Sandy Harvey retires after 23 years


Grace Reynolds, Campus Life Editor

After 23 years of running the Theatre and Music Theatre Department’s costume shop, Sandy Harvey is retiring. Harvey began working at Viterbo in 1998, when she was hired as the costume shop supervisor. As the department added more shows, Harvey moved to full-time employment, and her title shifted to “costume shop manager.”  

On top of managing the work study and practicum students who were assigned to the costume shop, Harvey also built some of the most intricate costumes that have graced Viterbo’s stage in the last 23 years. Her favorite onstage costuming moment came at the beginning of her Viterbo career, in 1999.  

Working on the operetta “Cinderella,” staged by the Music Department, Harvey was tasked with bringing Jeff Stolz’s design of Cinderella’s ballgown to life. Harvey took the department’s Advanced Costuming class that semester to learn how to drape fabric and recalled that it took two weeks just to build the underskirt of the dress. Her hard work paid off, however; when the gorgeous, glittery dress was revealed onstage, and the whole audience gasped.  

While Harvey decided she preferred building costumes to designing them, she did do the costume design for Rick Walters’ Viterbo directorial debut, “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” In addition, Harvey has designed for the “Nutcracker Ballet,” a few wedding dresses, and many Halloween costumes for her children and grandchildren. 

One of Sandy’s favorite Viterbo memories was during a Theatre and Music Theatre Department Christmas gathering. Harvey recalls a now-graduated student doing an impression of her former colleague, the recently retired Janet Mclean, Ph.D. – complete with a can of Diet Coke – Mclean’s favorite drink. The routine sent the whole department into stitches, perhaps Mclean and Harvey most of all.  

Harvey expressed that her favorite part of working at Viterbo was working with the students. She formed close bonds with many students over the years and was famous for the snack table that she kept stocked in the costume shop. Harvey was known for inviting students who were unable to go home to her house for Thanksgiving, where they got to experience a home cooked meal even if they were far from their own homes. Harvey said that the students are the part of her job she will miss the most. 

In her retirement, Harvey is most excited about spending more time with her five grandchildren, with one on the way, and catching up on personal sewing projects. She also enjoys doing charity work with the Quilt Guild, which she makes quilts, wheelchair bags, and masks with for various organizations when there is a need for these items. Harvey is also looking forward to traveling to Prince Edward Island with her children when COVID-19 calms down, as she is a big “Anne of Green Gables” fan.  

The Viterbo community will miss Sandy Harvey for her warmth, friendliness, relationships with students, and 23 years of hard work creating both costumes and community.