Monte Golden

Heart of Gold


Monte Golden has made the 60-mile round-trip commute from Primghar to Northwestern for 26 years. A member of the maintenance staff, he cleans and cares for Christ Chapel, DeWitt Music Hall, and Sittser and Noteboom cottages.

What led you to work at Northwestern?
I was working on an ambulance crew at a hospital in Cherokee, Iowa. I had a friend, Jim Burmakow, who was working in maintenance at Northwestern, and he told me, “If you ever decide to change your job, you should think about Northwestern.” An opening came up, and I applied and got the position. I was glad, because the community here is really nice, the hours were more regular, and I had done some janitorial work at the hospital. It really worked out great.

What’s the best part about your job?
Working alongside students employed by maintenance. It’s a lot of fun. They keep an old guy like me young! It’s really neat to see how much they develop spiritually from a freshman to a senior. That’s one key thing that’s pretty awesome about my job.

How much cleaning do you do at home?
My wife retired after 33 years of teaching and spends a lot of time substitute teaching and babysitting our two grandchildren at home. After I clean all day, I go home and she says, “You know, you used to help me more, but now that I’m retired, you’ve cut back.” And I say, “Well, you’re retired. I’m just tired!”

Maintenance department staff hesitate to discuss pranks for fear of giving current students ideas. Nonetheless, what’s the most memorable chapel prank you’ve witnessed?
There used to be a dairy down the road from the college that had a big black-and-white plastic cow as part of its signage. Somehow, the students unbolted the animal from its concrete foundation and brought it into chapel where the organ is now. They propped each leg onto a chair so it stood above the railing and stuck a big sign across the front that read “Holy Cow.”

What do you love most about working at Northwestern?
It’s like a family. If someone is sick, it seems like everyone is there to support them. After my hip surgery last year, I was visited by a lot of professors from the music department and Arlo, my supervisor. I thought that was really awesome. Everybody’s so supportive. You don’t get that at a lot of places.

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