Dean of Students Dick McKaig said as a first date, his wife asked him to a sorority formal. He said she asked because she knew he wouldn’t say yes.
Maribeth McKaig remembers the story a little differently.
“We were friends for six or seven months,” she said. “I asked him to fix me up with one of his fraternity brothers and he said, ‘Oh, I’ll go with you.’”
And for the last 18 years, Maribeth McKaig has seen her husband attend student events to watching him reel from student deaths. When he retires Friday, she will miss the student contact the most – something Dick McKaig always made sure he had plenty of.
“I’ll miss getting to know the finest students that we’ve known over the years,” she said.
Throughout her husband’s 38-year tenure at IU, Maribeth McKaig said the one memory that sticks out in her mind was her husband’s long hours. She said because she was a school teacher, he was able to get their two daughters dressed and ready for school, while she could pick them up.
She said her two girls were “late-nighters” from an early age and got a lot of chances to see their father at night.
Maribeth McKaig said when their oldest daughter was in preschool, she went through a phase during which she didn’t call her father “daddy” – instead she called him Dick. She said she tried to break her daughter’s habit, but Dick McKaig insisted she let it be, saying their daughter would eventually grow out of it.
“He went to pick her up from preschool and the kids were sitting in storytime,” she said. “And our daughter introduced him as ‘This is Dick. He lives with us.’ When I heard that story, I was like,‘They’re going to think we’re not even married.’”
But even though his hours were long, she said they had their advantages.
As her children got older, she was able to pick up more hobbies and she spent more time grading papers.
“It probably made me a better teacher that he was so busy in the evenings,” she said.
Throughout Dick McKaig’s time at IU, Maribeth McKaig said she attended as many student events as she wanted to, and she said she’s developed relationships with students who have been advised by the dean.
But even after 18 years of student activities, Maribeth McKaig said her husband is still the same man he was when he started the job.
“He’s just really good at troubleshooting,” she said. “He seems to look at the big picture. He always has good advice for dealing with bad situations. It all just seems to roll off his back like water on a duck.”