Greg Fichter. Photo by Jim Krause


When Indiana University shut down after spring break in mid-March, Greg Fichter, then 73, could have retired after almost 40 years as assistant director of Building Services. In fact, he could have retired several years earlier.

But staying on in the midst of a crisis, he says, “is part of the job.”

As his boss, Tom Morrison, vice president for Capital Planning and Facilities, says, “Greg not only decided to delay his retirement but continued to work onsite as an essential person throughout this ordeal.”

Fichter supervises almost 300 people whose work includes custodial cleaning in all academic buildings, pest control, trash removal, and recycling. “They are the essential workers,” he says of his staff. “They come in every day. … We do moving and setup for all departments on campus and for special events like commencement and dedications.”

He describes himself as a conduit. “We’re here to serve the administration’s plans,” Fichter says. “I’m somebody who shares information with our staff and makes sure questions are answered.”

The shutdown gave Fichter and his crew a jump-start on some campus projects. “We’ve been resurfacing floors in classrooms early because no one was in the buildings.”

A native of Muncie, Indiana, Fichter graduated from IU in 1968 and, he says, “I never left.” He’s held the same position in Building Services for 39 years. “I enjoy the working environment here.” His co-workers, he says, are one of the reasons he stayed on the job. “Some of us have been together 30 or 35 years.”

They’ve never seen the campus as it has been since March. “It’s been like a ghost town,” Fichter says. “But with research labs starting to open, we’ve been doing disinfecting of high- touch areas. We’re getting masks and gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant ready.”

And Fichter, who recently observed his 74th birthday, is finally ready to retire. “I’ll miss my cohorts,“ he says. As for the future, “My wife and I like to travel. There’s a lot of uncertainty about that now, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my three grandchildren.”

His retirement in July coincided with his 40th anniversary at IU. “In all his years of service,” Morrison says, “none was more valuable to us than his last one.”