Ruth McKoin, who in April will celebrate her 17th anniversary at UNLV, has seen the university from different vantage points. Her first job on campus was providing security at the Lied Library. Today she serves as an administrative assistant IV in the office of the vice provost for undergraduate education, where her work dedication earned her the third-place recipient of the President’s Classified Employee of the Year Award for 2020.
It is a range with so many aspects to the day. A typical day before COVID was booking a lot of travel for conferences, setting up meetings, finding rooms for meetings, ordering food for meetings. When I used to be under the senior vice provost I did all set up for (the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities), arranging for food and rental cars and making sure they had all the equipment they needed.
During COVID, I am trying to do everything virtually, which can mean a whole lot more work. One thing I’ve been doing is ordering computers and helping people set up.
When I applied for the job I thought a job with the state meant job security. UNLV was a place to grow, to meet new people — beautifully intelligent people — and learn new things.
I’m still here because the teams of people I am surrounded by are genuinely wonderful people. Seeing how much they care about our students and (about) seeing the students succeed is amazing. The world is such an awful place sometimes that it is good to see so much caring.
When I first started, that was (former UNLV Libraries employee) Daryl Privott. He was always giving advice. “You have to make sure that you are taking care of the people who are taking care of you. If you are good to people, they will be good to you.” He treated each person as if they were special.
In my office now, there are so many people. When I first came over (to the provost office), Elisa Watts took me under her wing, taught me how to do the travel, the requisitions for the P-card. Thank goodness she has a lot of patience. Also, Mary Brady and Kristene Fisher were among a lot of great people who helped me get acclimated to a whole different world.
First paying job ever
I worked as a desk clerk at a hotel in Winnsboro, Louisiana, on the graveyard shift between my junior and senior years in high school. I drove 36 miles to the job. (At work) basically, I watched MTV. You start learning patience and responsibility and the importance of what it means to have people rely and depend on you. If I didn’t show up, the person who worked all day would have to work all night, too.
Also, I pulled cotton. I was a cook. I worked at a convenience store.
When I was growing up I was going to be a nurse or a singer; I was trying really hard to be a singer. I competed at Imperial Palace in an impersonator show as Bette Midler and I made it to the finals. I am also an Avon representative. I work a lot.
My favorite movie of all time is Apocalypto. Mel Gibson is the director. In the movie, a man is separated from his wife. The movie is about his determination to get back to his family.
What you would choose as your last meal?
That would be at The Boiling Crab — shrimp and the whole shebang. For Mexican food I like my Guadalajara. We go there for my birthday.