Familiar Faces of Canisius: Carlton Coker

By Caitlin McHugh

Features Contributor

For Carlton Coker, it’s the atmosphere at Canisius College that keeps him enthused about his job.

Coker has been a staff member of Canisius for six years. He started working here in 2010 and is currently a member of the Facilities Management Department.

After graduating from Bishop Grimes High School in his hometown of Syracuse, New York, he attended Bryant and Stratton College, where he completed a two-year program studying retail and business management. He then furthered his education and graduated from BOCES.

Prior to working at Canisius, Coker spent 22 years working at Westwood Pharmaceuticals where he worked on running machinery. When the plant, closed he found himself in search of a new job and ended up applying at Canisius, where his aunt was working at the time.

He spent his first year working at Canisius as a shuttle driver. Coker found joy in having this time to interact with the students. “I really liked it because I got a chance to meet a lot of the students, and that’s how I got to know a lot of them,” he shared.

As a member of the maintenance facilities crew, his responsibilities include monitoring the whole library throughout the day, taking care of the bathrooms and trash, and doing anything the staff in the library needs done.

The positive attitudes of the students and his co-workers are part of the main reason Coker enjoys his job so much. “I love the people here,” he commented. “I get along with everyone here and I like the area I’m in.”

Coker described himself as a “people person” and particularly enjoys that his job allows him to constantly meet so many different individuals. “I feel like it’s a great atmosphere for anyone that wants to be around or interact with students or people,” he said.

His positivity does not go unnoticed on campus. The students that have had the chance to interact with him appreciate his friendly personality. Madi Weathers, a junior at Canisius College, shared a memorable experience of a time Coker was able to help her.

“I remember one time after a bad game I was walking through the KAC and I saw him and he asked how my game went,” she said. “I told him not so good and he just gave me a sympathetic smile and told me not to worry about it because I have a lot of games left.” Weathers emphasized how much this brief conversation with was able to lift her spirits when she was upset.

In addition to making sure everything is in order around the library, Coker makes it a priority to be an upbeat person at all times. He strives to contribute a positive attitude to the campus on a daily basis. “I try to make people smile throughout the day and get through the day on a positive note,” Coker said. Weathers also shared how much it means to her that “no matter what he’s doing, even if he’s in the middle of something, he always stops to say ‘hi’ or smile at you.”

When he is not working, his hobbies include yard work and outdoor activities. He spends a lot of time with his grandson, with whom he especially enjoys bonding with over football. Coker is happily involved in his grandson’s participation in Pop Warner football and often takes him to his practices.

Coker’s kind-hearted personality and compassion for others has become very well-known and appreciated amongst the campus. “I really like working here at Canisius,” he said. “If I can go to work and be happy and do my job 110 percent, then it’s a good day for me.”

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