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A Book Worm at Heart
Editor's Note: Editor's Note: The Blue Devil of the Week highlights a different Duke employee each week. Visit the archives for more articles.
Name: Lillian Spiller
Position: Administrative coordinator and business manager, Women's Studies
Years at Duke: Two stints adding up to 26 years
What I do at Duke: I act as the business manager for our department, so I do the budget, but I do a lot of things that don't have to do with business. I help with scheduling courses and curriculum and oversee management of our office. I also coordinate our annual feminist theory workshop every March, and I'm an adviser, which is my favorite part of my job.
If I had $5 million, I would: I'd give a few million dollars to charities because I feel like there's so much need in our community and world. I'd give some to my kids then retire and go traveling. I have family in Australia so that'd be a place to go and I want to go to Greece, too.
My first ever job: I was a clerk in my father's pathology lab. I did small things like manage files and typing. It wasn't a whole lot of fun - it was just a summer job when I was 17.
My dream job: I've always imagined it would be so cool to have a job where all I did was read. Maybe I could work for a publisher and get tons of manuscripts. I'd sit down and read them to pick which ones get published and that's all I'd do all day.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: Movies or books. I like old movies but also ones that are typically `guy movies.' I like science fiction films like the Terminator series, but I also like quiet dramas. As for my reading, I'm not a fan of contemporary novels, so I read a lot of non-fiction. I recently read a fascinating `biography' about cancer and another about George Mallory, who climbed Mount Everest.
The best advice I ever received: I think the best advice I'd want to give someone would be to not take things too seriously. When things go wrong, there's no use losing sleep over it. I always try to keep myself even-keeled and laugh about a lot of stuff.
What I love about Duke: I've always loved the benefits and particularly the Children's Tuition Grant Program because it helped me put my sons through college. I also think there are a lot of amazing people here. I really enjoy all the diversity.
When I'm not at work, I like to: I like to go kayaking. There are a lot of local places like the Eno River. I also love to travel. My family had a great trip to New Mexico a few years ago and recently went to New Hampshire.
If I could have one superpower, it would be: To fly because I could go anywhere I wanted and I wouldn't have to worry about booking tickets or money. I could just go.
An interesting/memorable day at work for me: A couple years ago I got to meet (famed doctor of animal science and author) Temple Grandin. I helped to arrange her visit to campus and got to spend a few hours with her. She's quite a character. She went out of her way to take pictures and talk with people.