Meet Michael Ruff, foster dad and boiler tech at Lincoln University, where he’s worked for 50 years.
• Retirement options: “I often think ‘What am I going to do if I retire?’” Ruff said. “I’d rather be working.”
• Foster care and concern: Ruff and his longtime partner have fostered between 20 and 30 children. “It’s exciting but it’s also scary,” he said. “You hope you get the right kids to fit you.”
Michael Ruff was a senior at Avon Grove High School when he went to Lincoln University for the first time. It was a trip with his high school sweetheart to pick up her mom from work.
The university’s housekeeping foreman saw Ruff on campus and asked if he was looking for a job.
“Yes,” his girlfriend’s mother answered for him.
No matter that Ruff already had a job at a knitting mill in West Grove — his girlfriend’s mom obviously thought this one was better.
As it turned out, Ruff’s hours were getting cut back at the mill and he did need something more stable. So in December 1969, he took a job in housekeeping at Lincoln University — one of the country’s first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Ruff couldn’t have known then just how stable the job at Lincoln would be. He doesn’t have that girlfriend anymore, but 50 years later, he still has a job at the university, where he now works as a boiler tech. He is the longest-serving employee on Lincoln’s campus. Read more via Philadelphia Inquirer.