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Sunday, June 26, 2022

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Linda Stewart (middle) dons mouse ears with her Business and Financial Affairs colleagues, Chief John Browning (left) and Debbie Richeson. Linda Stewart (middle) dons mouse ears with her Business and Financial Affairs colleagues, Chief John Browning (left) and Debbie Richeson.
 


Funny, Money and Linda Stewart

The assistant vice president for Business and Financial Affairs retires after 37 years.
By Lorena Nava Ruggero
 

Linda Stewart is known for her way with money. But, there’s a funny side to the recently retired assistant vice president for Business and Financial Affairs, too.

“Linda’s sense of humor is legendary,” said Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs Sally Roush at Stewart’s retirement party last month that recognized her 37 years of service.

“In nearly every serious and otherwise possibly depressing meeting, Linda always has a funny remark or observation that results in genuine laughter that softens the impact of tough topics… I have loved sharing many bouts of laughter with Linda, many of which were also important life lessons that none of us should take ourselves too seriously.”

Mind for numbers

But, Stewart is also known for her “mind that reads numbers” like others read a book, Roush said.

“Anyone who has ever been in a discussion with Linda on budget matters will recognize the little frown that Linda gets when looking at a spreadsheet,” Roush said at Stewart’s retirement party last month.

“She will look at it for a minute and say something like ‘I think there might be a problem here. I want to look at it some more and I will let you know.’ If this is one of your first encounters with Linda and if the numbers she is look at are your numbers, your initial reaction will probably be – ‘oh no, there is no problem.’

“After a few encounters like this with Linda, the smart ones of you quickly learned to pay a lot of attention to that little frown.” 

Source of wisdom

Stewart served as a source of wisdom and advice to not only Roush for 18 years, but also her predecessor, Bill Erickson.

“Her advice is not just about how to understand or calculate the numbers but more importantly is on the why and consequences of the numbers, which in the end are consequences to the daily lives of faculty, staff and students,” Roush said.

In addition to her campus celebration, Stewart had a special send-off last month — she was guest coach at the Nov. 13 men’s basketball game.

The team is close to her heart and, despite her retirement, her commitment to the Aztecs and the university has not dimmed in the least.

“I have enjoyed a wonderful career at a great university.  My farewell reception was spectacular, and I want to thank everyone for being a part of my special day — I am overwhelmed by my colleagues’ warmth and generosity and will always be an Aztec for Life. Go Aztecs!”

Retirement plans

While Stewart’s retirement has only just begun, she’s already got her afternoons booked.

“My plans for retirement have already started with spending more quality time with my grandchildren, Madison, 13, and Noah, 10, helping with homework after school a couple of days a week, adding in a little extra love and guidance,” she said.

And, while some might groan at the umpteenth asking of “what’s next?” Stewart always has the perfect line up her sleeve: “I’m going to Disneyland!” Of course, those visits will include her grandchildren.

Otherwise, she’ll try her best to rest by enjoying some exercise, reading, gardening, attending SDSU basketball games, traveling and spending time with friends.