Meet Patricia Bruxvoort: maintenance woman extraordinaire. Known by most as Pat, she is the one responsible for the immaculate condition of the theater and the art buildings. Pat has been working at NW for 14 years. She remembers when plays were performed in the old playhouse and recalls less-than-pleasant encounters with bats, and working despite rumors of ghosts.
A lot has changed since then, but Pat’s dedication certainly has not. Her typical day starts at 8 a.m. and usually ends at 4 p.m., but Bruxvoort often comes in on Saturday mornings between showings of plays to clean up. Whether it is vacuuming every seat in the proscenium theater or cleaning up paint and clay in the art building, Bruxvoort does it all.
When asked what some of the messier rooms she cleans are, she smiled and rolled her eyes. “Well, the ceramics room especially,” she said.
Bruxvoort pours herself into her work year round. Professors Yun K. Shin and Emily Stokes both recalled the rigorous process it took to clean the ceramics room over the summer. It included moving all equipment and tables out, stripping and triple waxing the floors then finally moving everything back in. Bruxvoort and her summer staff took the daunting challenge head on, and it shows. Considering the amount of messes made there daily, the art building is in pristine condition.
“As someone who teaches printmaking, which is really messy, it’s always amazing to me how she gets rid of ink,” professor Emily Stokes said. “(It) seems to get on every surface.”
Bruxvoort doesn’t just fulfill her duties; she exceeds them. And in doing so she has become more than just an employee in the theater building, but a member of the department. Jennifer Sabo, Professor Karen Barker and Professor Jonathan Sabo all agree that Bruxvoort is not only a coworker, but a part of their theater family.
Faculty and students praise Bruxvoort and the way she invests time and energy not only into her job, but also into the people around her.
“Pat is a ray of sunshine in the theater building,” commented theater major Jana Latchaw.
Professor Emily Stokes said that, “If you’re going to see somebody at eight in the morning, she’s a great person to have to see.”
In the time that she has been at NW, she’s attended almost every play that has been put on. She even remembers seeing Professor Drew Schmidt as a student, acting in the children’s production eight years ago. Unfortunately, Bruxvoort plans to retire from NW after this semester, leaving behind some incredibly large shoes to fill.
“(Not being on campus) is going to seem really strange,” she said. “Getting to know the students and professors has been so good.” After retiring, Bruxvoort plans to continue attending as many shows as she can, travel with her husband of 45 years and spend time with her five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Patricia Bruxvoort’s genuine joy, humor and unbelievable hard work have been an incredible blessing to many people, and will continue to be so for years to come.