Campus Closeup: Sue Tollefson
When it comes to sports, Sue Tollefson (USOEC) has several ties. She is the U.S. Olympic Education Center’s principal secretary, and has also served as a luge official, BMX track official and boxing judge. “I’ve never been an actual athlete, but I’m a great spectator,” she said.
Tollefson also holds a degree in secondary physical education, which she acquired from NMU. “I was a student worker in the nursing program at the time, and when I graduated they asked me to come back. There were no teaching jobs at the time and I needed full-time employment, so I accepted the job,” she said.
During her 31 years at NMU, Tollefson has also worked at the College of Professional Studies. She said that working for an athletic department is a totally different experience than working for an academic department.
“Sports have always been my first love, and I’ve been a member of the USOEC support group for about 15 years, so when this position became available it was a great time for me to make the transition.”
She said that of all the sporting events she has been a part of, her involvement in boxing is her favorite experience. Tollefson and her husband, Tony, have been boxing judges for the past 11 years. “I liked being a luge official and a BMX track official, but those settings are either freezing cold or hot and dusty. With boxing, it’s indoors and judges get the best seat in the house. What more can you ask for?”
Originally from Marquette, Tollefson is the membership chair of the Marquette Beautification Committee and a member of the Marq Tran board. She also serves as the president of the clerical/technical union. Her hobbies include camping, reading, knitting and embroidery, bike riding, snowshoeing, canoeing and hiking. “That’s why I like it up here,” she said, “There’s something to do every season. It’s good to have that variety.”
Tollefson is also a member of the “M&M Club,” which consists of a group of NMU secretaries who used to work in Magers and Meyland Halls. “We used to have coffee breaks together. We’ve pretty much all moved on to different areas now, but on a monthly basis we still get together and have dinner or go to a movie,” she said.
Just like the popular candy, the members of the M & M club each have their own color. Tollefson ended up with her hue by default. “I had gone in for surgery when everyone was picking their color, and brown was the last one left when I got back.” Although it would not have been her first choice, she said she’s become attached to it.
Although Tollefson has had a passion for sports all of her life, her dream job would take her in a different direction. “I’d like to be a photographer for National Geographic; I love taking pictures and traveling,” she said. “I never pursued it because I needed steady work and didn’t have the resources to get into it.”
Working with student athletes is the primary reason why she loves her job at USOEC. “I admire these athletes so much for going to school and pursuing their athletic dreams at the same time. I really enjoy working with and being around them.”
Campus Closeup is a regular feature of the NMU faculty-staff newsletter. It profiles individual employees, offering a glimpse of their professional responsibilities and personal interests.