccalaureate degree. Among a wide variety of jobs, he fondly remembered the times when he “taught intermittently.”
“This job was nice,” he commented, “it was another way to help coach students. They make me feel young.”
When Burke Library first decided to stay open late, they contacted a security guard company who sent Catalone. Over 12 years later, he was still there.
“He joined our family, he was a great fit for us,” remembered Strohmeyer.
While the organization of the library has changed through the years, Catalone commented that everything else, from the kindness of the students to his daily walk through shelves of books, has remained the same. Many students remember Catalone from late nights at the library, particularly during finals week when he would spend the entire night looking after students.
“He was always looking after people, wishing us well,” said Inricka Liburd ’13.
After spending years working in the library, he knows many of the students and considers Hamilton a second home. A few years ago, Catalone was featured in a student senior art project. Zoe Viccajji ’07, who won the Emily and Alfred Bohn Prize in Studio Art, painted a sequence of oil portraits to portray the everyday work needed for Hamilton to function. The lifelike portrait was displayed in an Emerson Gallery exhibition that year.
As Catalone prepared to leave, Circulation Assistant Phil Gisondi continually rolled the poster up before needing to open it again, each time interrupted by a student with, “is it too late to sign?”
“He was always comforting to see when you had a paper and were working late,” remembered Teddy Clements ’14, “his words of encouragement kept us going.”
Even after the staff left the party to return to work, students trickled in to give Richard a hug to thank him for his dedication to Hamilton.
“I have spies,” he said with a smile as they said goodbye. “Keep up the good work.”