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In late summer of 1974 I arrived in River Falls in my rented U-Haul with the family of five in tow, ready to “conquer the Midwest.” After what seemed like decades of sharing crowded grad school office space, I couldn’t wait to have an office of my own – with my name on the door no less.

With two weeks to go before the start of the school year I reported for duty, eager to get that basement office in “Ag Science West” organized and to crank out some of the best lesson plans ever.

“Ag Science West” you ask? For its first 10 years, prior to the completion of the Food Science Addition, the department was housed in the west basement area of May Hall. We shared our locker room with Byron James’ famous wrestling teams that regularly worked out upstairs. I can still remember being greeted by the aroma of sweaty socks every morning, which seemed a lot like that old grad school office.

But, back to the story. I couldn’t get into the building because I didn’t have a key, and the campus locksmith was on vacation. I don’t know whether he took all of his keys with him to his lake cabin, but there were absolutely no keys to be had until his return to work in 10 days.

At the time this was a crushing blow to my rookie plans, but it was also a life lesson (get ready – here comes the lemonade) that one must be flexible. You can’t count on everything working out according to the script you have laid out, but keep on knocking. The doors will eventually be opened.

– Submitted by Steve Ridley, Retired Food Science Faculty, Associate Dean and Dean of CAFES, 1974-2005

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