/Lois Terminella Celebrates Over Four decades at SUNY Oswego

Lois Terminella Celebrates Over Four decades at SUNY Oswego

Lois Terminella has been working at Lakeside Dining Hall since 1981.

Lois Terminella has a couple hundred kids.

She started working at Lakeside Dining Hall on the SUNY Oswego campus Sept. 8, 1981 — and she’s still going strong.

“When I started, I was in the bakeshop for six months. I loved it — but I wanted to see what the dining halls were like,” she said. “I went into salads here at Lakeside on the morning shift. Then there was a job as a checker cashier, nighttime and I did that. Then I bid on a morning checker-cashier job and here I am 42 years later. I still love it!”

Terminella is an Oswegonian.

“My family is all here, my dad and my three sisters and their families,” she said. “I have three sisters, my father [Frank, he’s 96 years old] and several nieces and nephews. My mother [Lois] passed away about 17 years ago. We’re a very close family and on my days off we like to spend time together whenever we can. That’s nice.”

Helping out

“Yes, I also work the other dining halls when needed. I greet the customers — students, friends, parents — and I make sure their IDs swipe. I do the coffee area, make sure all the coffee and supplies are filled and keep things wiped down,” she said. “I’m a customer service person, too. If a student or parent asks me, ‘Where’s this?’ I direct them. ‘Can I get that?’ I try to get the boss and make sure we can do it for them.”

She just “loves the students, love talking to them and if they have problems, I try to direct them in the right way,” she said. “Every day I get 400 or 500 smiling faces in here.”

And more kids

Besides her college job, she also worked at Camp Hollis, the county’s summer camp for youth.

“Yes, I work both jobs,” she said proudly. “I retired from Camp Hollis in 2023! A lot of people don’t know yet; but I need to chill and relax by the pool. I will miss the campers and taking care of them!”

When she worked at Camp Hollis, “they kept me really busy with younger kids [8 to 14]. I was the kitchen manager there, working with 16-year-olds through 19 to 20 in the kitchen. I recruited some of them from here [campus],” she added.

She’d go in at 4 a.m. until about 3 p.m. and sometimes longer, she said.

She recalled a funny memory at Camp Hollis when she was told “no more doughnuts” for the campers.

“I said, ‘why? Really one doughnut won’t hurt them once a week,’” she said

She listened to them [Brandon Morey, camp director at the time and Kathy Fenlon, former director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau]. But the campers kept bugging her about doughnuts.

“Brandon was coming in late one Friday — so you know what I did? I got chocolate doughnuts. They all stood up, clapped and said ‘Thank you, Lois!’ I made them sooo happy!” she said. “Then after that, we had doughnuts on Fridays! LOL.”

In her free time she loves going out to restaurants, going swimming in her sister’s Donna’s pool and traveling to Florida.

“I love going out to eat. Italian, pot roast dinner — I love pizza and steak dinner,” she added. “I like to go shopping at the malls. I like going to movies and going for walks.”

She might retire from the college this year, she acquiesced.

“I like it here. I really do enjoy my co-workers, the student employees and all the bosses here. It’s just a great place to work,” she said. I worked at a nursing home prior to this; I went to school for nursing, but ultimately went into food service instead. I’m so happy I have this job.”

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