Whenever Jeff Hagberg would be introduced, it was usually with the moniker “the last surviving original employee” of the Ramsey Regional Activity Center.
That distinction came to an end Tuesday (Feb. 28), when Hagberg retired after 32 years of service at Western Carolina University, which included nearly 31 at the Ramsey Center, which opened in the spring of 1986.
“I’ve got mixed emotions,” Hagberg said. “It’s been a hard, long road.”
Hagberg, a multimedia technician, worked the arena’s soundboard during events like basketball games, concerts and commencement. It’s a far cry from when the building opened and Hagberg was a general utility worker. In addition to running the soundboard, his duties included doing whatever needed to be done.
When the Ramsey Center opened, it also was home for some of the theatrical events that are now housed at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center, which didn’t open until 2005. Hagberg was responsible for helping remove the basketball floor, build the theater stage, put up the curtains and light plot, tear down the stage and reinstall the basketball floor.
Prior to working at the Ramsey Center, Hagberg was a member of WCU’s grounds crew for about a year-and-a-half. “(The Ramsey Center) was still under construction and I used to always say, ‘I’m going to work there,’ ” Hagberg said.
Some of his most memorable events include working the Chicago and Alabama concerts.