Human Resources

Employee Spotlight Roland

Roland "Butch" Smith

Laboratory Animal Care Specialist
Psychology Department

One of the most unusual and delightful positions on campus, is held by Butch Smith! Butch works as a Laboratory Animal Care Specialist in the Psychology Department. You may think you know what Butch does, but it is doubtful that you know ALL that Butch does for our campus! Butch is responsible for the care and maintenance of the small animal lab in Waggoner Hall. He is in charge of all the small animals (rats & mice) on this campus. Even animals (LIVE rats & mice) that are used in other departments (Biology, Chemistry, etc.) are housed in the lab that Butch manages. This requires that he ensure the animals are taken care of 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Butch also has a gift for fixing things…most anything! And when the department can’t afford a piece of equipment, he will build it for them. If he doesn’t know how to build it, he will find resources which he can use to teach himself how to build it!

Butch had a fascinating story to share about how he came to work at Western, almost 30 years ago. Butch saw an advertisement in the newspaper for someone to care for animals part/time at Western. He called Frank Fulkerson, and Frank told him the work schedule the position required. Butch continued, “I had no small animal experience. At the time I was doing sub-contractor work and farming.Before I got home from visiting with Frank, he called me and asked me if I wanted the job. If so, I had to begin the following day, as Frank was going on vacation for two weeks the day after I would begin. I took the job and worked half-time for two years.” The word got out about what a talented individual Butch was and the Biology Dept. offered him a job in their department. Before long the departments reorganized and all the animals were located in one place.Butch has been overseeing the animals ever since.

When asked what he likes most about his job, Butch shared, “I like the students and the people I work with. I enjoy the work that I do. Our students have great ideas and insights and I love that about them. There is so much potential in them! If you’re looking for a welcoming environment and a career, as opposed to a ‘job’ you will find it very fulfilling, working at Western Illinois University. We do a good job here!”

One of Butch’s most memorable experiences was when he was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Employee of the Year. Butch paused and said, “That meant a lot!”

Butch currently serves on the Civil Service Employees Council for Group 3 and enjoys helping with the Civil Service luncheons. Connie Lincoln got him involved and he has enjoyed this leadership role.

Butch credits Associate Provost Russ Morgan with helping him in his career at WIU. Butch elaborated, “Russ was always very supportive of the things I wanted to do to improve our area, when he was here. He listened to me and would generally agree with my ideas.” Another individual that ranks high on Butch’s appreciation ladder is Josh Cook. Josh works as an Extra-Help employee while he is attending WIU. Butch explains what a great employee Josh has been, “He is one of the best employees I’ve ever had. He has a phenomenal work ethic. He covered for me when I had to be on leave last year. He can do anything, and he does an amazing job!”

When he is not taking care of Western’s fur babies, Butch enjoys fixing items at home on his home improvement list: his pick-up, vehicles, or his 1967 Case Backhoe Loader! He is an avid gardener, likes to can, and cook. Ask him about his cream pie sometime! If you need a good laugh or to be cheered up, stop in at Waggoner Hall and try to find Butch.He’s your man!

HR salutes Roland "Butch" Smith as one of our many committed Civil Service employees at WIU!