WAUKESHA — In 55 years, a lot can change. Presidents, fashion, wars, and so much more are ephemeral, but one thing at Carroll University in Waukesha has been consistent - Gertrude Ullsperger.
"Well, I love it. I love working here and I love the kids," Ullsperger said.
For 55 years, Ullsperger has greeted students as they walk into the Carroll University dining hall.
"All the students are wonderful. All my coworkers are wonderful," she said.
On January 30th, she celebrated her 94th birthday, the only way she knows how - at the dining hall that now bears her name.
She is just as happy now, as she was roughly 14,575 days ago when she first walked onto campus. However, this relationship between the two wasn't supposed to last.
"(In) 1964, they need help. They needed some help for one day they said. For one day... and look what happened."
Everyone is happy the relationship lasted as long as it did. Especially the students.
"She is everyone's grandma," senior Will Becker said.
As students entered the dining hall each was greeted with a warm smile. They returned the favor with a "happy birthday." One after another, students continued to greet the long-time Carroll employee.
Every student that entered while we watched wished her the best on a special day. That's a lot of students when in factor in it was lunchtime on a college campus with one main cafeteria. It's a true testament to her legacy that speaks louder than the signage above the cafeteria that bears her name.
"She’s always just so positive. Like, every time I see her, she’s smiling. She’s having a good time," sophomore Jauman Saus said.
Gertrude doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon.
"I think (I'll work) a little bit longer if these legs hold me up."
She doesn't show any signs of stopping soon. As we were interviewing her, she noticed a line of students waiting to enter, and she said to the news crews standing there, "Can we stop this or not? Are there people out there?"
The line quickly rushed in and greeted her with a smile and happy birthday.
Even on her birthday, in the cafeteria with her name on it, Gertrude is still all business.
Happy Birthday, Gertrude!