Celso ‘Sammy’ Lozano has worked at the University for over 38 years and retires after an extraordinary career. “His retirement is well-deserved but a huge loss to the University,” said Kelly Richardson who is a team manager on the West Bank. “He is the hardest working person I have ever met on campus,” she continued, “it’s like he splits himself into six different people and not only turns out work quickly but with the highest quality.” Jim Larson, his current supervisor, couldn’t agree more. “There is nobody better liked than Sammy!”
In addition to being everyone’s friend, he is frequently noticed for his flooring work. Mike Berthelsen said, “He was one of the first people I met when I came to FM. I asked who I should follow around and they all pointed to Celso. He was introduced to me as the best floor guy in the department.”
Although Celso will be leaving the University, he will stay busy working on his family’s farm in Mexico. Celso grew up in Mexico as the middle child of ten. He remembers planting corn step by step behind his father in the fields he will soon return to tend. “I just want to help people,” says Celso. This is evident even from a young age. At 13, Celso moved to Mexico City to help financially support his family. During this time, he trained as a professional boxer until his mother came to the city to find him and brought him back to the farm.
A few years later, Celso moved to the United States and began loading trucks in Toldeo, Ohio. By chance, he ended up in Minnesota where he enrolled in a vocational school in St. Paul and obtained his GD while working at the University in Facilities Management. Celso started cleaning carpets in the East Bank and eventually began training new employees. He liked to teach people how to do things and take care of equipment. Indeed, his favorite work was to make complicated things easy for others to learn. “The harder it is, the easier I like to make it,” he says.
Celso will miss walking the beautiful campus. “The University was good for me and I believe that it is good for everyone,” he said. “I’ve seen the University transform. I work in Kolthoff Hall but I’ve been around the campus over the years. It is not the same place!” Celso will also miss the people at the University. “The top professors in Chemistry were so nice to me. They always said hello when they saw me in the halls. Same with students. It makes me sad that I know students for four or five years and then they leave. I used to know a lot of people around campus and in Dinkytown.”
Aside from working at the University, Celso has worked as a home health aide for the last 28 years. During the day, he assists the people he lives with and at night, he comes to FM. “I have worked with handicapped people and I miss them too. It’s part of my job. I’m a very sentimental person and I like people. I see people in a wheelchair and I see that they cannot do things themselves but I know that I can help. And I want to help. I’ve worked with them all of my life and I really like it,” he says. Celso is so well-known in the area that he will receive calls from other home health workers in places like North Dakota and take his sick and vacation time at the University to assist his peers in taking care of others. In addition to providing care, Celso was instrumental in establishing Minnesota’s first home health care union.
His desire to help will continue in Mexico. “Even when I go to Mexico to be a farmer, I will help others do something. As long as I can do it, I will try to do it,” he said.